Blueberry Crisp, GF + V
Blueberry Crisp is my go-to summer dessert for several reasons. First and foremost, it tastes HEAVENLY. That’s the most important. Second, we have blueberry bushes at our house that yield a crazy amount of berries in the end of June/early July. Blueberries are a “superfood” with some of the highest levels of anti-oxidants of all the fresh fruits, and in fact much of the power of blueberries lies in their deep-blue hue. I find that to be a very cool fact because I happen to love the color blue, in case you can’t tell by all my blue and white tableware.
They are fun and relaxing to pick with friends and family, though secretly I really love to pick alone, too, hiding between the rows in my own literal blue heaven.
Today, I was picking with my daughter (pictured) and my dad and in under an hour we picked more than we could possibly eat. They freeze really well, and one tip about freezing fresh organic blueberries is to not wash or rinse them. Just place them in a sealed freezer bag or container and right in the freezer and they will not stick together when they are frozen. This makes it easy to thaw just a few when you need them for a recipe.
Another reason that Blueberry Crisp is my summer go-to, is that it is so easy to throw together and bakes in about 30 minutes. This crisp topping has only five ingredients, which means less time in the kitchen and more time outside in the sun. The recipe that I have used for as long as I can remember is from an early 1990’s Williams-Sonoma Fruit Desserts cookbook. Their cookbooks are great for quick browsing because each recipe is accompanied by a large, glossy, saliva-inducing photograph, the books are well organized and the recipes are fairly simple.
This year, I tried something different and I made some modifications to their recipe to make it gluten-free and vegan. Why? Well, why not? I was leaving the shore the other day and mentioned stopping in Philly for my favorite vegan cheesesteak, from Wiz kid at Whole Foods Philly, and our host asked in a surprised tone, “Are you a vegan?” I said “No.” She looked sort of puzzled, like “Why would a non-vegan go out of her way to eat a vegan cheesesteak?” Because balance. And because delicious. And in the case of modifying this recipe, because easy. That’s all.
Everyone probably knows someone with gluten sensitivities, and many people are trying to reduce, if not eliminate entirely, their consumption of animal products, so it’s helpful to have a couple of really good desserts that I can make for my gluten free (GF) and (V)egan friends when they come around. I have a well stocked pantry with several alternative flours so for this recipe I chose to replace the all-purpose white flour with almond flour. This recipe has oats, which are naturally gluten free and my FAVORITE thing in fruit crisp toppings. I used organic coconut palm sugar today because I like the deep caramel taste of it, but the old recipe uses light brown sugar which never caused any complaints. Truly the only thing I had to do to make this recipe “vegan” is to replace the butter with coconut oil, since butter was the only non-vegetable ingredient in the original recipe. I just “cut” the coconut oil into the dry ingredients, just the same as you would butter, until it forms a coarse, crumby mixture. I love this Kitchenaid pastry cutter because it’s sturdy and sharp and the handle is super comfortable. (Amazon has a similar one here.)
I made this crisp in a 13×9 inch metal baking pan, because it looked nice and kind of rustic, and it looked like the right size to me, in my typical multi-tasking haste. However, after I pulled it out of the oven, it looked kind of shallow, and the crisp topping is very thin. Have no fear, it was still delightful and not one person (except for me, of course. Aren’t we just our worst critics?) said “Hey! This is so thin! Dinner is ruined!” Of course, with the ambrosiac aroma that this throws off when freshly baked, it would probably have to look pretty bad for anyone to refuse.
In the end, we put ice-cream on ours, because we’re not vegan, so the thinness wasn’t a big deal. Non-dairy topping would be equally delicious on this, as would whipped cream, labneh- I don’t think I have to list all the possibilities. I’m sure you’ll do just fine.
If you like a deeper crisp with a thicker crust, I suggest either using a smaller baking pan, or doubling the recipe. I kind of dig baking in this old school cake pan so I think I’ll just double it next time. Who’s hungry? Let’s get to it.
- 4-5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup solid coconut oil
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish by coating with vegetable oil or shortening or vegetable cooking spray.
- Spread the berries in the bottom of the prepared dish and sprinkle with lemon juice.
- In a bowl, using a fork or pastry cutter, mix the sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and coconut oil until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over the blueberries.
- Bake until the top is golden and the blueberries are bubbling, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve hot or warm.
- For maximum flavor, try to find wild berries (fresh or frozen), rather than cultivated ones.
- Terrific with vanilla ice cream or dairy free vegan ice cream.