In all the busyness of recipe development, food-styling and creating that perfect, Instagram-worthy pie crust, I forget that the simplest recipes are often the most loved. Take, for instance, a fruit crisp. It’s by far one of the easiest things to prepare, and “comforting” doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings it evokes when I take a bite (with a little vanilla ice cream). Nostalgic, soothing, consoling, loved. This is the kind of dessert my mother would make when there wasn’t time to make anything fancy. Of course, we could have skipped dessert altogether. It’s not a required meal, just the cherry on top of dinner, really. We would have survived perfectly well without it. We would have gone to bed with full stomachs, succeeded at school the next day, and life would have gone on without us being any the wiser. But she didn’t skip dessert. And in the simplicity of making a dish like this is written a love letter, of sorts, wrapped in an envelope of hearty oats and soul-soothing brown sugar. If you were to open that note, it would read:
You are important to me. You matter. And though I’m so very busy working over-time, and cleaning the house and doing laundry, and taking care of your brother and you, and though I may have only gotten 4 hours of sleep last night, I want you to know that I’m thinking about you always. Even on my hardest days, you deserve dessert. You are worth the time, the effort (and the extra dishes). Because you are loved. –Mom
Peach and Blueberry Crisp
This peach and blueberry crisp is as easy as can be! Just throw the ingredients together – you don’t even need to peel the peaches if you don’t want to. It can be served warm, straight out of the oven, at room temperature, or even cold the next morning. The amount of sugar in the recipe can be adjusted, depending on the sweetness of your peaches. I taste the filling before adding the flour to determine if I’ve added enough.
for the filling:
4 large, rip peaches
1 cup blueberries
1/3 cup fine white sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 TBSP flour
for the topping:
6 TBSP cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 dark brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and butter a casserole or 2-qt baking dish.
To make the filling, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Cut an “X” in the bottom of each peach. Carefully place each peach in the boiling water and simmer for 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the boiling water and place in the ice water until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin; it should come off easily. If it doesn’t, place the peach back into the boiling water for another few seconds, then back into the ice water and try again.
Slice the peaches into thick slices and place in a bowl. Add the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and flour. Toss gently. Set aside while you make the topping.
In a medium bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the other ingredients until everything is well incorporated. (Alternately, you can mix these ingredients in a food processor by pulsing a few times.) Add the oats and mix lightly with your fingers.
Pour the peaches into the buttered casserole. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and press lightly. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 45 – 50 minutes, until bubbly and brown. Cool slightly before serving.