Streusel Topping for Fruit Crisp

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My favorite dessert is fruit pie — especially apple pie, but I’m a sucker for any type of fruit pie. A very close second favorite dessert is fruit crisp … which is FAR less work. Especially if you already have the Streusel Topping made-up and in your freezer.  So when you make this, make a double-batch and put half in a freezer bag, to use at a moment’s notice, or another time when you are feeling low-energy and grateful that you already have this made-up and ready to go:

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  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (use quick-cooking/instant oats if rolled oats not available)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Put dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen

Using a box-grater, grate the frozen butter into the bowl, and use a rubber spatula to get all of the frozen butter off the grater — both inside and out.

I use my hands, but you could use a spoon or rubber spatula if you prefer — stir the butter into the flour mixture, in an attempt to coat all of the butter with the flour and distribute the butter throughout the flour.  Then, using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the cold butter into smaller pieces throughout the flour mixture.  The mixture will look like coarse bread crumbs when you’re finished.

  • 3/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.)
  • Zest of 1 large lemon, grated, chopped or micro-planed

Add to the crumb mixture and stir to distribute.

When time to make a fruit crisp, I use fresh fruit or frozen, and combine items such as 4 or 5 peaches (or nectarines), 2 heaping cups raspberries, 2 heaping cups pitted sour cherries, and 1 cup of blueberries or blackberries into a big casserole baking dish. I add only 1 cup of sugar and stir to distribute among the fruit — the juices will almost immediately get released. Fruit crisps are much better when they are sweet-tart versus overly sweet, so don’t add too much sugar!  Then 4 Tablespoons of cornstarch if you are using juicy fruits such as what I listed — perhaps half that much if using strictly apples or pears — and stir to distribute.  Top all of that with your Streusel Topping and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 1 hour, or until crisp topping is golden, and fruit juices are thick & bubbling.  Once out of the oven, allow to cool for about 15-30 minutes before serving.  Enjoy as is, or with ice cream or whipped cream!

 

 

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