I am all for thrilling flavor combinations, but sometimes perfect seasonal produce begs simplicity. Right now our market is brimming with the most divine Colorado peaches. Peaches so perfect that they are best eaten in hand with juice dripping down one’s chin and fingers. It is perfect fruit, simplicity and ease that inspired this recipe. I wanted to make a dessert that brought together the flavors of the season in an unfussy way. I also wanted it to come together quickly. This dessert hits those marks. The most labor intensive step is pitting the cherries, but that step can be simplified by using frozen cherries if you so desire. The cherries can also be omitted all together for a peach crisp that is equally delicious.
My greatest memories of food are simple ones. It is not the multi-course chef’s tasting menus that come to mind first when recounting my greatest encounters with food. It is eating apple cider doughnuts from a paper bag, dipping them in steaming apple cider in the crisp autumn air. It is lobster dockside, butter and lemon the only accompaniments (sorry y’all, I wasn’t always a crazy vegetarian). Black beans, plantains and flan in Little Havana. Eating strawberries straight from a strawberry patch at our CSA, the kind of strawberries that are red all the way through and unbelievably fragrant. Eating Ethiopian food with my hands as a tiny girl. The injera, a spongey, fermented flatbread was a revelation. One of my crowing food memories is also one of my earliest. I couldn’t have been more than three or four. It is of peach cobbler from a soul food cafe in our neighborhood in Trenton, NJ. The owner was a family friend and it was his mom that made the cobbler. I would make my way to the kitchen to hug her at the end of the meal. She was the warmest of souls and her cobbler was an embodiment of love. I kid you not.
While this crisp is not, and could never be, her cobbler, it is simple and it is good. The love is up to you.
- 3 pounds peaches, 8 to 10
- 3 cups cherries, pitted
- juice of ½ a lemon
- ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
- 1½ cups rolled oats, gluten-free if needed
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, very soft or melted
- Preheat your oven to 350° and rub a large baking dish with coconut oil.
- Cut the cherries in half, pit them and place them in a large bowl. Cut the peaches in half, pit them, slice each half into quarters and place in the large bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and salt and mix to combine. Set the mixture aside while you prepare the the topping.
- Combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the maple and coconut oil and mix to combine.
- Once the fruit mixture has released a good amount of liquid, add the starch and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the entire surface of the fruit mixture.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the filling is bubbling all over and the liquid has thickened slightly.
- Allow to cool to warm before serving.