It’s the weekend! And it’s long one! Let’s celebrate with some homemade treats! Full disclosure — I actually posted these bars many years ago. But the images were so atrocious and I also updated the preparation method, so I thought it would be appropriate to re-post. I have no doubt many of you will be hosting or attending backyard shindigs this weekend. These are THE perfect dessert to bring to a fancy or casual affair.
Everyone in my family has drunk my Kool-Aid, so to speak. My husband and my teenage daughters all have bought into my way of eating for the most part, understanding the connection between what they eat and how they feel (and in the case of my daughters, how they look.) Although my 11-year-old son, whom I lovingly refer to as Mr. Picky, has been a little slow coming around. My son quietly wishes I was a “cool mom.” You know, the kind that buys “unhealthy food,” as he calls it.
Believe me when I say that he is not deprived of treats. I know enough not to be one of those parents who prohibits her children from eating a grain of sugar or a not-homemade graham cracker. But there are certain food substances that do not cross my front door. Ever. One of those is artificial colors. So when my son asks me “why can’t we have ____?” (insert disaster-packaged-food-marketed-to-kids), I usually go on about why those food-like impostors are bad for our health or I just say, “because I love you too much.” And he rolls his eyes. There is less eye-rolling than he did a year ago, but that still annoys him.
So just before dropping my sweet boy off at sleepaway camp for 13 whole days, my husband was reminding him to shower (going in a pool or a lake doesn’t count) and brush his teeth, use sunscreen and keep hydrated. As soon as I opened my mouth, Mr. Picky looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, Mom. I got it. Don’t forget to eat protein. No high-fructose corn syrup and not too much junk food.” Of course, I was like, “What? I wasn’t going to even mention food. Have the best time! Love you so much!” Busted.
Because Mr. Picky will be at camp on the 4th of July, I surprised him the other day with these red, white and blue popsicles. Of course they are all natural. But really natural, not like the “natural” food companies liberally use when marketing many products. I had no idea if they were going to turn out good or boring or what. I mean after all, they’re made out of …fruit. What a concept. And some coconut milk sweetened with honey. Zzzzzzzzzzz…….
I personally think these are very exciting and the perfect answer to Bomb Pops, especially if you use these cool stainless steel popsicle molds which you can find here. I tasted each mixture before freezing to make sure the sweetness was just right, otherwise these are very straightforward and you can make them today for the 4th if you want.
They were a huge hit with all my kids, including Mr. Picky! My girls thought they tasted like a really fresh-tasting sorbet. My son gave me such a nice compliment when he said, “Wow, Mom. These are actually pretty good.” And then he had a second one. I miss him already.
Red, White and Blue Popsicles Recipe (fruit-based, all natural)
7 ounces hulled strawberries*
½ cup full fat coconut milk ( I like Aroy-D)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ Tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
1 ½ cups blueberries*
Place strawberries in blender or food processor and blend until you achieve a liquid consistency. Pour into bottom third of popsicle mold. Insert stick. Place in freezer for approximately 1 hour, or until frozen solid.
Combine coconut milk, vanilla and honey in a measuring cup or a bowl with a spout. Remove popsicle mold from the freezer and pour the coconut layer on top of the frozen strawberry layer leaving the last third of the mold empty. Place back in the freezer and freeze for about 30-45 minutes until coconut mixture is firm, but it doesn’t have to be frozen solid. Place popsicle sticks in coconut mixture and put back in the freezer until completely frozen.
Place blueberries in a blender or food processor and blend until you achieve a liquid consistency. Remove popsicle mold from the freezer and pour blueberry mixture into top third of mold, over the frozen coconut mixture. Place back in the freezer for another hour or until completely frozen solid.
To remove from popsicle mold, gently run mold under warm water to release.
*Make sure to taste your fruit mixture first, if your fruit isn’t super sweet or you prefer a sweeter popsicle, feel free to add honey (or sweetener of choice) to taste to the fruit mixtures.
I once again had the pleasure of teaching the always stylish and gracious Jenni Kayne and her lovely friends a July 4th cooking class at her gorgeous home. Although I teach at Jenni’s home every month, this was a special class in which we also partnered with The Chalkboard, one of my very favorite sites. With Independence Day just around the corner, Jenni wanted to create the perfect holiday get-together that was festive, but relaxed. My job was to come up with the deliciousness!
