Stone Fruit Crisp for the Far from Tame Soul
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Greetings loyal subscribers (shoutouts to my sister, mom, and grandma!),
You haven’t heard from me in a while, but it’s for a good reason. At the end of April, I took a job as a beekeeper, installing and maintaining beehives in people’s yards and on companies’ rooftops and properties.
I’ve been interested in honeybees for nearly a decade, but a recent period of simultaneous (and serendipitous) soul-searching and job-searching found me in this unexpected but also very expected career change. It’s incredibly fun, I get to work outside, and at a time when everything in the world feels uncertain and scary, being outside with my bee friends makes me happy!
But more on the bees at a later date, I promise.
Today, I’m here to talk about stone fruit season, which is related because we wouldn’t have stone fruit without pollinators such as honeybees (we stan!).
For fear of getting sued for defamation by Big Apple (not the city of New York, but like Big Pharma for fruit, you get it), I’ve never made a public statement about this, but here goes nothing. I am staunchly a summer fruit gal. Give me berries, give me melons, and please if there’s a g-d, give me stone fruit!
Incidentally, I was twice allergic to stone fruit. By which I mean that at two different periods in my life, in my early childhood and then again in my early twenties, I experienced mild allergic reactions whenever I ate a peach or plum. Hives, rashes, an itchy throat, a strange and confusing sequence of sneezes. Perhaps it was my need to overcome this ~adversity~ that strengthened my love of stone fruit, the forbidden fruit of my allergic desires. Now, at the ripe old age of 31 (I think? I lost count after 30), I am no longer allergic, and I worship at the alter of stone fruit. And I believe that there is no better way to celebrate stone fruit than to make a fruit crisp.
A fruit crisp is the perfect dessert. A fruit crisp is stone fruit’s highest calling. It feels almost dare I say patriotic to take a perfectly ripe piece of fruit that I have been guarding all week during its personal growth journey towards ripening but not molding and then add sugar and butter to the top. It’s my g-d given right. And it’s so easy.
I just follow a recipe! Or don’t! I eat it for dessert! Or breakfast! Or both!
I’ll allow that an apple crisp is fine and good if it’s not summer. But if it’s not summer, the chances that I will have the emotional fortitude to still be awake enough to bake something in the evening when the sun set at 4 PM and I suffer from seasonal depression are non-existent. Instead, I'll break into my stash of hoarded peppermint ice cream (the only good thing about winter) until the days get longer and my beloved stone fruit returns, rewarding me for having survived another hibernation.
Below, is my approach to baking a fruit crisp, adapted from the Kitchn. I don’t want to call it a recipe, because that feels like a bit of an overpromise, and as my dad always told me, “It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver.”
Stone Fruit Crisp for the Far from Tame Soul
(serves 4ish, double or triple the recipe for double or triple the fun)
3 cups of chopped fruit
⅓ to ½ cup sugar depending on how sweet the fruit is. You can use brown or white sugar, I like light brown
6 tablespoons butter
¾ cups rolled oats
½ cup flour or “flour.” To make this gluten-free, I’ll usually use a mix of whatever flour I have on hand—oat, almond, teff, white rice, whatever.
Pinch of salt
Unnecessary (but nice to have) Ingredients:
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch (define necessary, but it does help thicken the filling)
Some chopped pecans
Spices (a touch of cardamom can be nice if you’re feelin’ fancy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, maybe
Some ice cream or yogurt to go with
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Fondle your fruit! And by “fondle” I mean rinse, cut in half, remove the pit, dice into inch-ish sized pieces. Throw the fruit in the baking dish. I like to use a mix of stone fruits (namely peaches, nectarines, and sometimes apricots or cherries), but I’ll add in some blueberries if I have them on hand.
My favorite flex is to throw some pitted and halved cherries in the mix because it really establishes my character as the type of person who spends the extra ten minutes on a detail that lit-rah-lee nobody else will notice (or care about if they do notice). And that is, quite simply, my brand. Like, I could go to Costco and get a 100 gallon bag of frozen pitted cherries, but what’s the fun (or carpal tunnel) of that?
Add corn starch or the like to the fruit to thicken the filling. Add some lemon juice if you remember! Stir.
Step 3: Make the topping. In a ramekin in the microwave, melt the butter and let it cool for a bit. In a bowl, mix your oats, maybe some chopped pecans for a cute nut moment, sugar, whatever flour-like product you have on hand. Spices and vanilla if you want. Salt. Add the butter, stir, use your hands, make clumps, do your thing.
(A ~fUn FaCt~ about me that I have avoided putting into writing slash putting into the universe is that I have a gluten intolerance. No, this is not some trendy diet. No, I do not have celiac disease. Yes, as a consenting adult, I may choose to eat something containing gluten knowing full-well that I’m gonna have to cancel tomorrow’s plans because my stomach hurts. But that’s my business, not yours.
The funnest fact about gluten-free baking is that you need approximately 12,250,861 different types of “flour” on hand in order to bake something edible. But, the silver lining of having purchased all approximately 12,250,861 different types of “flour” in bulk in the early days of the p*ndemic means that that I always have something on hand that will work. It’s probably all expired, but I’m still here!)
Crumble the topping over the fruit filling.
Step 4: Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth. I like to serve it with some vanilla bean ice cream or Greek yogurt or whatever dairy product I have on hand.
Step 5: Eat.
Until we meet again, a few crisps from now,
Watching: The Staircase | Parks and Rec, finally
Reading: My friend Brian’s brilliant personal essay on Everything Everywhere All At Once | A strong case against letters of recommendation | “My Kids Forced Me To Embrace Therapy.”
Eating: Crisps on crisps on crisps | Caesar salad, but make it vegan | Magic Sauce | This recipe for stuffed peppers that I used to make in college that definitely still slaps
Publishing: Through Empowerment Avenue, I worked with Christopher Blackwell and the dynamic team at the Kitchn to publish Chris’s incredible personal essay about nachos.
For Lilith Magazine, I reviewed Benedetta Jasmine Guetta’s Italian-Jewish cookbook, Cooking alla Giudia. And for the San Francisco Standard, I published a book review/interview with William Brewer, the author of The Red Arrow, a debut novel about a writer who undergoes a psilocybin treatment for depression.
And speaking of mushrooms/things I am still thinking about: This description of mushrooms that might as well be my Twitter bio: