Monday, January 12, 2015

Make Ahead Fruit Crisp Topping

 The other day, it was cold and snowy, and we all felt like doing some baking.  But after all the gluttonous food of the past months, we wanted something a little healthier.  Enter my favorite fruit crisp.  I make big batches of this adaptable topping and keep it in the freezer.  Use any fruit you like.  I have made it with peaches, pears, apples, berries, cherries, and others, including combinations.
 The topping starts with oats.  Then you add any type of flour you like, all purpose, whole wheat, gluten free, and nut flours all work equally well here.  Don't forget a bit of salt, and some brown sugar.  Don't skip the salt, it needs it.

 Then some fat, butter, coconut oil, shortening, even liquid oils all work.  You want to work it in so you get nice crumbles, but not a large ball of cookie dough.  If you get a big ball, make cookies and start the crisp topping over again.  Trust me.

A small batch of this is as follows, to make a large batch triple or quadruple, just keeping the proportions the same:

1 cup oats
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix well

Mix in 4 T oil or butter till crumbly. (A friend of mine doubles this, I don't find it needed, up to you)  Sprinkle on fruit and bake.

You will notice there are no spices.  You can add them if you want, but if I am making a pear cherry crisp I don't always want cinnamon, so I add the flavorings to the fruit.  I make a huge amount of this, throw it in a container in the freezer and make a quick crisp whenever we need a nice dessert.  You can use the topping straight from the freezer, no need to thaw.

I choose the size crisp I want and fill the dish 2/3 to 3/4 full of raw or canned cut up fruit.  For apples I add pie spice or cinnamon, for berries I add vanilla and nutmeg, use whatever you like.  Also sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar onto the fruit.  If using berries, also sprinkle a couple teaspoons of the flour into the fruit, as they will release a lot of juice and you want to thicken that lovely flavor into a sauce.  A favorite combo of mine is 8 apples peeled cored chopped with 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries 4 T sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp orange extract.  Mix the fruit in the dish, top with crisp topping.  Bake at 400 for 20 to 35 minutes until fruit is cooked and topping is browned and all is bubbly.  Alternatively you can do this in a small crock pot, on low 4-6 hours, or high 2-3 hours.  This recipe is very adaptable.  I have never had a bad version yet.  I hope to hear of some new fruit combinations, please comment with any changes you tried :)


  1. If making a peach one (I have a few cans I want to use) what spice or flavoring would you add?

  2. I love vanilla and nutmeg with peaches, even almond extract works well. Hope you try it, and sorry it took me so long to respond, sometimes I have no idea anyone commented :)