Blueberry Crisp

By Ann Fulton

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.
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Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.

 

Fruit crisps have earned their spot on the list of most popular desserts for a reason. They are made with accessible, economical ingredients and are incredibly easy to prepare.

Crisps are also easy to make dairy- and gluten-free, they can be prepped in advance, and hold up beautifully as leftovers.

A twist on the traditional apple rendition, this blueberry crisp is even quicker to prepare–no need to peel or chop the fruit.

And short of the fruit, all the ingredients are pantry staples. So if you keep a bag of blueberries in your freezer, the crisp will be a last-minute, crowd-pleasing option any time of year. 

While we often serve the crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you could trade it for vanilla or plain yogurt and make an excellent case for a wholesome breakfast! 

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.

Can I make the crisp with other fruits?

While I most often reach for blueberries, you may absolutely make this crisp with other berries, peaches, apples, pears, or a mix. Depending on the chosen fruit, you may wish to add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon, a grating of fresh nutmeg, lemon or lime zest, or a little extra sugar. 

Optional extras:

I sometimes add shredded coconut to the crisp topping, and while I’ve added as much as a half cup and have used both shredded and flaked, I find that ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut goes undetected by my coconut-averse husband, who absolutely adores this crisp. The fine pieces essentially provide a subtle flavor enhancement without a noticeable difference in texture. Not a must but worth a try if you have some on hand.

Spices and lemon or lime zest offer complementary additions depending on the fruit used. Lime or lemon zest will add a bright note to berries, while warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg take well to apples and pears. A pinch of ginger adds a little something special to peaches, and vanilla extract is fair game for any of them. But with the following recipe, simple truly does shine.

Lower in added sugars and butter:

You may notice that this crisp has less sugar and butter than similar crisps.

Opting for a liquid sweetener in the topping, in this case pure maple syrup, makes it possible to use less melted butter to coat the oats and other dry ingredients while supplying sufficient levels of fat and sweetness.

I’ve made the crisp with a variety of oils, including olive oil and coconut oil. They both make a lovely crisp and allow for a dairy-free dessert (with coconut oil adding a subtle yet complementary flavor), although butter will allow for the best crisping and browning of the topping.

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

Yes, and it works quite well. Almond flour or a gluten-free, cup-for-cup blend may be used in place of the all-purpose flour.

For best flavor and texture in a gluten-free crisp, I like to use half of each. Like all-purpose flour, the gluten-free blend creates more crispness. The almond flour, on the other hand, is softer but eliminates any sense of grittiness from the GF blend. When made this way, gluten-eating taste testers have not been able to tell the difference! 

Can the crisp be made dairy-free?

It can. I have used melted coconut oil and a fruity olive oil in this recipe. Both produce a nice crisp, and the coconut oil adds a hint of complementary flavor for those who enjoy. Butter, however, allows the topping to crisp and brown a touch better.

Can frozen blueberries be used?

Yes! If using frozen blueberries, don’t thaw (or rinse) and add an extra 5 minutes to the bake time, as needed.

Can the crisp be prepared in advance?

I often mix the dry ingredients well in advance (they can sit on the counter for most of the day or can be covered and refrigerated overnight) and then stir in the melted butter and maple syrup just before distributing over the blueberries.

At this point, I’ve let the crisp sit on the counter for up to two hours before baking. The crisp may also be refrigerated, uncovered, for up to four hours. I haven’t refrigerated longer than this, but if doing so, I would cover it with plastic wrap. When refrigerated, let the crisp sit on the counter to take the chill off while the oven preheats.

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.

Fresh or frozen berries may be used. While sweet, fresh berries are lovely, keeping a bag of berries in the freezer makes this an easy dessert to whip up anytime. When using frozen, there’s no need to thaw or rinse. 

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.

The prep is quick and easy and offers make-ahead convenience. The dry topping ingredients may be mixed well in advance. Once fully assembled, the crisp may be refrigerated for up to four hours before baking.

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.

An 8-inch square dish or similar-sized casserole may be used. If doubling the recipe, use a 9×13 baking dish.

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.

As delightful as the crisp topping is, the juicy blueberries hold their own. Their color is beautiful too, especially when they swirl with melting ice cream and create a vibrant fuchsia.  

Plump, juicy blueberries provide a sweet foundation for an irresistible crisp topping you’ll want to use with other fruits too. Quick to make with dairy- and gluten-free options.    

Blueberry Crisp
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Bursting with blueberries and topped with a delicious crumbly topping, I reach for this healthy-ish recipe all year round and it's always a crowd-pleaser. Easy to make gluten- and/or dairy-free too. 
For the berries:
  • 4 cups (2 pints/~24 ounces) blueberries* (any fruit will work)
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) sugar**
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch (optional for thickening juices)
For the crisp:
  • 1 cup (90g) old-fashioned oats (certified GF if needed)
  • ½ cup (57g) chopped raw pecans (could use chopped walnuts, almonds, cashews, or a mix)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (64g) or almond flour (52g)***
  • ¼ cup (56ml) melted butter****
  • ¼ cup (80g) pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (22g) shredded coconut, optional (I use unsweetened)
  • Optional for serving: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (vanilla yogurt turns leftovers into a tasty breakfast option)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and lightly grease or spray an 8×8-inch baking dish. Rinse the blueberries and drain very well. Add the berries to the dish and toss with the sugar and cornstarch.
  2. To a mixing bowl, add the oats, pecans, almond flour, coconut oil or butter, maple syrup, and salt. Toss to combine. Distribute the crisp evenly over blueberries. Prep ahead tip: At this point the crisp may sit on the counter for up to 2 hours or be refrigerated for several hours longer (I’ve gone up to 4 hours). Allow to sit at room temperature while oven preheats if cold from the fridge.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the blueberries are hot and juicy and the crisp is lightly golden. Top with whipped cream, ice cream, or vanilla yogurt if desired.
  4. Storage: Cover the cooled dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days. I gently warm leftovers in the microwave, although you may eat them cold or at room temperature.
Notes:

*May I use frozen blueberries? Yes! If using frozen blueberries, don’t thaw (or rinse) and add an extra 5 minutes to the bake time, as needed.

**Tossing the berries with small amount of sugar enhances their natural sweetness. You may omit this if preferred. Or, if you prefer a sweeter crisp and your blueberries are not especially sweet, increase the sugar by 1 to 2 tablespoons.

***Need a gluten-free recipe? Almond flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend work well in this crisp. I’ve also used half of each for the best of both.

****Need a dairy-free recipe? I have used melted coconut oil and a fruity olive oil in this recipe. Both produce a nice crisp, and the coconut oil adds a hint of complementary flavor for those who enjoy. Butter, however, allows the topping to crisp and brown a touch better.

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Comments

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Laura, Rolled or old-fashioned oats and quick oats are generally considered interchangeable, but because old-fashioned oats are thicker, they will yield a heartier, often chewier texture. I haven’t used quick oats in this crisp, but if they were what I had on hand, I’d use them. If you try, I’d love to know what you think!

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