A simple fruit crisp is the little black dress of summer desserts. It’s always appropriate, can be transformed with a simple swap of accessories, and causes men to stutter. Most recently, this all-purpose treat strut its stuff as a Blackberry Crisp, baked in honor of my mom and stepdad’s first visit to Milwaukee.
To welcome my mom and Larry to town, Ben and I invited them to our home for a special dinner, with this blackberry crisp as the meal finale.
It was both meaningful and surreal to host my mom, who has served me dinner thousands of times, at my very own table in our very first home.
I felt quite grown up. (For the curious, our other menu items included Ina’s Herb Roasted Salmon and Tomato Gratin, along with simply roasted asparagus, an indulgent Wisconsin cheese plate, and Aperol spritz, a classic Italian cocktail.)
Of all the desserts in my recipe archives, fruit crisps are the ones that I make most often at home.
I’ve played around with dozens of different topping recipes, ranging from classic Cherry Crisp to Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp to Peach Crisp to Gluten Free Apple Crisp, but the one I used for today’s cherry blackberry crisp—the simplest of them all—is the one I return to over and over again.
The ingredients are wholesome and natural.
The only difficult aspect of preparing it is preventing myself from stuffing the entire crisp topping mixture into my mouth before it’s baked.
About This Healthy Blackberry Crisp
This emperor of all crisp toppings is a mix of oats, almond meal, unsweetened coconut, light olive oil, maple syrup, and pecans.
- Depending upon the type of fruit I’m using, I might choose honey instead of maple syrup or swap walnuts for the pecans, but the basic formula remains unchanged, because it is sublime.
- The oats become lightly crisp and toasty, the nuts add chunky texture, and the coconut provides a subtle, almost imperceptible background note that makes any fruit crisp positively addictive.
- Almond meal (which is a fancy way of saying ground-up almonds) adds a deep, nutty richness that is so utterly satisfying, you’ll never want your crisp any other way (plus, it makes the crisp topping gluten free!).
Blackberries are a bit of an unsung summer fruit hero, I think in part because their taste raw is off putting to some (unless it’s in a Blackberry Margarita anyway).
Once baked, however, blackberries are something special.
A little tart, a little moody, and juicy, blackberries sweeten in the oven, giving the crisp a nice balance.
Though blackberry crisp is delightful on its own, as with all fruit crisps, it certainly isn’t hampered by a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Because this blackberry crisp is healthier than most, any leftovers can be peacefully enjoyed for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt.
I like mine warmed up a little with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt top, and I imagine that vanilla would be wonderful too.
Parting words: Be confident and use the big spoon for your serving. It’s the right thing to do.
How to Store Blackberry Crisp
- To Store. Place leftover crisp in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Store blackberry crisp in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
More Fruit Crisp Recipes
For the Filling
- 6 cups blackberries fresh or frozen—do not thaw if frozen
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Topping
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts almonds, or pecans (untoasted)
- 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal*
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut I prefer unsweetened; sweetened works too
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
- Vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt, or Greek yogurt or nonfat plain greek yogurt for breakfast
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a deep 8×8-inch or similar baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Place the blackberries in a large mixing bowl, then scatter the cornstarch over the top. Add the honey and vanilla, then fold gently to combine.
- Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, walnuts, almond meal, coconut, cinnamon, and salt.
- Drizzle the olive oil and honey over the top, then use a spatula to combine until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. It will be thick and sticky.
- Spread the filling over the top.
- Bake the crisp until the filling hot and bubbly, about 45-55 minutes. Check the crisp at the 30-minute mark. If the topping is becoming too brown, tent with foil then continue baking until ready. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve warm, smothered with vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream, or Greek yogurt.
- TO STORE: Place leftover blackberry crisp in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm individual portions in a microwave-safe container until heated to the desired temperature. You can also reheat blackberry crisp in a 350-degree F oven until heated through. Tent with foil, if needed, to prevent the topping from over-browning. You may also enjoy blackberry crisp chilled straight from the fridge!
- TO FREEZE: Freeze blackberry crisp in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving or reheating.
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: To make your own almond meal, pulse whole, raw almonds in the food processor until they form fine crumbs. Do not over-process, or you will have almond butter instead.
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