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Adjust Servings:
2 teaspoons Water
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar packed
4 peaches peeled and cut from the stone
3 granny smith apples
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup Butter softened but not melted
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg to taste
allspice to taste
cloves to taste
peppercorn blend to taste
  • Serves 12
  • Medium


  • Filling

  • Crisp



Stone fruit, or fruit that has a stone or pit, refers to peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, mangoes, coffee, and much more. Don’t worry though. I am not going to make a coffee crisp, although now that I mention it, there has to be a way.

Recently, the first thing I smelled as I walked into a market was the beautiful array of peaches, nectarines and plums, and I could not help but to jump on the chance to make a nice stone-fruit and apple whole-wheat crisp with oatmeal.

In making my version of the crisp, I made a few adjustments to the standards that I have made along the way, including Balsamic Vinegar in place of lemon juice and whole wheat flour instead of the usual suspect all-purpose. The result was beautiful, and the juices of the fruit, when combined and cooked with the flour and oatmeal, left me speechless as my home smelled as though it had just come out of an episode of The Little House on the Prairie.

Fifteen minutes into the cooking, my wife Julie was quite pleased with the returning smell of baked goods permeating the air (we do a lot of in-season baking).

Crisps are one of the greatest foods known to mankind. To be honest with you, I had never made them before moving to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1999, but since I have been here, I have made them for buffets, a la carte desserts, and as beautiful plated desserts for banquets, with a few even being served for weddings if you can believe it. I attribute this phenomenon to a couple of things.

Firstly, crisps, cobblers and fresh fruit pies are definitely Grandma’s cooking, as ‘comfort’ as it gets. While they may seem ‘easy’, the taste of a well-executed fruit crisp can bring anyone to their knees if done right.

Secondly, while the general public has embraced the new, bold and incredibly intricate desserts found on many an upscale dinner menu, fruit crisps tend to lack the ‘frou-frou’ touches of perfectionist pastry chef training. Little thought and a mountain of flavor is a common theme on our shores in the last five years (soapbox) to move back to the days of yore; to old-fashioned and time-tested standards.

In the case of dinner, we see pot roast (fancy restaurants say ‘short ribs’). In bread we see a freshly baked array of whole-grain goodness (fancy restaurants mention ‘artisan’), and in desserts, we see terms such as ‘hand-crafted’ or even ‘low country’. Do you get the idea? Time tested dishes are making their way back onto the menu, and we are all the better for it.

When summer is over, and stone fruit is going on its way in order to make room for the fig, pear, apple and pumpkin of autumn, then we should all celebrate with one more crisp to usher out the steamy days.

  1. Combine the ingredients for the filling, being sure to toss the apples as you cut them with the water/vinegar mixture to prevent them from oxidizing
  2. Place in a baking dish
  3. Combine the dry ingredients for the topping, and then rub the softened butter in by hand
  4. Once combined evenly, spread over the crisp so that it will act as a ‘lid’ of sorts, trapping the heat and steam, and allowing the oven’s heat to do its magic
  5. Bake at 190C (375F) for 45 minutes (of course times will vary according to individual stoves) or until you see the bubbling goodness oozing from the edges of the crisp
  6. Cool the crisp on the stovetop until it won’t burn the hair off of your tongue, and serve with ice cream, crème anglaise or any sides of your choice

Paul Suplee

Paul G. Suplee CEC, PC III is a private chef, college professor, writer, photographer & blogger who breathes food. Active in the professional food service industry since 1983, he has worked in a number of locations across the United States. Paul now teaches adult students near Ocean City, Maryland after an interesting four-year career as a high school teacher. No disrespect to the food stylist world or that of the food writer, but what you see and read from him, love it or hate it, is what you will get at his table. No blowtorches, no crisco-ice cream and no molasses in place of natural glazing, either in photo or word.

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