If you have seen some of the classes I have done at Jenni’s before, you know that every detail is so beautiful and perfect, you want to go recreate the whole thing on your own. One of the best parts of Jenni’s Rip + Tan blog is that she generously provides sources for everything, from table linens to straws to jars. What I just loved about the décor is that it was in the spirit of the holiday, but still beautiful and understated, without going overboard. Please check out Rip + Tan for more photos and details about the decor.
This year, I made five recipes that I think are easy, seasonal, healthful and perfect for summer entertaining. We started with some delicious vegan beet and black bean burgers which I will be teaching in my classes this summer. I love salads at this time of year and especially for entertaining since most of the ingredients can be prepped in advance. At Jenni’s I whipped up a charred corn salad, a vegetarian antipasto chopped salad, and an arugula and farro salad with peaches. All so yummy and healthy and I will post them all before July 4th! For dessert, you will love this yogurt and blueberry tart in a graham cracker crust, which I am sharing today.
Have you ever tried straining Greek yogurt overnight? It comes out with a texture like cream cheese! No joke! I stirred in a little Grade A maple syrup and some vanilla beans (although you could definitely use vanilla extract) and the result is a super thick and creamy, spreadable yogurt for a delicious tart filling. This tart is lightly sweet, which I love, and I think it would equally welcome for brunch as it is for a dessert.
Since I am beyond crazy for the fresh blueberry sauce I posted last year, I poured that on top for the perfect finish. Of course you can do something more red, white and blue by topping the tart with fresh raspberries and blueberries. These berry tarts from Martha Stewart look darling and can give you some inspiration for using fresh fruit. Or you can use any type of fresh fruit sauce like peaches, cherries, or citrus in the winter. So many delicious ways to enjoy this!
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, raw honey or cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped (use the pod to flavor sugar or discard)
1 pint fresh blueberries for garnish or blueberry sauce (recipe below)
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch round tart pan, springform pan or pie plate. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
In a medium bowl, mix the strained yogurt with the maple syrup and the scraped beans from the vanilla bean. Spread the yogurt mixture in the crust and smooth the top. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Garnish with fresh blueberries or pour blueberry sauce over the top. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, however crust will be soft the next day
I have tried this recipe with alternative yogurts, such as coconut, but they will not strain to the same thick, cream cheese-like consistency as the Greek yogurt.
*To strain yogurt: place a thin, clean tea towel/flour sack towel or a double layer of cheesecloth inside a colander. Place the yogurt in the tea towel and wrap up to cover the yogurt. Place the colander in a large bowl or on top of a plate to catch any drips and place in fridge overnight.
FRESH BLUEBERRY SAUCE
make 1 1/4 cups of sauce
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (depending on how thick you want it)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
3 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
3 Tablespoons water
In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot in the lemon juice until dissolved. Set aside.
Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
Add the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes until blueberries are very soft and sauce has thickened.
Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream or refrigerate up to 5 days for later use.
This year I am trying to get an early jump on the beginning of school. I actually say that every year and I still end up in those ridiculous lines at Staples on the first day of school. My oldest daughter is going into 12th grade (I am clutching my heart right now), so you would think that I had this thing down. So not the case. Until now. I just figured out really late in the game that I need to outsource, meaning I need to delegate some of these tasks to other people. No, I don’t all of a sudden have a staff of helpers at my disposal. But I do have capable children that have waaaaaay more time on their hands than I do and they can navigate the internet like nobody’s business. Why didn’t I think of this 10 years ago?
The kids have just ordered their supplies, backpacks and lunch paraphernalia online and helped fill out a stack of forms (they all know their birthdays and where we live, right?). This has been such a huge help that I am even going to ask them to start helping with their lunches. Just don’t tell them yet. I need to figure out a way to break this to them gently!
