My friend, Caroline, has a lovely yard full of mature fruit trees. Last weekend, Dave was visiting her and the peaches were literally falling off the tree. He brought a sack full of tiny, luscious peaches home for us to enjoy. There were almost too many of them to eat right away, so I decided to make a fruit crisp to use up the remainder before they became over-ripe and inedible.
I looked through my cookbooks and found a recipe for Apple Crisp that I’ve used before. It had directions for peach crisp, so I decided to use that variation. I only had 1 pound of peaches left, so I used apples to make up the remainder.
It was 94 degrees here today, so I wondered if turning on the oven was a good idea. However, I love crisps and I had all the ingredients available without having to go to the store. I wasn’t sure how to peel a peach but found that quartering these little beauties and gently peeling the skin away worked very well. I had some Fuji apples in the crisper drawer, so they were peeled and diced and added to the peaches to round out the fruit component.
It turned out very nicely. I precooked the apples a bit in the microwave so that they would cook at the same rate as the ripened peaches. The natural sweetness of the peaches and apples contrasted nicely with the salty-sweet crumb topping. I’ve tried oatmeal versions of crisp toppings, but prefer this one made with nuts.
- Topping Mixture
- 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
- 3/4 cup pecans or whole almonds, chopped coarse (or chopped fine if mixing topping by hand)
- 2 1/2 – 3 pounds apples , nectarines, peaches, pears or plums (6 cups cut)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
- For the Topping: Place flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture moves from dry sand-like appearance with large lumps of butter to a coarse cornmeal texture, about three 4-second bursts. Add nuts and pulse until mixture resembles crumbly sand, about five 1-second bursts. Do not overprocess or mixture will take on a smooth, cookie-dough-like texture. (To mix by hand, allow butter pieces to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; toss to coat. Pinch butter chunks and dry mixture between fingertips until mixture looks like crumbly wet sand. Add nuts and toss to distribute evenly. Do not overmix.) Refrigerate mixture while preparing fruit, at least 15 minutes.
- Toss cut fruit, sugar, lemon juice, and zest (along with 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca if using plums as fruit) in medium bowl.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8-inch square (2 quart) baking pan or 9-inch round deep dish pie plate. Distribute chilled topping evenly over fruit; bake for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees; bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.