When we first moved to Oregon, I found myself caught off guard by the sheer bounty and variety of summer fruits. I felt like such an amateur at the farmers’ market, inquiring about the blackberries, when everyone around me referred to “marionberries”, “black caps”, and “evergreens”. These folks know their berries!
We returned home with flats of berries, determined to familiarize ourselves with the intricacies of each one, and sat in the lawn lazily making our way to the bottom of the box. Our daughter, seen here seven years ago, remains a dedicated berry enthusiast today.
While I firmly believe that ripe summer fruits–think berries, nectarines, peaches, and cherries–taste glorious unadorned, sometimes I crave something more. And to my taste nothing hits the spot more than warm soft fruit, juices flowing, contrasted by a a bit of crunch. The only possibility of improvement to this combination may be a single scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Traditional fruit crisps are made with flour both in the topping and as a thickener for the fruit. I think I’ve come up with a pretty tasty replication using rice flour and cornstarch, along with gluten-free oats and sliced almonds, as an easy and delicious “crisp” topping. Although oats themselves do not contain gluten, they’re almost always cross-contaminated. Be sure to buy certified gluten-free oats (try Bob’s Red Mill or Gluten Free Oats brands) to stay on the safe side.
If you prefer other summer fruit combinations, say peaches and raspberries, feel free to play around. You’ll need six cups of fruit for the recipe. And come fall, don’t hesitate to use this topping for an apple or pear crisp. I’ve even resorted to keeping a bag of the topping in the freezer. Hey, you never know when the urge will strike.