I also thought I would start stocking the freezer with some goodies so weekday meal preparation goes a little more smoothly. I made a few delicious quick breads last week and halved each of them. One half to enjoy now and the other half is frozen for a rainy day, i.e. a future school day breakfast or lunchbox snack. I dug into my archives (have I been online long enough to have an archive?) and put a summer twist on my date-sweetened banana bread, one of my absolute favorite, wholesome quick breads. I actually made three loaves — one with whole spelt flour and two with a blend of gluten-free flours with which I have been experimenting lately. I am using more and more spelt flour instead of whole wheat, especially in sweet things. Read about why I love spelt here! And since I know so many of you wan to avoid gluten, I also made a couple of loaves with different gluten-free flours. You can always use your favorite store-bought gluten-free flour blend (my favorite is King Arthur) plus some xanthan gum, but those can be a bit pricey. Either way, it reminded me how versatile most recipes are and that I only need to change a few ingredients to make something more seasonal and/or new. All the loaves turned out amazing and the kids gobbled them up!
This weekend I’m also going to make and freeze some cookie dough, brown rice for rice bakes, fresh fruit for smoothies and chicken stock since the weather has started to get a little chilly here. How are you getting organized for the beginning of the new school year? Would love for you to share. May the force be with all of us!
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter or unrefined coconut oil, at room temperature
½ cup maple syrup (I prefer Grade A which has a more subtle flavor)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 cup)*
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, if desired.
Beat the butter with the maple syrup in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine well. The mixture will look curdled and that is normal.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt. Add to the wet mixture and combine until just blended. Fold in the mashed bananas and most of the blueberries and nuts. Save a few bleuberries and nuts for the top of the loaf.
Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved blueberries and nuts on top. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes and then remove the bread and transfer onto a rack.
*Do not attempt this with bananas that are unripe. They are neither sweet enough nor soft enough.
Gluten-free dry mix to sub for the 2 cups of spelt flour:
I know what you’re thinking. “We waited five whole days for a new recipe and it’s blueberry sauce? That’s the best she could come up with?” You know what, friends? I have been busy! Daughter #1 is still far, far away playing college student and Mr. Picky is at sleep away camp for two weeks. I sure do miss those brats. But Daughter #2 is an only child right now and is acting like it. She wants all of our attention, especially since it was her birthday the other day. She wore a tiara for three straight days. If you’re new here and you’re envisioning a toddler, Daughter #2 is 15. Just to paint an accurate picture.
Besides doting on my newly crowned princess, I have been taking advantage of a little more freedom and I am trying to tackle my list of ambitious projects and must-dos. Why does it seems as though two weeks is plenty of time to reorganize the garage, Mr. Picky’s room and the pantry AND watch the entire season of “The Americans” AND test new recipes AND exercise, get a manicure and visit a museum? Well, I am 10 days into those two weeks and I think I moved a box of finger paints from one corner of the garage to another and took Mr. Picky’s room apart, but haven’t put it back together. No so productive. The hubby and I did go to the Hammer Museum in Westwood Saturday afternoon before meeting our friends for dinner who also have kids away at sleepaway camp. Lovely. We also obsessively watched the entire season of “The Americans” in three nights. “It’s only 11:45. One more episode!” So testing new recipes has sort of fallen by the wayside, sorry!
But before you think this blueberry sauce is something you can live without, I will tell you to think again! We have been eating this on everything, it’s so amazing. My husband keeps asking me, “Is there anymore of that blueberry sauce left?” “Where did you hide the blueberry sauce?” Maybe you’re hiding it, dude. In your stomach! I’m so not funny. The point is, we have found so many ways to enjoy this, albeit not such original ways — swirled into yogurt with or without granola, on pancakes, on top of hot oatmeal or porridge, over vanilla ice cream. And it takes a whole 1 minute of prep, about 5 minutes to cook and makes everything seem extra-special. See, I had time for something.
Can we chat for a second about some of the other blueberry sauce recipes out there? I’m not pointing links or anything, but what’s up with the 1 cup of sugar for a pint of blueberries? Fruit is already sweet, for goodness sake. I don’t get it. If you don’t want to taste blueberries, don’t make blueberry sauce!
I absolutely love blueberries and I can argue that they are one of the most beneficial foods out there. How excited are you right now? Delicious and insanely good for you! Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant profiles, as well as lots of fiber and Vitamin C, and they’re lower in fructose than most other fruits. High antioxidant + low glycemic = beauty food. Botox or blueberries? You don’t have to answer that. In all seriousness, blueberries contain compounds that support the health of the cardiovascular system, as well as eye health, cognitive function, and blood sugar stability. Have I convinced you to give this a try? Good. Gotta run. Hubby wants to watch the entire season of “House of Cards” and Mr. Picky is back on Saturday!
