I confess to being a glutton when it comes to stone fruit. There is a window of time when peaches, nectarines and plums run rampant at the market. Vibrantly hued and mottled in purples, oranges, fuscias and crimson, their flesh is a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, winey, and tart. I could eat them all day long, but then my stomach would hurt. At this time when these gifts are abundant, I tend to overshop. (It’s no secret that I have indulgence issues at farmers’ markets.) My kitchen counters are lined with bowls and baskets brimming with fruit. So, it’s no surprise that even in our home, all of this fruit cannot be eaten at the peak of ripeness. Some start to get a little too ripe, buried at the bottom of the bowl, or even passed over for the newest batch from the market. As I said, I have indulgence issues.
This is the moment when a crumble or crisp comes in handy. It’s desserts’ equivalent to a homey vegetable soup. Gather up all the ripe, somewhat passed fruit (as you might with vegetables for a soup), cut and chop and pile them in a baking dish. Garnish with berries and pile on the topping. The tartness of the berries balances the sweetness of the stone fruit, and with little added sugar the result is a rich, murky, sweet – but not cloying – perfumed stew of summer fruit. It’s best served warm, but not piping hot, since that will mask the flavor of the fruit. A dollop of high quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream adds a cool foil to the warm, more-ish fruit.
Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp
You can use any stone fruit for the crisp. Try any combination of plums, peaches and nectarines. The addition of raspberries and blueberries adds tartness and color.
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups (170 g.) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 g.) brown sugar
1/4 cup (55 g.) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170 g.) unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
For the fruit:
2 lbs.(1 kg.) nectarines (or use a combination of nectarines, plums, peaches), halved and pitted, cut in 1″ chunks
1 cup (150 g.) raspberries
1 cup (150 g.) blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well to combine. Add butter, and work in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Topping can be prepared one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.)
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Arrange nectarines in rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Arrange raspberries and blueberries over nectarines. Cover fruit evenly with topping. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool briefly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.