In the Northwest we’re known for our berries—raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, marionberries, salmon berries, huckleberries, boysenberries—the list seems endless at the peak of summer. Any combination of berries is fine in this recipe. You can make crisps all year-round, using whatever fruit is in season: rhubarb, apples, peaches…
We served this berry crisp one summer at the Bite of Seattle (a very large food event in the Seattle Center, near the Space Needle). It was voted best dessert of the Bite. Who knows how many hotel pans of crisp we made? The number was huge. We scrambled every night of the event to keep up with the demand, begging our produce purveyor for more berries, baking, baking, baking…and enjoying every sweet minute.
This very simple dessert, still warm from the oven, cries out for a scoop of homemade ice cream, and may be our favorite dessert of all.
Yield: Makes 5 to 6 servings
for the crisp topping:
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into dice
for the berries:
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over for stems
½ cup granulated sugar (if berries are very sweet, you may want to use less sugar)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. To make the crisp topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the diced butter to the dry ingredients and blend with a pastry blender or the tips of your fingers until crumbly. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, toss the berries with the sugar and flour, using a rubber spatula. Pour the berries into a 9-inch pie pan. Cover the berries with the crisp topping. Set the filled pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any juices, then place in the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.
ON THE PLATE: Spoon generous portions of the warm crisp into wide shallow bowls and top with scoops of ice cream or whipped cream.
If you enjoy making crisps, make a large batch of crisp topping (double or triple the recipe) and keep it in an airtight container in the freezer.
IN THE GLASS: Try an Auslese (Riesling) from Germany’s Rhine or Mosel valleys.