Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blackberry Friendship

Years and years ago I remember meeting up with a family member about this time of year. We had both come a ways...maybe an hour or two. I had a cardboard box and we were sitting at a picnic table. I opened the box and there was a layer of newspaper. I took that out of the box and there was a layer of scrunched up newspapers. I took those out too, to reveal the top of a casserole, covered in foil. Around the casserole, filling the box at the sides, were more scrunched up newspapers. This was obviously something special nestled in that box.

Once the casserole came out of the box and the foil was removed it all became clear. This was an iconic summer dessert to share...peach blackberry crisp, still warm from the oven, thanks to all that packing material.

I scooped out portions into the paper bowls I had brought along, gave them a splash of cream from the thermos and we feasted! Blackberries are ripe at the same time as peaches and they have a long standing friendship as far as I can tell. They are both juicy and sweet with a bit of tang. I think that heating them up brings out the best of both peaches and blackberries, but somehow the combination of the two together, all sweet and warm and syrupy is sublime.

 Add the crunch of the crisp made with butter, flour, brown sugar, oats, spices and chopped nuts and life is good indeed. Top it with some cool cream and you hit the jackpot of desserts. At home we sometimes substitute vanilla frozen yogurt for the cream.

I wish that our new dog Pi and our longtime favorite cat Merlin got along as well as the peaches and blackberries. Pi has stopped chasing things for weeks now and is settling in. Merlin hangs out under the blackberries, allows Sweetie to feed him, with Merlin complaining all the while, and then Merlin walks a short distance away, and turns his back on Sweetie as he sits down. Not a forgiving cat so far. I go down and pet him and pull the foxtails and weeds out of his fur but he won't come to the house. Now the fragrance of blackberries reminds me of his unhappiness as well as of many other, happy memories. I'll bet as it gets chilly and the rains come that we will again see Merlin up at the house. Hope so.

Peach and Blackberry Crisp

3-4 peaches
1 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon, freshly grated if possible, nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Peel and pit and slice the peaches. Rinse the blackberries and pick out any leaves or similar debris. Place the sliced peaches and the blackberries in an oven-proof bowl or casserole, stir in the brown sugar and nutmeg, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes. The fruit should be bubbly hot.

While the fruit is cooking, melt the butter in a small pan.  In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the nuts. Mixture will be crumbly.

Remove cooked fruit from the oven, remove the foil and spread the crumb mixture evenly over the hot fruit. Return the fruit to the oven and bake another 15 minutes, or until crisp is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes.

Serve in bowls. Great topped with cream, half and half, or ice cream. Serves 4-6.


  1. Sublime casserole indeed ... the dog and cat on the other hand ... well I do hope they get a little more happy together.
    Blackberry and peach, they do belong together.

  2. Casseroles! The word on it's own has it's promises. Wonderful combination and I can just imagine how the two of you must have sat there and enjoyed it.