Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Berry Crisp

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With so many berries available these days, it was only fitting to make a dessert highlighting the sweet flavors of summer. I had prepared a full meal for our anniversary dinner so I wanted to keep dessert as easy and effortless as possible, as well as light since the dinner was a slightly heavy meal. When looking at a restaurant menu for inspiration, I decided to make this Summer Berry Crisp topped with a homemade vanilla bean ice cream to end our meal on a sweet note...

A crisp is a simple dessert of fresh fruit topped with a crunchy oatmeal, butter and sugar mixture which is baked and served warm. I took a combination of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries that I tossed with some sugar and then prepared the oatmeal topping. It was definitely easy to prepare, even more so if you wanted to use frozen berries instead (which may be easier if fresh berries aren't available yet in your area.)

My favorite part of this dish was the topping - it offers a nice texture contrast to the warm, soften berries once it's baked. Feel free to experiment with other fruits too, as the original recipe that I adapted this from used a combination of peaches and blueberries. To make this dessert even more decadent, finish it off with a scoop of cold and creamy homemade vanilla ice cream!

Summer Berry Crisp
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Fruit filling:
2-3 cups fresh or frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries)
1/2 orange, zested
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Crisp topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 8x8 inch baking dish.

For the fruit filling, place berries into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the berries into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

For the crisp topping, combine flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the berries.

Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm. For an extra treat, serve with creamy vanilla ice cream!

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