Crisps & Cobblers

Mixed Berry Crisp

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As I predicted in my last post, I have less time for this blog now, post-baby, than I did during pregnancy. Silly me, I didn’t even know how tired you could be then! My pregnancy was not easy, but I don’t think anything prepares you for the way becoming a parent sucks your energy away. Forget baking, most days I’m proud of myself if I found time to actually make dinner, versus moving something from freezer to microwave.

Having a baby is really like having a bomb go off in your home. Even though you expected the bomb to go off, it is a shock. Your home, and your life, are in shambles. It’s total chaos and you and your partner are in survival mode.

Eventually, the dust settles. You can catch your breath, and look around – and see how much damage the baby bomb has done. Your home will never be the same again. You can see how your home could eventually be rebuilt to be even better, but that seems a ways off. For now you are wondering why you thought bringing a bomb into the house was even a good idea.

But eventually, it does get better. Now that my adorable little baby bomb is nearly 8 months old, we are turning the corner. I am finding that, while there are good days and bad days, it is mostly getting a little easier. We are (finally) finding a rhythm with naps and we are seeing the baby’s personality shine through. So I am also slowly getting back to being myself, and having fun in the kitchen.

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This recipe is one of the few things I baked during the longer, harder days this summer. Whipping up a crisp is one of the easiest ways to make dessert, and its even easier with berries, which do not require the cutting or peeling of other fruits. Quick, easy, and delicious desserts are an easy sell for me any day, but especially with a baby to take care of.

This recipe is also egg-free, which is handy as we recently learned our baby has an egg allergy. It would be also very easy to make vegan/dairy-free by substituting margin (or similar) for the butter.

I made these with blackberries and blueberries, but you can use any berries you like (although you’ll have to hull and halve strawberries, so its a bit more work). As berry season is basically over now, you could also try this with frozen berries. It might have a runnier consistency, but should work just as well.

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Mixed Berry Crisp
Adapted from Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Makes about 4 servings

  • 4 cups (about 2 pints) of berries, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch or ClearJel
  • 1 tsp of grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of orange juice

Crumble topping

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350. Place 4 large ramekins on a baking sheet (you an also use a 8 by 8 baking dish). In a large bowl, mix the berries with the sugar, cornstarch/ClearJel, zest and juice. Add the berries to the baking dishes, along with all the juice.

Make the crumble topping by mixing the flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly. It should make clumps if squeeze in your hand. Distribute it over the berries to cover the berries in one layer (you may have more topping than you need).

Bake until crisp is golden brown and the juices are bubbling up, about 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then serve. I personally think it is a requirement to serve this with vanilla ice cream, but my husband swears it is optional.

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