I don’t use the phrase “the best” lightly. A dish has to be near perfect and easily reproducible to earn the phrase on this site. Yet, here I use the phrase. This is, in my opinion, the best fruit crumble. I have now made three, four if you count the half-completed concoction in my kitchen, and it has been perfect every time.
Don’t thank me; thank Alice Waters or whichever food genius at Chez Panisse dreamed this up. The recipes for both the crumb topping and the crisp itself can be found in Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Fruit. My well-worn used copy from Half-Price Books is one of my favorites.
Late summer is prime fruit season. For my birthday last week, I honestly couldn’t imagine any other dessert for the celebration than the one featured in today’s post: Nectarine and Blackberry Crisp. You can substitute just about any fruit combination that you prefer, but stone fruits, berries, and apples seem to be the best fit. Take the recommendation made in the crisp topping recipe to heart and double or even quadruple the crisp topping when you make it and freeze it for later use.
A final note: you may notice the final picture doesn’t actually match the ingredients or the other images. That is because most of the images were from my test first batch (a half batch with nectarines and blackberries). Every time we have pulled the final product out of the oven we have devoured it… leading to three images that look like this:
Provided everything goes well with tonight’s zwetschgen version (a type of German plumb), you’ll have a nice image at the top and bottom. Nevertheless, I felt I should include this information as proof of its deliciousness.
For one crisp (about three cups). Double or quadruple and place in freezer.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (200g)
- 6 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed (60g)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (26g – raw sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup ground pecans (I used walnuts for one batch when pecans were unavailable or too expensive). Once I used a mortar and pestle and the other time I used the grinding jar on my blender.
- 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) (170g) unsalted cold butter
- Stir flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon, and pecans.
- Cut butter into small pieces and work into the mix using a dough cutter (so cheap at Target/Walmart/Amazon), a fork and knife, or cold fingers.
- You want the crisp to come together and have a “crumbly but not sandy texture”.
- This can be refrigerated for about a week or frozen for a month or so.
Now for the fruit…
Nectarine and Blackberry Crisp
Follow the same proportions using any fruit you find and like.
- 5 ripe nectarines, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1 inch cubes (haha, or chunk some similar-sized pieces in the bowl.)
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (use less, maybe 1 Tablespoon, if using drier fruit such as apples.)
- Zest of 1 lemon (I use a microplane) (This really brightens up the flavor, but you can skip it if you’re using different fruits.)
- 1 Tablespoon vin santo (according to google, this is an Italian dessert wine. We had some random Port that we used instead. You can skip this if you want.)
- 3 cups crisp topping.
- Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)
- Toss nectarines, berries, sugar and flour together in a bowl. Add the zest and dessert wine/port/liquid.
- Spread out in a baking dish (you want it to be reasonably deep or it will dry out a bit).
- Sprinkle on the crisp topping. If your dish is extremely full you might want to place your dish on a cookie sheet or at least place a piece of foil in your oven to catch the drips.
- Place in the center of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, turning once if you’re concerned about even browning. The juices should start to bubble up the side and it should be a deep golden brown.
- Remove and let cool a few minutes. Serve with ice cream if you wish.
If you create any wonderful fruit combinations please feel free to comment and share below. Enjoy!