Do you know the difference between a crisp, a cobbler, a slump, a grunt and a brown betty? I hear the terms used interchangeably, when of course, they’re not the same at all. A cobbler has a biscuit topping, a crisp has a crunchy oat and sugar topping, a slump/grunt is like a cobbler, but it is finished on the stovetop so that the biscuits are steamed, rather than browned, and a brown betty is topped with buttered bread crumbs. Just so we’re all on the same page. And just so you don’t go ordering a cobbler at a restaurant thinking you are getting something with a buttery, crunchy, oat topping only to be served a bowl of cooked fruit with a biscuit on top. I hate when that happens.
Not that a cobbler is bad. Oh no, friends. Cobblers are very, very good. Especially when strawberries are in season and they are about as luscious as can be. When strawberries debut at our local farmer’s markets, I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation, like I’m taking a breath of fresh air. It’s spring! Weeeee! I can finally tell Mr. Picky, “Yes, it’s finally strawberry season!” I swear I have been buying strawberries lately like they’re never coming back. They’re in the kids’ lunches several times a week, in breakfast smoothies and acai bowls and chopped into pancakes. I even did a crazy thing and added a little bit of chia seed and water to some mashed up strawberries and let it thicken into a raw jam/spread. I thought it was really good. Then I smeared some in between two slices of whole grain bread and made a stuffed strawberry French toast, if you will. Really tasty!
I was feeling spunky last weekend and thought I would surprise everyone with a special dessert, which I knew had to have strawberries in it. So I started pulling together my favorite cobbler with strawberries as well as whatever berries I had in the freezer. I had this moment of genius when I thought, I bet I could do this in a slow cooker! I bet no one in the world has ever done a cobbler in a slow cooker. I am going to revolutionize the food world with this brilliant idea! Of course, one quick search on Foodily and I saw that 20 other people/websites already came up with that same idea. I hate when that happens. Grumpy face. Although one of the recipes called for a can of apple pie filling and a box of yellow cake mix. I mean, is that even a recipe? That is such a gross idea. Don’t even think about trying it.
Why would you when you can have this wholesome, fresh, clean and YUMMY cobbler for just a little more effort? I have two versions here, one baked in the oven and the other in the slow cooker. The oven cobbler has a much prettier presentation, with the classic, nicely browned “cobbled” texture on top and baked in a dish you can actually bring to the table. But it’s nice to know you can can use your slow cooker for more than just shredded meat. I was thinking it would be great for the summer so you don’t have to turn your oven on to make a fruit dessert. The look wasn’t quite as lovely since I spread the dough on the bottom of the insert and laid the fruit on top. I wanted the fruit to stay intact and not get cooked into a pot of mush. Which it did not.
Either way, the ingredients stay the same for both. I have used whole spelt flour, whole wheat pastry and white whole wheat all with success. I know that you can use gluten-free flour like Kind Arthur with a little added xanthan gum and achieve an equally tasty result. If you’ve made cobbler before, you might think my recipe doesn’t have enough sweetener. But I promise, give this a go and you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy tasting the actual fruit and not just sugar. Of course, a little ice cream on top doesn’t taste bad. Or, I look forward to leftovers the next morning with a dollop of sheep’s yogurt. Unless someone ate it all and left me none when I couldn’t stop dreaming about it all night. Ooooh, I hate when that happens!
¼ cup coconut palm sugar organic cane sugar or brown sugar
3 Tablespoons flour, such as spelt or your favorite GF flour such as rice flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest, not packed
1 ½ cups whole spelt flour, whole whet pastry, white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour OR King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour + 1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup OR organic cane sugar (if you use maple syrup, add to buttermilk; if you use sugar, add to flour)
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance, cut in small pieces + more for greasing baking dish
¾ cup buttermilk (or unsweetened non-dairy milk + 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance, melted or 1 Tablespoon buttermilk*
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9–or 10-inch square shallow baking dish or pie plate.
