This time of year is tough on the diet. I like to eat seasonally, but there is not much seasonality between February and April. Don’t get me wrong, winter is tough but I made a lot of great meals with inexpensive root vegetables and grains this year. I swear there are more ways to use a rutabaga than you think. But come February, it is slim pickings. For the last few months I have been doing a bang up job clearing out the freezer and pantry making breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, but this past month has required more pricey grocery shopping trips. This week, CFO is away on business, leaving me alone to make my own coffee in the morning (which is the WORST), and also making dinner for one (not as terrible as the coffee thing). I had this really grand idea of eating takeout every night because I never eat out by myself or get takeout because I am sodamnthrifty, but the idea sounded fascinating. I had it all planned out with specific restaurants and everything. Then of course, I realized that to do such plan would require me to drive to said restaurants to pick up food, and, well, a greater thrill took over. The thrill of the yard, followed by the thrill of the Netflix. I decided to scour the freezer for any remaining foods, so I could stay cozy at home.
As luck would have it, I found this freezer bag full of red gems.
This is the last of the summer raspberries, frozen at their peak. And let me tell you, they are like some kind of ambrosia. I think they could impart immortality. The smell alone evokes that summery, happy, warm feeling and brings you right back to July. Ooooooo so good. This is divine. This is my dinner.
The nice part about being an adult is I can make really, really good eating decisions. Here is my favorite recipe for all the fruits, and it is enjoyable for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, desserts, and fourth meals: Perfect Fruit Crisp.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
Flour, brown sugar, lemon, spices, butter, oats, nuts, fruit, corn starch, a little salt) and preheat the oven to 425°F.
Step 2: Mix topping
For a two-person one-person serving, I usually do ¼ c flour, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp chopped nuts (I had slivered almonds on hand, no chopping needed!), a hearty dose of cinnamon (for fall fruits, nutmeg as well), a pinch of salt and mix well.
Melt about 3 Tbsp butter (not margarine, please!), and mix into the flour mix. A lot of crisps require you to “cut in” cold butter, but that is so much more work than I am willing to do.
Once the butter is mixed, at it looks like soggy batter, stir in about ¼ to ½ cup of rolled oats. This is the key, to mix after the butter. The oats will clump up the whole mixture and you will get that crumbly, expected crisp topping. When I make this for CFO, I like to double the topping for him. For me, I like to double the fruit.
Step 3: Prep the fruit
You can use any fruit that bakes well. I have done this with apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, blackberries, and any combination, but tonight, it’s all about the raspberries. I recommend about 1 cup of fruit per serving. For large fruits that require cutting, I recommend just chop and mix. I don’t bother with peeling if I don’t have to (extra fiber anyone?), but DO core and seed pomme fruits (apples and pears) and pit fruits (plums and peaches).
You will need the juice of half of one lemon per serving, add about ½ tsp corn starch if using fresh fruit, 1 tsp corn starch if frozen, and if you want a little more sweetness, you can add 1 tsp sugar. That is optional and I won’t need it with these little ladies. Dissolve the cornstarch, and mix the berries with the lemon mixture.
Step 4: Assemble
Pour the berries into ramekins and top with oat crisp. You can also use a larger 8×8 baking dish, if you double or triple the recipe.
Step 5: Bake
Put into 425°F oven, and bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on if fresh fruit (less time) or frozen (more time).
Step 6: Enjoy
Ahhhh heavenly! One for dinner, and one for dessert. Topped with a scoop of ice cream or a hearty dollop of fresh whipped cream, this becomes a complete meal, nutritionally, and also vegetarian-friendly: fruit, nuts, oats, dairy, grain. All it is missing is the wine. Luckily, I have that in spades. Bon santé!
PERFECT FRUIT CRISP
Serves 2 (or 1, if you can get it alone)
- 2 cups fruit, fresh or frozen
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp cornstarch (1 tsp if using frozen fruit)
- 1 tsp sugar, optional
- ¼ c flour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp chopped nuts
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- ¼ c rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt and nuts in a small bowl. Add melted butter and mix until mixture is wet. Add oats until clumps form and it is incorporated. If needed, add more oats. Set aside.
- Dissolve corn starch into lemon juice, add sugar if desired. Mix lemon juice into fruit to coat.
- Divide fruit into 2 ramekins or individual baking dishes.
- Set remekins on tray if desired, bake for 25 minutes (fresh fruit) to 35 minutes (frozen fruit).
- Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.