Fruit Crisp 1

How do I love thee, fruit crisp? Let me count the ways: warm from the oven, drizzled with citrus glaze or cream, dolloped with whipped cream, over ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes or yogurt, for dessert or breakfast (yes, breakfast!).  In case you couldn’t tell, fruit crisps are one of my favorite dishes to bake and eat.  Nothing fancy schmancy here ~ crisps are pretty in their simplicity, uncomplicated to cook, and easily adapted to each season…that’s why I had to share them with y’all in August’s edition of The Recipe Box in Direct Magazine!

Fruit Crisp 2

I made the crisp in these photos for dessert on the 4th of July, using cherries, apples and blueberries for the good ol’ red, white and blue.  It was a delightful combination, perfect for the holiday and for the summer!  And the wonderful thing about fruit crisps is that you can mix and match fruits and spices for a dish that fits each season perfectly.

We’re all familiar with apple crisp…take that a step or two further and think apple-pear, apple-pear-cranberry, or even apple and (cubed) butternut squash or pumpkin. Stone fruits make great crisps too: peaches, nectarines and plums are tasty stand-alone fruits that also pair perfectly with berries.

Fruit Crisp 3

A few simple tricks will help you create delicious crisps.  Try to cut the fruits around the same size – and not too small, so they cook evenly and don’t get mushy.  Combine the fruit mixture and let it set while you make the streusel topping; the sugar will draw out the juices so you’ll have a nice, saucy crisp.

Fruit Crisp 4

Make crisps gluten free using rice flour or gluten free flour blend, and gluten free oats.

Fruit Crisp 5

Crisps can be baked in individual serving dishes like ramekins, or my favorite – cast iron.  Seriously, how cute are these?? (I used crushed cookies in the streusel topping – just another way you can change things up.  Check out the recipe here!)

Fruit Crisp 6

Try using spice blends instead of just cinnamon and nutmeg in crisps and all your baking.  Making your own blends is less expensive because you can purchase bulk spices – and you can adjust amounts for your family’s taste preferences. Apple pie, pumpkin pie and gingerbread spice blends will really take the flavor of your crisp to the next level. Spice blends make great gifts too.  I’ve shared a bonus recipe sheet below with these three blends (my favorites)!

Fruit Crisp 7

Fruit crisps are warm and comforting, so fragrant while they’re baking that it’s hard to wait for them to cool enough to dig in…but do please, you won’t be able to taste it if you’ve burned your tongue! You’ll find lots more tips in the recipe below that I hope will get you into the kitchen baking crisps.  Does your family already have a favorite or are you ready to be adventurous with a new combination?  I can’t wait to hear!

Fruit Crisp 8

Comfort food is the food that makes us feel good – satisfied, calm, cared for and carefree.  It’s food that fills us up emotionally and physically.  Finding comfort in food is a basic human experience.  Ellie Krieger  Enjoy!

Fruit Crisp 9

Fruit Crisp for Every Season
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Warm from the oven, drizzled with citrus glaze or cream, dolloped with whipped cream, over ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes or yogurt, for dessert or breakfast…there's nothing so comforting as a bowl of fruit crisp! You can easily mix and match seasonal fruits, spices and nuts for a myriad of ways to serve it all year long. My variations below will give you a great start!
Recipe type: Dessert, snack, breakfast
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • Streusel Topping:
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • scant ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 10 Tbsp. sweet butter, softened
  • Filling:
  • 3 - 4 large baking apples = about 1 ½ lbs. - peeled, cored and cut into chunks (Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious are best – don’t use Red Delicious as they will turn mushy)
  • 1 lb. cherries, pitted and halved
  • ½ lb. blueberries
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter a square or oval baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, combine all streusel ingredients except butter; mix well.
  4. Add softened butter and stir with a fork (or your clean hands) until crumbles form; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, spices, salt and lemon zest.
  6. Add apples and berries and toss gently.
  7. Add the lemon juice and vanilla; mix.
  8. Pour fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish/dishes.
  9. Top with streusel filling.
  10. Bake approximately 30 minutes, until streusel is golden brown and fruit juices are bubbling.
  11. Cool 30 minutes before serving; store leftovers in the refrigerator.
To change your recipe for the seasons:
Use about 3 pounds of fruit total – whatever ratio you like. Great seasonal combinations include apple-pear, apple or pear-cranberry, mixed berries, apple-cherry-berry. Stone fruits and berries are great together too. Try adding chopped figs for texture and flavor. Cubed pumpkin or butternut squash with apple and cranberries would be a great sweet-slightly savory crisp. You can also use frozen fruit; you do not need to defrost it.
Cut fruits the same size so they cook evenly; you want the fruits to soften but
not totally lose their texture.
Crisp can be baked in a square casserole, two smaller casserole dishes, or 6 small ramekins.
Use whatever nuts you prefer – or use a good granola/crushed granola bars
(without raisins or other dried fruits).
For richer, more intense molasses flavor, substitute dark brown sugar for golden brown sugar.
Orange zest and juice can be used instead of lemon.
Jazz up the flavor with different spice blends that complement your fruits – try Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, or Gingerbread Spices.
Easily adapt your crisp for gluten-free diets with gluten-free flour and oatmeal or rice flour, and nuts or gluten-free granola in the streusel topping.
Make a quick glaze to drizzle over your crisp by whisking together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. (more if needed) juice from the orange or lemon you zested, and a splash of vanila.
Serve warm from the oven with a drizzle of cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Warm crisp over ice cream is just Heavenly!
For a comforting breakfast, heat a serving of the crisp and serve over oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes/waffles/French toast.

Sweet Spice Blends for Baking
Prep time
Total time
Use these spice blends in crisps and all your baking. Increase or decrease the amount of individual spices to suit your taste preferences!
Recipe type: Spices
Serves: many servings
  • Note: all spices called for are ground spices - freshly grated nutmeg is best but pre-ground is just fine too.
  • Apple Pie Spice
  • 3 ½ Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. cardamom (gives a warm, clean, lemony and slightly floral flavor)
  • Add a pinch of dried lemon peel if you'd like
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. mace (grown from the same plant as nutmeg, its flavor is warm and slightly lemony - a little lighter than nutmeg)
  • Gingerbread Spice Mix
  • 2 Tbsp. each: allspice, cinnamon, and ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. each: cloves and nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • Pinch of cardamom
  1. For each spice blend: mix all spices together with a whisk until well combined.
  2. Store in airtight containers (mason jars are great; and recycled spice jars with their sprinkle/pour caps are even better!).


2 comments on “Fruit Crisp for Every Season!”

    • Thank you so much, Cathy! I think blends add so much more depth of flavor, compared to using just one or two spices.

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