Blueberry Peach Ginger Crisp

Here’s what summer means to me: perfect Pacific Northwest weather, late evenings lingering over dinner on the front porch, weekend camping trips, farmers markets bursting at the seams with produce and flowers, twirly skirts, and pie. Pie, pie, PIE! All those colorful, sweet berries and varieties of stone fruits– it’s no wonder that I once spent a summer perfecting my crust making abilities. Given that the aforementioned perfect PNW weather might be a little crisp compared to the melting triple digits out east, pie really trumps ice cream for me as the optimal summer dessert, not that I’ll say no to pairing the two together instead of choosing one over the other.

Of all the fruit pie combinations I’ve toyed around with over the years, my favorite has been peach with blueberry. There’s just something about the sweetness of the peaches offsetting the slight tart flavor of the blueberries, their flavors marrying with an addition of almond and lemon zest. Plus, the contrasts of color when mixing the fruit together is just too darn pretty to resist! When I make a peach blueberry pie, I like to make a cornmeal crust, the light crunchiness just adds an airy quality to each bite despite the amount of butter in the crust.

Although I find that pie to be satisfying, I craved a little more complexity in spice and flavors when I found myself with a bunch of peaches and blueberries bought for super cheap prices at my local produce stand. I longed for a touch of spicy heat from ground cinnamon which to me would be best featured in a crumble topping rather than getting lost in a buttery crust. A last-minute inspiration to add freshly grated ginger came as I was slicing the peaches and unfortunately, brought back the embarrassing memory of how I spent most of my 9th grade year trying to bring back “ginger peachy keen” as a hip phrase after obsessively watching films from the 1930s and 40s. *ahem* This crumble was juicy, a little spicy, and perfectly sweet-tart, and was even better when topped with a generous dollop of leftover strawberry shortcake topping. Try it– I bet you’ll find it ginger peachy keen!

Note: Sorry– no picture of the finished product, but that’s due to my poor photography skills, not to the aesthetics of this dessert. Crumble produces 6 generous servings. In this house, it was excellent when also served with baklava flavored ice cream and would likely be good with just plain vanilla or plain, lightly sweetened whipped cream. Leftovers can be kept for up to two days under plastic wrap at room temperature or up to 4 days in the fridge.

Filling:

  • 2 lbs (or 5-6) smallish peaches, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups blueberries, rinsed and picked over, discarding unripe or overly ripe berries
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto or almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon or to taste depending on the sweetness of the fruit

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted whole almonds
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the filling ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes. In a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, add all the almonds. Pulse until almonds are chopped into small pieces. Add the rest of the topping ingredients and pulse until butter is evenly distributed, forming small, pea-sized crumbs. Pour filling ingredients into a 9 inch cake or pie pan and cover evenly with topping mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling has bubbled up in a couple of places. Cool for about half an hour and serve either warm or at room temperature.

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