Amelia Saltsman is the author of The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook.
Consider this a master recipe for summer fruit crisps. Use a couple pounds of ripe sweet or tart cherries, peaches, plums, or “bumbleberries” (an old term for mixed berries, such as a combination of blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Start with flavorful fruit and keep sugar to a minimum. You can change up the topping too; add 1/2 cup chopped nuts or a tablespoon of candied ginger, or substitute up to 1/4 cup cornmeal, whole wheat flour, or nut flour for some of the all-purpose flour in the recipe. And here’s the cleverest part: make a triple or even quadruple batch of topping mix and store in the freezer so you can whip up a crisp at a moment’s notice. (recipe follows)
Summer Fruit Crisp
1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for berries
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups berries or 2 pounds cherries
1 1/2 tablespoons instant tapioca
Heavy cream or vanilla ice cream for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown and granulated sugars, salt, and lemon zest. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips or a fork until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.
Using the tip of a vegetable peeler or a small knife, hull the strawberries and quarter them lengthwise. Place all the berries in a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the tapioca and with sugar and lemon juice to taste and stir gently. Sprinkle the topping over the berries. and bake until the berries are bubbly, about 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 400 degrees and bake until the topping is a rich golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve the crisp warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 servings.