Thank goodness for summertime, when each and every one of us becomes—suddenly, miraculously—a good baker. You don’t need to be good at measuring, have the right fancy ingredients kicking around, or have a knack for baking: Summer produce does all the hard work for you.
There’s a crisp—or a crumble—for everyone. Maybe you’re a cherry crisp person, and you leave out the oats in favor of buttery, clumpy, cinnamon-y streusel-like topping. Maybe you like hot blueberries, and that’s it, because they rule. Or maybe peaches are the only thing you’d ever consider baking this time of year.
More power to all of you, but my go-to is a combo of nectarines or peaches plus blueberries, depending on what I can find fresh at the market. (No shame in supermarket produce, but the farmer’s market will do a little more right by you.)
This crisp recipe straddles the divide between breakfast and dessert: It’s got a little more than half a cup of brown sugar in the whole thing, it’s got lemon zest and juice for balance, and there’s a hint of oats, to add a veneer of healthfulness and some crunch. If you’re missing the super-sweet factor, add vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and you’re golden. I don’t overdo it on baking spices, so the house smells cinnamon… but not like someone’s gonna bust out the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I like for their sturdy character; the blueberries have turned into little molten flavor bombs by the end of cooking, so there’s a nice textural contrast. And the blueberries create a luxe sauce you can spoon over vanilla ice cream.
I eat bowlfuls of it at night the first day I make it, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream melting away. I eat it for breakfast the following day, with yogurt. I eat it all summer, until I run out of fruit.
Don’t be alarmed by this ingredient list; it’s just 10 ingredients, and eight of them are likely in your pantry already. Change things up as you go: If that topping isn’t sweet enough for you, add brown sugar. At a rental without measuring cups? Wing it.
Crisps are, like summer itself, supremely forgiving.
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2 lbs just-ripe, not-too-soft nectarines or peaches
1 pint blueberries
½ lemon, zested and juiced
Large pinch cinnamon
Large pinch fresh nutmeg
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar (or more, to taste)
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) cubed butter, room temperature
1 cup flour
¼ cup oats
large pinch cinnamon
Freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)
- Prepare fruit: Slice nectarines 1/4-inch thick. (Halve them again if little kids with smaller mouths are present.) Add to 10-inch (9-inch is fine) baking dish. Add pint of blueberries. Add lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Squeeze lemon juice over fruit. Mix with hands. Taste, keeping in mind that fruit will get sweeter as it bakes. Add more lemon juice or brown sugar, as desired.
- Make topping: In a bowl, combine light brown sugar, butter, flour, oats, salt and cinnamon. Mix with hands, being sure all wet ingredients meet dry ones. Finished product should be drier than cookie dough. You should be able to pinch it into little clumps. Sprinkle topping over fruit. It’s OK if it’s not even.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, watching until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden-brown. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Alex Van Buren—follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alexvanburen—is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and content strategist who has written for The Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, New York Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and Epicurious.