Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simple Summer Berry Crisp

I love summer for all the opportunities it provides, but sometimes things can get a little crazy. Schedules get full, people get busy, and the weather gets desperately, unbearably hot. You know what I mean?

Sorry for the bad picture quality - I try to use natural light whenever I can, but these were taken in my kitchen at about 10pm!

Let me give you an example: today's post comes to you from New York City! I planned the visit just last week and am here to help my expectant sister and her husband pack up and move from NY to Chicago (of course, I'll be seeing the sights and eating a few pastries along the way!). I'll be on the road for the next couple of weeks and though I'm excited for the trip, because it means spending time with family (and staying in NYC - hello, bakeries, markets and Chinatown!), blogging on the road will be a challenge.

I'm not sure how much internet access I'll have, and my poor little computer is on his last legs; he's currently being held together with prayers and electrical tape. I'll try to keep the posts coming, but between bakeries in NYC, pizza in Chicago, and Sara Beth's wedding in Indiana, I'm sure I'll have a lot to share with you when I get back.

For now, though, I'll leave you with this beautifully simple, summer dessert. Because when life gets crazy, I like to bake simple things - especially simple things that create the illusion of lots of time spent in the kitchen, and showcase the freshest of summer berries. The reality is about ten minutes prep time and 30 minutes in the oven, and you can use any combination of berries (fresh or frozen - be sure to thaw first) that you have on hand.

Fresh, in-season berries and the cool, clean flavor of coconut oil make this a light and reasonably healthy dessert that's perfect for summer. This 'crisp' contains some unusual spices (black pepper, anyone?) but, trust me, they're guaranteed to bring out the best in your berries. Did you know that cloves and black pepper can make a late-summer raspberry taste even sweeter? You don't have to take my word for it - try this simple desert and see for yourself!

Summer Berry Crisp
fills a 1 1/2 quart casserole

3 cups fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries work well)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper*
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
*fresh ground works best, especially with the cloves

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a deep 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Place berries in dish, drizzle with lemon juice and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and spices. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork and stir in coconut oil until well blended. Mixture may be lumpy. Add oatmeal and stir until just combined. Crumble mixture over fruit, taking care to cover evenly and all the way to the edges. Bake for 20 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes more, or until topping is lightly browned and slightly crispy. Serve hot or cold, with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or a drizzle of pouring cream.

A few notes: This recipe varies greatly depending on the fruit used. If you're using tart or slightly sour fruits, like raspberries or blackberries, you may wish to dust them with sugar before baking. For a crisp made of sweet fruits (i.e. strawberries, peaches or plums), you can reduce the sugar in the topping to 1/2 cup.

The thickness of the fruit filling also varies with the fruit used. If you're worried that your crisp will be too syrupy (this sometimes happens with blueberries), you can coat the fruit with a bit of cornstarch beforehand or bake it in a light syrup of cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar.

This post is linked at:
33 Shades of Green: Tasty Tuesdays
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Something Swanky: Sweet Treats Thursday
This Chick Cooks: These Chicks Cooked
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday


  1. Hi Rachel,
    Your Summer Berry Crisp looks amazing! I can almost taste it. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see again real soon! Hope you are having a great week end!
    Miz Helen

  2. I think this finally works... (Hopefully)

    Okay, I'm going to have to try this. Rarely do sweets catch my attention, but berries? Yes please! Plus there's absolutely no butter to turn me off to it... Double win!

  3. Miz Helen, Thanks for your kind words! I'm sure I'll be linking up more recipes very soon :)

    Kelly - so glad you finally got it to work! I've been having a great time going through your Camino photos. It makes me so nostalgic! I'd love to hear more about your experience sometime :)

  4. What a gorgeous summer crisp with all of those beautiful berries! Saving this one! I'd love to have you stop on over this week to my growing, growing weekend foodie blog hop where 8 blogs are featured each week. Hope to see you there . . . oh and PS, I'm now following your blog too! Bye for now!

  5. I can't think of a better thing to do with those berries. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday.