Finally, we have berries. Not that they are the first berries we have picked in the garden, just the first time we were able to pick enough to do something other than put a few over ice cream or such. With that many berries there was only one thing to do – a berry crisp of course.
Maybe four or five years ago, basically at the very start of when the garden went in, my sister and her family brought back a few vines of a wild blackberry they found in a river bottom while hiking. Because the garden was not in yet and because it was only one vine and because I had no idea one berry vine could take over a whole yard at that time, I put it along the back fence. There it grew. Slowly for a couple of years, then last year it took off; not the berry part mind you, just the thorny vine. This isn’t one of those “friendly” blackberry vines with soft thorns you can easily get out of your way. Oh no. It is mean and aggressive and likes to hug you every chance it gets.
Then, this year, it exploded in berries. The energy of the plant did not go into vine production like last year. Last weekend I was able to pick maybe four cups of blackberries, two strawberries, and a half cup or a little more of raspberries. Combine that with two peaches, some sugar and spice, sprinkle a little crumb topping over it, bake, and viola! you have a fabulous summer treat. A little vanilla ice cream over the top does not hurt either.
Below is the basic recipe we used. Feel free to substitute berries, do a rhubarb and strawberry version, or anything you are up for. Our berries were very sweet so we did not need much sugar. If your berries are tart or if you are using rhubarb, you might have to adjust the sugar a bit.
The result was a wonderful crisp. The fresh peaches provided a nice taste contrast to the fresh berries.
WILD BERRY AND PEACH CRISP
- 4 – 5 Cups Berries
- 2 Ripe Peaches, cubed
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon grated Orange Zest
- 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
- Juice from 1/2 Orange
- Juice from 1/2 Orange
- 3/4 Cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
- Heaping 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
- Heaping 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 3/4 Cup Quick-Cook Old Fashioned Oatmeal (gluten-free if relevant to you)
- Heaping 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 9 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter, cubed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the berry filling: toss the berries, peaches, granulated sugar and the orange zest together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the berries. Pour the mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
For the crumb topping: in a bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Stir to mix. Add butter and use a pastry cutter to combine ingredients until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely.
Bake for about 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.