In a medium bowl, gently toss the berries with 3 Tbs. flour, ¼ cup sugar and zest. Transfer berries into the prepared pan. Set aside and reserve the bowl.
To make the cobbler topping, blend the 1 ½ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 Tbs. sugar (if using), salt and butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor just until most of the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to the same bowl used to mix the berries and stir in the buttermilk and maple syrup (if using) until well combined.
Using your fingertips, rub the buttermilk mixture until it begins to clump together. Take a heaping spoonful of dough and place it on top of the berries. Don’t cover the berries completely. Brush with melted butter or buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden and cooked through.
*For a golden glaze, brush the biscuits with melted butter. For a more brown crust, brush them with buttermilk.
You can use either maple syrup or cane sugar (not both) in the cobbler topping. Pick one sweetener! Please read the directions carefully since the maple syrup is added with the buttermilk and the cane sugar is added to the dry ingredients.
To increase the recipe to serve 12, multiply all ingredients by 1 ½ and use a 13 x 9–inch baking dish. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
To Make in the Slow Cooker: Follow all directions for cobbler in the oven except dollop the cobbler topping on the bottom of the slow cooker insert and pour the fruit mixture on top. Cover and cook on LOW for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until biscuit mixture is cooked through. The time will depend on how wide your slow cooker is.
My favorite thing about the weekends and vacations is lingering over breakfast. Weekdays are (sadly) so rushed that we don’t really have more than 10 minutes to sit down and enjoy our morning meal. Not only are we lacking time to relax and enjoy, but the five of us never eat breakfast together during the week since we’re all on different schedules. Of course, I’m guilty of the worst offense of all which is eating in my car on the way to work. I keep thinking getting up earlier is the answer, but somehow that hasn’t been the solution. It’s a dreadful habit and I am completely embarrassed that I don’t walk that talk, but I would rather eat my porridge slowly in my car than inhale it in 30 seconds at the kitchen table.
The weekends are a whole different story. I love making breakfast foods that take a little more time. Just the smells of something wonderful from the oven make me giddy with anticipation while I sip my tea out of a real mug, not portable one, and the newspaper spread out everywhere. Typical weekend creations are baked frittatas with lots of veggies, whole grain waffles (who has time to wash a waffle iron on a Tuesday morning?), and this amazing, versatile Baked Oatmeal recipe. I make steel cut oats once or twice per week, but the weekend demands something a little more special. I originally spotted this recipe by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks fame in Whole Living Magazine a few years ago and instantly knew this would become a regular for us. I have made this recipe with mixed berries and with thinly sliced apples on the bottom — both delicious — and on my to-do list is to come up with versions using coconut and pumpkin puree and spices. Mr. Picky likes this enough that I think I could sell this as an after school snack if I tossed in a few chocolate chips. Heidi’s originally called for sliced bananas on the bottom, which were great if you love a super sweet intense banana flavor.
Oats are super hearty and filling and make a great start to the day. If oatmeal tends to raise your blood sugar too much, make sure you pair it with some protein and fat like nuts. Walnuts are in this recipe, but I’ve used sliced almonds and pecans too. Of course, if you’re nut-free, feel free to omit them altogether and enjoy this recipe all the same. Baked Oatmeal can be easily adapted for dairy-free people by using an alternative milk and coconut oil or Earth Balance; and for vegans by dropping the egg. It doesn’t slice as nicely without the egg, but it’s no big deal.
My family seems to eat this straight as is, but I love pouring on some extra almond milk or (when I wasn’t dairy-free) dolloping a little yogurt on top. I have access to fresh blueberries grown in a hothouse all year so I decided to splurge and use them here, but if you are only working with citrus and bananas at this time of year, you can always use frozen fruit. Although, I just saw the first fresh strawberries at the farmer’s market last weekend which means good fruit is on the horizon and more delicious Baked Oatmeal possibilities await you.
Author: Pamela, adapted from Super Natural Everyday via Whole Living Magazine
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (look for gluten-free oats to make this a gluten-free recipe) - Do NOT use steel cut oats
½ cup walnuts, almonds or pecans, chopped, divided
⅓ cup 100% pure maple syrup (or ¼ c. for a more subtle sweetness)
2 cups whole milk or plant milk like unsweetened hemp milk, almond milk or flax milk
1 large egg or flax egg or ¼ cup applesauce
1 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, unrefined coconut oil or organic Earth Balance, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing baking dish
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen berries, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking dish.
