Sunday, June 12, 2011

Maple-Oatmeal Fruit Crisp



I have no idea what the difference is between a crumble and a crisp. To me, they both involve fruit and a delicious crunchy topping, usually made out of oats, sugar, and butter.

Knowing bakers, there's probably some precise distinction between the two (you melt the butter before you add the oats in a crisp, or some such thing), but, I can't be bothered to find out what it is.

That being said, whether they are crisps or crumbles, they are delicious. And perfect for summer. And the perfect way to make a lazy dessert. Cut up fruit. Add flour, oats, sugar, and butter. Bake. See? Nothing to it. And because you can add whatever fruit is in season at the time, you get to come up with your own endless varieties of the dessert. Because I focus less on the measuring and more on getting the thing baking, I've never made the same crumble twice. But that's not to say they weren't all delicious.

Now that I've insisted on the unnecessary element of measuring in a crumble/crisp, I present the following very measure-based recipe, adapted from the annals of NPR and their kitchen window series. While I'm usually an "organic" crumble-maker (measurements are for wusses), I wanted to try their very complex version, to see if there was a way to improve on the glories of easy crumble making.

And when I say complex, I mean it took me 7 minutes instead of 5 to make. But still. Coconut? Walnuts? Cranberries? Maple syrup?! NPR, calm thyself. There's no reason to get so darn complicated. But, the recipe was delicious. So if you're feeling like you need a little extra complication in your baking life, this crumble is for you. If I'm ever pressed to serve crumble at a dinner party (and why wouldn't you?), this might be a good bet to show off the dressed-up nature of the dessert. Otherwise, for an easy dessert, I might go back to my basics: oats, flour, sugar. Or, if I'm honest, the ready-made crumble topping at Tesco (shhhhh, don't tell anyone). ;)

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

Topping

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats (or more)

1/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons maple syrup

Filling

3 peaches or other stone fruit, pitted and chopped

1 cup blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, or a combination

1/4 cup dried cranberries

4 tablespoons chopped walnuts or almonds

1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon flour

5 tablespoons maple syrup

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, oats and sugar together. Cut in the butter, working the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Drizzle in a bit of maple syrup, adding more if the mixture is very dry.

In a large bowl, mix the fruit, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and flour together and stir well to combine. Drizzle with maple syrup to taste (if the fruit is not too sweet, add a little more).

Spread the fruit in an 8-inch square baking dish and cover with the topping. If the topping doesn't cover all the fruit, sprinkle more oats on top. Be liberal.)

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is crisp.

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