Blackberry and Nectarine Crisp
Here, the natural sweetness of the nectarines and the inherent acidity of the berries create a pleasant balance of flavors. The fruits' tenderness is a good counterpoint to the crunch of the crisp topping. The recipe was inspired by a crisp served at Foreign Cinema, a popular restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District. Any of the blackberry hybrids will work with the nectarines.
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts, such as almonds, pecans or walnuts
6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint blackberries
4 or 5 nectarines, depending on size, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
few drops aged balsamic vinegar or squeeze of fresh lemon juice
vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown and granulated sugars, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Add the butter to the flour mixture and, using your fingers, work in the butter until a crumbly mixture forms. Alternatively, combine the dry ingredients in a food processor, process briefly to mix, add the butter, and pulse until a crumbly mixture forms.
To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the berries, nectarines, flour, brown sugar, and vinegar or lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. Transfer the mixture to a gratin dish or earthenware baking dish just large enough to hold the fruit in a double layer. Sprinkle evenly with the topping.
Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the crisp, rotating the dish 180 degrees once or twice during baking to ensure even cooking, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the crisp from the oven and serve hot, or let cool on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with ice cream or creme fraiche.
The topping is so good that we suggest you double the recipe for it, slip the extra batch into a zippered plastic bag, label and date it, and then freeze it. Then, when you bring home summer fruit, you are just a few tosses away from an easy, delicious summer dessert.