My favorite fruit hands down are peaches. As soon as May hits, I troll the grocery stores searching for the colorful, fuzzy balls of sweet smelling and tasting goodness. And while I understand some people think first of the season peaches aren’t worth buying, I can assure you, in my experience, peaches are pretty fantastic from the moment they hit the stores to the last peach available for purchase in October or sometimes even November.
Whether yellow or white, Southern or California, clingstone or freestone, I can’t get enough of them and eat at least one a day, buying them like crazy at grocery stores, Costco, farmers’ markets, and farm stands. My favorite way to enjoy peaches is as they are, but being the baker I am, I love to put them in just about any sweet treat I can. So the other day I thought I’d whip up a peach crisp.
It’s hard to find an excellent crisp because when most people think of crisp they think of sweetened fruit topped off by some kind of biscuit, even though that’s not at all what a crisp is. I have an aversion to biscuits, so I don’t like those imposter crisps that are actually cobblers. Crisp is all about amazing fruit in a sweet syrup with that sometimes crunchy, sometimes soft topping full of sugar, oatmeal, and nuts. Together, the soft fruit and firm topping are a match made in heaven. Finding the perfect bite, different for everyone, is the best part of eating a crisp. Maybe it’s just fruit or fruit with the topping that has softened from absorbing the syrup. Perhaps it’s the crunchy topping all by itself or with a perfectly toasted pecan. Regardless, all the bites are superb.
As long as you have tons of peaches on hand, they don’t even have to be perfectly ripe, this is easy to make as well. Topping in one bowl, peaches in another, put them in the pan, and into the oven. There is a lot of topping on this crisp, but I love a thick layer of topping. Feel free to save some for another use if it’s too much for you, but I’m not sure there’s such a thing as too much topping. It’s best eaten warm out of the oven, try not to burn your mouth, but I can tell you from experience it’s hard to resist while cooling slightly. Even though this is a warm dessert, it screams summer to me, as it features the fruit that makes me think of summer, that makes me certain many of the days to come are to be filled with sunshine and warm temperatures. So to celebrate the unofficial start to summer, whip up one of these crisps for a warm weather treat.
- 10 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into about 8 wedges each
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make the topping. In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt until fully incorporated. Mix in the pecans. Add the butter to the mixture and cut it in with a pastry cutter, or mix it in with forks or your fingers. Fingers tend to work best. Work with the mixture until there are about pea sized pieces of butter throughout. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the sliced peaches, brown sugar, salt, flour, cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Make sure there are no lumps of dry ingredients. There should be a slightly thick juice coating the peaches.
- Pour peaches evenly into an 8 inch square baking pan. Pour topping over peaches. Smooth the topping to be sure all the peaches are completely covered. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and thickened. Serve hot out of the oven with whipped cream or ice cream if you like, though it is perfect alone. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days. May be eaten at room temperature or warmed in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes until warmed through. This, unfortunately, will not freeze well, but that’s just an excuse to make it again.