stone fruit pies, crisps, and crumbles


I'm one of those weird people who don't much like raw stone fruit. Why did I get a fruit share? Strawberries and apples. But the middle of the season is a tedium of peaches, nectarines, and plums. What to do? Add lots of sugar and cook, naturally!

American fruit desserts include compotes (fruit simmered with sugar), crisps (fruit covered with a butter/sugar/flour/oat crumb topping and baked), cobblers (fruit covered with a buttermilk pastry dough and baked), and of course pies and their relatives, tarts and galettes.

I'm embarrassingly inept with pastry dough, so I've been making stone fruit crisps with great results. Below is a recipe for what I made yesterday, with half a fruit share, based on a Deborah Madison recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

What do you do with all this fruit?

  • 1 pound nectarines and plums
  • a handful of blackberries
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 T flour
  • 6 T butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2/3 c flour
  • 1/2 c oatmeal
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t grated nutmeg (ideally freshly grated)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 2 qt baking dish.
  2. Peel, pit, and slice the nectarines. Seed and quarter the plums. Mix fruit, sugar, and flour, and put in the baking dish.
  3. Mix together remaining ingredients except butter. Add butter and with your fingers rub the butter partway into the crumb mixture, until chunks are pea-sized.
  4. Cover fruit with the crumb mixture and bake for 45 minutes, until bubbling and the crumb mixture is lightly browned. (You may need to put the baking dish on a sheet pan if the fruit is likely to drip.) Cool completely before serving.

Serves 6 or 8.



I just made this with peaches that our share partners froze a couple weeks back. Very good! Thanks for sharing. But I served it warm instead of letting it cool. We just couldn't wait!

What I do with Fruit

I also have been making loads of crisps. I use the recipe from the wonderful Fields of Greens cookbook:

Crisp Topping
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Mix the flour, sugars, salt and spices together in a bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers, mixing until the topping is crumbly and begins to hold together. Add the nuts and quickly mix in.

The Fruit
5 medium sized peaches, or any stone fruit really, or even apples and/or berries, that reasonably fills your baking dish.
2-3 T sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the fruit well. Cut the fruit into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a 9 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar (to taste - some fruit may need more, some less) and toss with the fruit. Level the fruit and cover evenly with topping.

Bake until the topping is golden brown, the fruit tender, and the juices bubble around the sides, about 40-50 minutes. Let cool, then devour. It is very good by itself, but adding a little vanilla or cinnamon ice cream wouldn't be a bad idea.

Also, this recipe is for a wonderful plum cake:

Nectarine cake

I must recommend this amazing nectarine cake, which we've made twice and will make at least once more this season. And probably over the winter too, with some nectarines frozen (in syrup) in the fridge.

It's good on its own, and terrific when served with a blackberry syrup and whipped cream. To make a blackberry syrup, rinse a cup of blackberries, then put them in a small saucepan on medium-low. Sprinkle some sugar (maybe a couple tablespoons over the top), and cook the berries down, which will take 5 minutes or so. Stir frequently, pressing the berries against the side of the saucepan to crush them. Add 1/4 t of vanilla extract, then taste for sugar. Strain through a fine mesh sieve (ideally a drum sieve, or tamis), pushing the sauce through with a spoon. Refrigerate extras for a week or so.