Updated: Sep 14
Summer is feeling so much weirder in the season of COVID. Regardless, what I love most about summer is all the delicious seasonal produce. Walking through the rows of vendors at the farmers market, I am transfixed by the variety of senses. From the wafting sends of fried dough coming from the donut truck to the farmers stands filled with vibrant berries and succulent tomatoes and peppers. One of the fruits I love baking with are apricots. They are these beautiful little, delicately yellow-orange colored round fruits that are both tart and sweet.
When I was home for quarantine, Momma Crawford and I watched so, SO much Spring Baking Championship. One of the episodes was all about crisps/crumbles/cobblers/buckles/brown betties/etc, which I thought was equally fun and fascinating. In simple terms, the differences between these baked fruit dishes is the type of topping you want to have. For example:
Crisps are topped with a crisp and crunchy layer of ingredients, traditionally including a proportion of sugar, butter, oats, nuts, flour and a spice such as cinnamon, tossed together to gain a somewhat granular look.
Crumbles are very similar to crisps, but without the oats and nuts. Crumbles are also traditionally stressuel-like and not as clumpy as a cobbler.
Cobblers are topped with thick dropped-biscuit topping, brushed with an egg-wash and sprinkled with granulated sugar.
Buckles are similar to coffee cakes where fruit is baked in between layers of streusel and cake.
Brown Betty is similar to a bread pudding, where fruit is baked and topped with breadcrumbs or cubed bread pieces.
For my apricot crisp, I decided to add some freshly grated nutmeg and ginger to add some depth of flavor. A mixture of brown and granulated sugar adds a nice richness and sweetness to the crisp. Topped with homemade vanilla bean custard (recipe coming soon!) and this is a simple summer dessert perfect for your next backyard bbq or lazy afternoon social distancing at home.
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Bake Time: 60-70 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings
47g (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
55g (¼ cup) packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
80g (1 cup) old-fashioned oats, divided
115g (½ cup) unsalted butter, chilled & cut into pieces
4 lbs. (8 cups) fresh or frozen apricots, sliced
200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
55g (¼ cup) brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
1| For the Oat Topping. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and oats until incorporated. Add in the cubes of butter and, using your fingers or a fork, cut the butter into the flour/oat mixture until the butter pieces are smaller and you can press the mixture together between your fingers. Set aside.
2| For Assembly. Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the apricots with sugar, cornstarch, zest, extract, spices and salt.
3| Transfer mixture to a 2.5-qt. baking dish. Scatter the oat topping over the fruit. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake until fruit juices are bubbling, and topping is golden brown, 60–70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 1 hour. Serve in bowls and top with vanilla custard ice cream.