It’s the time of year when peaches are piled so high on the counter that we hardly make a dent in them as we eat one after another, on the back porch or leaning over the sink, juice running down our wrists. The baby reaches for them: “apple! Apple!” (All fruit is “apple” in her lexicon.) We get peaches in our CSA box every week, and buy more, and then our neighbors came over with a heaping bowl, sharing the bounty of a box they brought home from some warmer, peach-growing place.
Time to make a crisp.I am not a peeler of peaches by nature; I consider it both healthy and rustic (read: less work) to leave the peels intact. But there is a little person in my family who spits out any morsel of peach peel she finds in her mouth, or, worse, squirrels them away in her cheeks to spit out later. I didn’t relish the thought of finding a pile of masticated peach peel in a corner sometime next week, so: peeled peaches. A few precious handfuls of those blueberries piled in with the peaches turned the whole thing purple and sang the summertime harmony line.I compared recipes and discovered why I love Rustic Fruit Desserts so much; that book’s recipe called for more than twice as much sugar as Deborah Madison suggests for the same quantity of fruit. It was quite unnecessary in this case. I split the difference by winging a less-sweet fruit filling, dressing the fruit up instead with vanilla and cinnamon. The decadence of the crisp’s almond-flecked topping more than masks any hint of austerity in the filling, however. And a melting spoonful of vanilla ice cream on top would be just fine here.Peach and Blueberry Crisp: To make the crisp topping, combine 1 1/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt. Cut 1 stick (4 oz.) butter into cubes and use a pastry blender or food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly (it should hold together in large crumbs when you squeeze a handful). Stir in 3/4 c. sliced, toasted almonds, then place the topping aside in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
If you have your own reasons to peel your peaches, it is easiest if you dip them in boiling water for about 10 seconds first; the peels should then slide off easily. If you skip this step, I won’t tell.
In a large bowl, rub together 1/4 c. sugar, 3 Tb. cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Slice six peaches into wedges and place them and their juices in the bowl, then gently mix everything together with 2 c. blueberries and 1 Tb. vanilla. Pour fruit into a buttered 9×13 baking dish and scatter topping over fruit, squeezing each handful a bit first to create large and small crumbs.
Bake at 400 for 4-55 minutes, until the fruit is thick and bubbly and the topping is golden. Cool a bit before serving with vanilla ice cream. Try to save a bowl for tomorrow’s breakfast.