Uninspired, I opened the refrigerator door and skillfully rearranged mismatched containers of last week’s leftovers. In a Tetris game like fashion, I pulled fresh blueberries and a stick of butter out of the fridge without knocking over any other jars or containers that had been sloppily stacked on top of one another. It is in this uneventful moment I find myself feeling slightly motivated to what will transpire over the course of the next thirty or so minutes. As someone who knows very well what can happen when blueberries and butter collide, I became a woman on a mission. I texted my good friend Emily, “You have vanilla ice cream, right?” Moments later she replies, “Yes.” I respond by texting back that I would be there in 45 minutes to her house, warm blueberry crisp in hand.
When I get together with good friends I know I will eat well, engage in humorous conversations about life, and dessert will be served. It’s the quintessential night out with the girls. With that in mind I gently washed the blueberries and added them to a stainless steel mixing bowl. Staring at the lonely lemon on my countertop, I was glad to use it before needing to throw it away in compost, for its outer skin showed visible signs of aging beyond its usefulness. I zested the small lemon before cutting into it for its juice. As I’m doing all of this, I have this quiet sense of gratitude about how fortunate I am to have wonderful friends to enrich my life. Even the sad lonely lemon found its last minute purpose – to add just a little bit of brightness to the dark small pound of blueberries. For just a moment, I felt like the lonely lemon. My family away on a California volunteer trip and feeling unusually bored in a quiet house by myself.
After adding the lemon zest and juice to the blueberries, I sprinkle a pinch of salt and a ¼ cup of sugar to the bowl. Using a spatula, I gave the blueberries a few gentle stirs. And with that, my filling was done. I added the berries to a small pie dish where its fate was destined to be in my belly.
With the oven already preheated, all that was left to do before baking the crisp was to make the topping made from brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, and a tiny pinch of salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Cutting into the cold butter on a hot summer day, I knew I had only a few minutes before it became too soft to do what I needed it to do. I cut the butter into cubes quickly and added it to the food processor along with the other crisp topping ingredients except for the oats. After pulsing everything for a minute, I transferred my buttery sugary carb loaded topping along with the oats to a small bowl, using my fingers forming small clumps of what will become a cookie like crumble. Quickly, I evenly distribute the pea sized crumbs all over the berries. From start to pre-baking finish, it took me about 5 minutes to assemble this homemade fruit crisp. I transfer the pie plate from my counter to the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. Five minutes of work seemed too easy for what would become a delicious homemade summer dessert, yet five minutes is all it took. I sprayed my counter-top with cleaner and began to clean up my mess. Twenty-five minutes later the smell of the crisp wafted through the kitchen and I texted Emily again asking if she was sure she had vanilla ice cream because there was no way I was going to bring the warm crisp over if there wasn’t going to be any vanilla ice cream to top it off and make it a la mode. Blueberry crisp without vanilla ice cream is like eating a cupcake without the frosting. Emily assured me again she had vanilla ice cream and I replied I would be there in fifteen minutes.
Opening the oven door my blueberry crisp was beautiful. It was simple and homey. Not able to wait, I grabbed a spoon and helped myself to one taste. Aside from slightly burning my tongue, which I should have known better, that first bite was the assurance I needed that this crisp was friend-sharing worthy.
When I arrived to Emily’s house she offered me a glass of wine, which I gladly accepted. From her shaded deck you could see boats sailing on Lake Washington and the occasional water skier passing by. Our simple meal that evening was grilled artisan bread which she had drizzled with olive oil, two types of olive spread, and a variety of cheeses topped with sliced ripe tomatoes drizzled with balsamic glaze. These were all items she happened to have on hand since our spontaneous evening of hanging out did not afford either of us to go grocery shopping beforehand. We talked about our kids, husbands, parents, and what our week looked like in review. When it was time for dessert I scooped large amounts of vanilla ice cream over a generous portion of blueberry crisp. Each bite was pure summer bliss.
I insisted on leaving the fruit crisp with Emily to enjoy with her family. I drove home thankful for the gift of friendship and the meal I enjoyed. Although there was nothing particularly fancy about what we ate, every bite was meaningful. The simplicity of it all is what made for a great evening with a dear friend.
Sometimes the best desserts are the ones you can easily pull together at a moment’s notice using what you probably have on hand. Share this fruit crisp with a friend over a simple dinner. I promise you, it will be a highlight in your busy week. Just don’t forget the vanilla ice cream.
Recipe: Simple Blueberry Crisp
A simple summer fruit dessert recipe that can be prepared in 5 minutes before going into the oven. Made with fresh blueberries and a oat crumb topping, this dessert is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
4 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup old-fashioned oats
Optional: Vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Add the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt to a mixing bowl. Gently stir the blueberries until the sugar is evenly distributed.
Transfer the blueberries to a pie plate.
To make the topping, add the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt to a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until the topping forms small doughy balls.
Remove the filling from the processor to a small bowl and add the oats. Using clean fingers, crumble the buttery dough balls with the oats.
*If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a fork or your fingers.
Evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit filling.
Bake the crisp for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown in color.
Allow the crisp to cool for 10 -15 minutes before serving.
Top off each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.