July... This is it! The time of year I dream about (that is unless I'm dreaming of my August garden tomatoes). The selection of berries and stone fruit right now couldn't be better, and I've been going a little crazy buying all different types -- with no plan on how I will be using any of these fruits. That is, until I found this recipe for a crisp topping in Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere. The topping is very similar to a recipe I use from the Union Square Cookbook for a Rhubarb Crisp that's loaded with walnuts. The difference -- Shere's crisp topping makes about 4 times the amount. Store it in the refrigerator for a week (or in the freezer for the duration of stone fruit and berry season), and pull it out when you need a quick-to-assemble dessert. There, wasn't that easy?
Use whatever fruit and berries you have on hand. I made three small gratins yesterday for breakfast -- yes, breakfast! The filling was mostly fresh peach slices with blueberries and raspberries added to the mix. I served them with sweetened, whipped heavy cream, but crème fraîche, sour cream with a little sugar, or vanilla ice milk would make a good substitute.
Stone Fruit and Berry Crisp
• 3 1/4 cups flour
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 10 1/2 ounces cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 2 cups chopped walnuts
FOR THE FILLING: (You can use any combination you like)
• 4 peaches, peeled and slices
• large handful of blueberries
• large handful of raspberries
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon flour
1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 400˚F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugars, and cinnamon. Pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the walnuts. At this point, the crisp topping can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, or in an air-tight container in the freezer.
2. Gently toss the fruits with the 1 tablespoon of flour and sugar. Fill individual gratins dishes or one large gratin with the filling. Generously cover the top of the fruit with crisp topping.
3. Put the gratin(s) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping is nicely-browned. Remove crisp from oven and cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, créme fraîche, or vanilla ice milk.