There’s no activity that screams summer like picking out fresh fruit from a farm stand or orchard. Coming home with baskets full of ripe blueberries, strawberries or peaches is a seasonal rite of passage — until you realize you bought more than you can possibly consume in just a few days. In addition to freezing some for future use (winter you will be grateful!), cooking with the fruit is the next best thing. Preserve them into jams, blitz into a sorbet or bake into a crowd-pleasing fruit dessert.
The sheer variety of ways to bake with fruit may feel overwhelming: What exactly is the difference between a crumble, cobbler and crisp? And does it matter if you bake it in a pan, in ramekins or in bar form? Luckily, each and every option is delicious in its own way. Crumbles, cobblers and crisps are all baked fruit desserts with a pastry topping that varies slightly. Crumbles and crisps are finished with a crunchy streusel, the latter of which contains oats; cobblers, on the other hand, are capped with biscuits. This baked peach dessert marries the best of a crumble and crisp, using both oats and pecans for extra crunch.
Making the sweet, golden crumb topping is easier than you think. Just combine the nuts and oats with flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter. Fill a baking dish with sliced fresh peaches tossed in sugar, lemon and cornstarch, then top with the good stuff. That's it! Just 15 minutes of mixing and prep, plus some time in the oven, and you'll have yourself the perfect crumble for summer entertaining.
Swap Option: Substitute other stone fruits in place of the peach — nectarines, plums and cherries would all taste wonderful baked into a crumble. If using cherries, be sure to pit them before cooking.
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 4 pounds fresh peaches
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- vanilla ice cream, for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Add the oats and pecans and toss to combine.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and salt. Toss to combine then spread evenly in the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the peaches then bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool then serve with vanilla ice cream.