Combine the baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Stir in the oats and ¼ cup nuts.
In a separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup, milk, egg, melted butter, and pure vanilla. (You can also combine these ingredients in a blender.)
Scatter 1 cup of the berries on the bottom of the baking dish and then cover with the oat mixture. Pour wet mixture into the pan over the oats and spread evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and berries across the top. You can make this up until this point the night before and refrigerate, covered.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the oat mixture is set and wet ingredients are absorbed.
So many people have made this recipe many times, so I don't want to abruptly change it BUT I mix everything together in the same bowl and pour it into the prepared baking dish. You can also assemble this the night before, cover and refrigerate it, and bake it uncovered in the morning. Leftovers are great cold, room temp or reheated.
Were fruit crisps popular 30 and 40 years ago? I can’t recall, but I feel like they started turning up everywhere about 20 years ago. A fruit crisp was one of the first desserts I ever made on my own. I think the recipe came from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks. Remember those? I am very certain it was an apple crisp with the classic oat and sugar crumby topping. It was such an easy dessert, but so delicious and a total crowd pleaser. What’s not to love? It’s the ultimate comfort dessert. Soft, sweet fruit with a crunchy, nubby topping that you would fight your best friend over. Did you ever have a crisp warm out of the oven with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? If you have, then someone loves you!
I’ll tell you the truth, I use the same basic recipe for all my fruit crisps the whole year long. I’m sure I could put a little more thought into it and start adding liqueur to the fruit or different spices. I like Giada’s idea of using crumbled amaretti cookies in the crisp topping. But we already love this the way it is. Why mess around with deliciousness?
Today I’m bringing you a Peach and Blueberry Crisp because my favorite fruit desserts all start with a peach. Did you catch my Stone Fruit Crostata last summer? My husband, kids and I are all obsessed with peaches. We have a couple of peach trees in the backyard that produce a whole lot of great peaches for two weeks in the summer and that’s when we grill them, add them to salads, make pies and crisps and even peach margaritas (for adults, of course)! Outside of those two weeks, I rely on our farmer’s market, but a high point for us is going peach picking on Long Island when we visit my parents. Have you ever had a just-picked peach, warm from the sun? Put that on your to-do list. It will just make you happy.
Believe me, I am completely content eating a perfect peach and not messing with it, but I also know there’s a time and place for a good, homemade dessert. This Peach and Blueberry Crisp is one of my go-to’s during the summer. I don’t make it too sweet, in fact my fruit dessert mantra is “it should taste like fruit, not just sweet.” Most crisp recipes toss the fruit with extra sugar and flour, which I don’t think is necessary at all. I used to make crisp toppings with brown sugar until I discovered coconut palm sugar which I think is a great unrefined sweetener. If you can’t find it, brown sugar works completely fine. One of the best things about crisps is that you can make the topping way ahead and keep it in the fridge for a few days or even the freezer for a few months. Do you even understand the implications of this? You can freeze a whole gigantic batch of crisp topping right now and have a dreamy dessert at your fingertips whenever you want. That means an easy dessert for summer entertaining or simply put a handful of fresh fruit in a ramekin and top with a handful of topping and bake away for a yummy crisp for you and only you whenever you need a little love. Now we’re talking.
6 medium peaches, pitted and sliced, about 4-5 cups (you can peel if you want)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup whole grain flour, such as whole wheat pastry, white whole wheat or your favorite GF flour blend (I like Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur)
¾ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar (coconut sugar is less refined)
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (look for gluten-free oats if you gluten intolerant)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place all fruit in an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or pie plate. Toss to mix them up a bit.*
Add all topping ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until mixture resembles small peas. This can also be done by hand or with a pastry blender. Squeeze with your hands to create small clumps.
Arrange topping over fruit to cover.
Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.
*You can toss the fruit with a Tablespoon of sugar and a Tablespoon of flour to thicken the juices that develop, but it is not necessary unless your fruit is really juicy.
**Crisp topping can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.