Blackberry Peach Crisp

ENJOY Your Food and Company

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Growing your own food is deeply satisfying. Foraging for food is just as rewarding. Every summer about this time people with bags and baskets line nearby roads and trails picking wild blackberries. It can be painstaking and time-consuming to brave stickers, webs and spiders for even a pound of berries.

When my neighbor Susan did this work and handed me two pounds of just-picked berries, I was as thrilled as any baker could be. The berries went straight into the peach crisp I was making – and they dominated the peaches in a delicious way. Susan and her husband were joining us for dinner – so of course I was making dessert. Guests are the best excuse for dessert.

A Crisp is the quintessential summer dessert because its heart is fruit. It fits my rule for of summer baking – not too fancy and not a lot of work.

Dessert helps extend any party. This Blackberry Peach Crisp ended a summer evening to remember – dining outside in balmy weather with stars in the sky and enough wine in the bottle to keep folks lingering. You want it to go on and on.

Dessert can be demonized and cause feelings of anxiety and guilt, even though it is a key part of so many celebrations and traditions. In the world of nutrition and dietetics there is a lot of rattling on about healthy this and unhealthy that…eat this, don’t eat that…when we should be following the #1 dietary guideline suggested by the Japan Dietetic Association (1):

“Enjoy your meals”

This simple advice is missing from our Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Let’s hope the experts revising our Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025 take some advice from the Japanese. All 10 of their recommendations are worth reading, including:

“Enjoy communication at the table with your family and/or other people and participate in preparation of meals.”

No wonder Japan has long been a world leader in terms of average life expectancy, only recently narrowly surpassed by Hong Kong (2). They know a few things about healthy living – like teaming up to make a meal, or a Blackberry Peach Crisp, and enjoying it in good company.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Blackberry Peach Crisp
For a more prominent peach flavor use 3 pounds peaches and 1 pound of berries. This was quite juicy – go up to 3 tablespoons cornstarch for a thicker berry sauce. Know that much thickener can dull the fruit flavor. And, go up on the sugar – depending on the sweetness of your fruit and your taste. A little alcohol in the filling is a flavor enhancer – not essential.

Serves 8 …more or less!

Fruit Filling:
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds ripe blackberries
2 pounds peaches or nectarines, pitted and sliced
1 ½ tablespoons bourbon, fruit-flavored brandy or vodka

Crisp Topping:
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped pecans or almonds
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons toasted nut oil such as pecan, walnut or hazelnut (or another 2 tablespoons butter, melted)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. For Filling, in a large bowl, stir together brown and granulated sugars, cornstarch and salt. Stir in berries, peaches and bourbon. Set aside with making topping.
3. For Topping, in a medium bowl stir together oats, flour, nuts and salt. Stir in melted butter and nut oil. Set aside.
4. Spread fruit in a lightly oiled or buttered large, shallow baking dish. Add filling. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until fruit is hot and releasing juices. Sprinkle Topping evenly over fruit. Return to oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until filling is bubbling, peaches are tender and topping is golden.
5. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

References
1. The Japan Dietetic Association

2. This urban population is leading the world in life expectancy, by Meera Senthilingam, CNN.

© Lorelle Del Matto 2018

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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