Wednesday, August 18, 2010

summer fest: peach crisp

When I was a kid, growing up in Kelowna on a city lot with a rather astounding number of fruit trees, early August meant peaches.

My mom would draft me to help peel them for canning. Those memories have a distinct feel of slippery peaches shooting out my hands and little bits of fuzz everywhere.

She made a beautiful jar of canned peaches, but what I really looked forward to was peach crisp. Bubbling out of the oven with oats and brown sugar and butter, with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream on top, it was the perfect August dessert.

We were back in the Okanagan for a bit of summer vacation last week, and picked up these beauties. (I also couldn’t resist cherries, apricots and plums. The Okanagan is a delicious valley.)

Sure enough, after a few days and a car and ferry ride home, the peaches were ripe and ready for crisp.

This is my mom’s recipe. My husband and I have different opinions about how much we like the ground cloves in it. If you’re not a clove fan, leave them out. But if you are, I think you will agree they add another layer of spicy goodness to the crisp.

Can you see the yummy cloves?

You can adapt this crisp recipe for pretty much any fruit: rhubarb, apple, pear, plum, whatever’s ripe in your neck of the woods. You can also play around with different proportions of fruit to crumble if you like more fruit or more crumble. (I’m a more crumble person, myself.)

I like the balance of cold ice cream on hot crisp, but I didn’t attempt to take a photo of that, as I expected it would then look like peach crisp ice cream stew.

This post is part of Summer Fest 2010, which is a community food blogging event to write about (and eat!) seasonal produce. Today's Summer Fest theme is -- you guessed it -- stone fruit.

My family recipe for peach crisp is below. If you'd like to see other food bloggers' delicious ideas about stone fruit, check out:

The Wright Recipes: Ginger and Vanilla Poached Peaches
Sweetnicks: Blueberry Peach Smoothie
White on Rice Couple: Poached Pluots in Reisling
San Diego Foodstuff: Grilled Peach Parfait and Coconut Peach Gazpacho
Eating from the Ground Up: Stone Fruit Slump
Just a Taste: Peaches and Cream Cupcakes
A Way to Garden: Clafoutis Batter from Michel Roux
Food Network UK: How to Poach a Peach
Tigress in a Jam: Nectarine Preserves with Summer Savory and White Pepper
Over a Tuscan Stove: Italian Amaretti Apricots
Tea & Cookies: Making Peach Jam
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: Gluten-Free Nectarine Blueberry Buckle

And if you'd like to join the festival, leave your comment or recipe about stone fruit on my blog and the others' blogs. The idea is to get everyone talking about what's ripe right now and how we can eat it.

A note for gluten-free people:
This recipe will only work for you if you can tolerate oats. Make sure you find oats that were grown in an uncontaminated field and processed in an uncontaminated factory. I like oats from Cream Hill Estates.

peach crisp

makes 4 to 6 bowls

6 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. lemon juice
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. wheat flour
            Or gluten-free flours:
            2 tbsp. sweet white sorghum flour
1 tbsp. sweet rice flour
2 tbsp. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or guar gum
1/8 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 6-cup casserole dish.

Mix the peaches with the cloves, cinnamon, lemon juice and half of the brown sugar. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.

Blend the remaining brown sugar, oats, flour and salt together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture has a crumbly consistency. Add the nuts and use your fingers to work them in. Sprinkle the crumbles relatively evenly over the fruit.

Bake 45 minutes, or until the peaches are soft and the crumble topping is nicely browned.

Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.


  1. Really lovely post- the light in your pics is just how the story makes me think of that crisp. And yes to cloves!

  2. Great post...I'm craving something peachy now.

  3. Hey Spud! I am checking up on you allllll the way from Melbourne Australia! This by the way, looks delicious! I am definitely going to make it, maybe while I am in the land down under too!

    Love Aimee

  4. Here I am in Germany looking for a crisp recipe... yours was the first site I tried :) Thanks, Stephanie.

  5. Glad to help, Karen -- even all the way from Canada!