Somehow, summer is almost gone, and we’re gearing up for the season of pumpkins, apples, and cinnamon. Yea, fall! As the dog days of summer begin to give way to the promise of cooler weather and shorter days (in the northern hemisphere, at least), I’m doing my best to make good use of the last of summer’s seasonal produce. Just a few days after discussing the differences between cobblers, crumbles, and crisps, I found the biggest peaches I have ever seen during a recent trip to the grocery store. Clearly, a peach cobbler/crumble/crisp was in my future.
So, first things first: the difference between cobblers, crumbles, and crisps. All three are very similar, in that they usually involve a fruit filling baked with a sweet topping. The difference comes in the topping ingredients. Cobblers (the most distinctly different of the three) are topped with sweet biscuits. Crumbles and crisps are both topped with a crumbly topping made up of butter, flour, sugar, and other mix-ins. The difference is that the topping of a crumble normally includes ground nuts or other mix-ins (or none), and that of a crisp includes oats instead (it’s called a crisp because the oats should “crisp” during baking). So now you know.
I chose to go with a crisp this time because I’d tried a similar topping on an apple pie recently and been pretty happy with the result. I also decided to add in some of the cherries I had picked and frozen back in July for a little variety. The combination of peaches, cherries, brown sugar, and a bit of lemon zest and juice, was just the right blend of tart and sweet. Definitely a fitting way to end the summer.
I relied heavily on this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, but I adjusted the ingredient measurements to account for the increased volume of juicy fruit. The filling became quite thick, so if you are looking for a runnier consistency, you can use ½ cup of flour instead. You may also want to play around with the spices a bit. I use only cinnamon (because really, do you need anything more than cinnamon?), but a little cardamom or ginger would compliment the flavors well. You can also substitute pretty much any stone fruit of your choice, as long as you are sure to maintain the volume of fruit (the fruit filling and crisp topping just about filled this square baking dish to the top). If you decide to experiment, let me know what you tried and how it turns out!
You will need the following ingredients:
For the filling:
- 2 lbs. ripe peaches, rinsed and chopped into ¾” chunks
- 2 cups (8 oz.) sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the topping:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For baking ambiance:
- Peaches always make me think of the Allman Brothers (for obvious reasons). Any configuration of the band is fair game, though I am partial to their live SUNY at Stony Brook album, and Eat a Peach is just an obvious choice.
Let’s get baking!
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Toss together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a large bowl.
Add the chopped peaches, cherries, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix until well-combined. I know it doesn’t look too appetizing at this point, but trust me, it will pay off soon.
Spread the fruit mixture evenly in an 8″-square baking dish.
In a medium bowl, stir together all topping ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly with peaches the size of large peas.
Sprinkle the topping evenly across the top of the fruit filling.
Bake the crisp for 40-50 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the filling is starting to bubble up through it.
Cool the crisp for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top if desired, and refrigerate leftovers (if you have any).
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Cherry Peach Crisp