One of the first people who followed me back on Instagram was Abigail Zimmerman Bordigioni of Annadel Estate Winery in Sonoma County. Abi was blogging at that time as Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen and now as The Creative Palate. Abi is a wife, mother, talented artist, “kitchen cook” and winemaker and her Sonoma County farmhouse fruit crisp recipe caught my eye. A homemade fruit crisp is the kind of dish I always dreamed of being able to throw together effortlessly and then serving warm and delectable right out of the oven. As much as I love items from bakeries, there is nothing that compares to a simple crisp you bake yourself.
Abi’s style of recipe sharing is down to earth and encouraging – reading her post was like having her in the room talking me through the steps. I decided I could do it – especially with the bounty of Sonoma County fruit we have in the summer.
Santa Rosa plums and plumcots (originally bred by famed botany expert Luther Burbank of Santa Rosa), Serres Ranch Blueberries, strawberries and peaches from the local farmer’s market all made their way into my crisp.
It was Abi’s assurance that any fruit would work (you can’t really mess this up!) that gave me the license to mix and match all my favorites.
Here is how I make my crisp, recipe inspired by, and adapted from, Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen.
Ingredients for Filling
6 cups of ripe fruit, thinly sliced ( I like to use Santa Rosa plums, Serres Ranch blueberries, Nectarines or Peaches, strawberries and apricots or plumcots)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch if fruit is not completely ripe
2 tablespoons dry tapioca
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla
Ingredients for Crisp Topping
1 stick of butter, softened but not melted
1 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
2/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours – or overnight. The flavors of the fruits are better when they steep overnight, but you will have a bit more juice. I prefer a thicker fruit filling (almost like pie filling) so if I let the fruit sit overnight, I remove some of the liquid before assembling my crisp. You may prefer a moister fruit filling – remember, there is no “right” way – it’s whatever you like best.
If you are short on time you can make the fruit a day ahead and complete the baking the next day – which is very useful if your fruit is a bit over-ripe and needs to be used. Using several types of fruit gives each bite of the crisp a slightly different, but uniquely wonderful taste.
Abi’s recipe calls for using a layer of the crisp mixture as a crust under the fruit and sprinkled over the top. I prefer to taste a bit more fruit so I omitted the crust layer and only use the topping.
Butter a 9 inch ceramic baking dish (or, 2-3 smaller baking dishes) and place fruit mixture into the dish.
Mix the crisp topping ingredients by hand (don’t over-mix – you want to have clumps!) and drop the crisp mixture over the top of the fruit until it is completely covered. Resist the temptation to press the topping into the fruit – it should just sit on top.
Bake for 55 minutes at 350. The top will be slightly browned and the fruit mixture should be bubbling out the sides. I place a cookie sheet on the oven shelf below the crisp or line the oven with foil to catch the sticky fruit dribbles. If you forget, you will be cleaning the oven while your crisp is cooling!
Let the crisp cool for 30 minutes and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. It is also delicious and sweet all on it’s own if you want to omit the ice cream.