Easy Gluten-Free Peach Crisp with Blueberries

· Summer time, and the living is easy... Just like this dessert. ·

August 5, 2016 Comments Off on Easy Gluten-Free Peach Crisp with Blueberries

When you’ve got more (very) ripe peaches than you should eat in one sitting, it’s the perfect time to make this easy gluten-free peach crisp! With oats, brown rice flour, blueberries, and a sprinkle of nutmeg, this easy peach crisp is the epitome of summer. In our house, summer is a time for catching up on chores that get thrown to the wayside during the course of the school year and for maximizing quality time with the little ones. These two things are not exactly mutually inclusive. We have so many things on our summer chores hit list that sometimes I can’t bear to look at it, much less get the nerve up to actually begin! So when my in-laws came to visit with some ripe peaches, I was able to do some check a few items off of that tome list of chores  while Grandma and Grandpa cuddled with the babies. I call that a win-win. It’s amazing how much one can get accomplished without two munchkins hanging onto your ankles (or elbows, or waist, or shirt hem…)! We are so amazingly lucky that we have the support that we do.

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A couple days after G and G’s visit, I realized that the peaches were in desperate need of immediate attention. While I contemplated having peaches three meals a day, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. That’s when it occurred to me to repurpose them into something else that would still scream of summer peaches, but would allow me to stretch the fruits’ lifespan a little longer. I had a couple ideas (like sorbet, ice cream, grilled peaches) but the one that really stuck was the idea of this easy gluten-free peach crisp with blueberries. I had organic blueberries in the freezer, butter in the fridge, and oats on the counter. What better supporting actors could I have for these gorgeous peaches? And the effort to time required to deliciousness ratio was pretty perfect too!

At its foundation, a crisp or a crumble really consists of two major parts: a buttery, yummy, (maybe spicy) topping and unctuous, sweet-tart, juicy cooked fruit. With the fruit layer, I like to keep things simple and really let the fruit of the season sing. All it really takes is some lemon juice, a bit of sweetener, a bit of thickener, and a bit of spice. Simple is easy. Simple is tasty. Can’t go wrong with simple. 

I’ve had crisps and crumbles where the topping is perhaps a bit dry, or mealy, or just not what I envision a streusel topping for a crisp to be… Maybe it’s just me, but I like my streusel topping with more of a cookie texture, which can only mean one thing: more butter! I prefer my crisps with a thicker layer of topping. And why wouldn’t I when the topping can be this good? Imagine an abundance of crisp, buttery, and sweet crumbs in varying sizes just waiting to be devoured! I figure, sometimes you just have to go for it. It is dessert, after all. Besides, there’s fruit in it. Which contains fibre. Which is healthy. So this is technically a health food, yeah? Yeah. Let’s go with that.

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So back to the streusel/topping. I blended about 3/4 cup of unsalted butter in my topping with oats, brown rice flour, brown sugar, and a bit of baking powder to keep it light. When you’re blending the butter into the dry ingredients, don’t get too caught in making all the crumbs a uniform size. Just use your (clean) fingers to break up the chunks of butter and rub it into the oats and flour. You definitely don’t want to have any lumps bigger than a large pea or cherry pit, but anything in and around that size will yield great textural contrast to your topping. And you could always argue that a crisp is a homey, rustic dessert. Not that anyone would (or should) judge you for the appearance your crisp. And I’m pretty sure they won’t have anything but nice things to say after they’ve had a taste of this crisp!

Once the oven does its work, the topping gets all crispy and lightly crunchy. It’s the perfect contrast to the soft and juicy fruit underneath. Perhaps the purists out there may consider this easy peach crisp more of a cobbler than a true crisp (or crumble if you’re from across the pond), but whatever you want to call it, this dessert is baked fruit at its best. Of course, it always helps to work with fruit that is local, in season, and at its peak of ripeness. Why else would you eat it otherwise? Who would want to eat a peach grown in a different country when you could eat one that’s grown and picked (almost) your own backyard? Okay, off the soapbox and back on to the crisp now. 

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You know, it may be hard to tell from the tone of this post, but I haven’t always been a big fan of cooked fruit. There’s just something about hot fruit that I’ve never been passionate about. Perhaps because, growing up in a Chinese house, I never had much of an up-close-and-personal relationship with cooked fruit. I actually distinctly remember having quite a fear aversion dislike the inability to understand the apple pie. Why would anyone take a perfectly crisp apple and make it hot and mushy?! I didn’t get it. It probably had something to do with my dislike for red delicious apples… There’s just something about the texture that just throws me off… My apologies to all the apple pie enthusiasts out there. 

Even now, I prefer my cooked/baked fruit desserts either room temperature or cold. Unless there’s a scoop of ice cream involved. Then I can make an exception. Come to think of it, this easy gluten-free peach crisp would be amazing with a scoop of vanilla or ginger ice cream (like the no-churn one I made!). Cold crisp is also great for breakfast! Yes, I have been known to eat cold crisp for breakfast. Give it a go! You could layer scoops of it with greek yogurt in a tall glass. A dessert-breakfast parfait of sorts! 

But seriously, this easy gluten-free peach crisp is every bit as good the day after, straight outta the fridge (straight outta the dish, spoon in hand, fridge door open).

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When I’m making baked/cooked fruit dishes, I try to cut the fruit as uniformly as I can. You will get a more even textural experience. All the pieces cook and soften at about the same rate if it is diced into roughly the same size, but don’t hurt yourself in the process.

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Given how juicy these peaches were, I added some potato starch as a thickener along with the lemon juice, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Many conventional recipes call for all purpose flour as the thicker, but to make this gluten-free I used potato starch. Other options could be cornstarch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot starch.

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After some lovin’ in the oven, the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle came out bubbly and fragrant. Add to that the fact that I baked the crisp in a beautiful fluted dish and you’ve got yourself one photo-op-ready dessert!

You’d better get your spoons ready because I’m sure that this easy gluten-free peach crisp won’t last long. I know my mine didn’t! In fact, I’m now certain I will have to go to the next Farmer’s Market to stock up on more peaches so that I can make another crisp! 

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Easy Gluten-Free Peach Crisp with Blueberries

serves 1-8 (depending on how much you want to share)

6 ripe peaches, preferably local

1/2 cup blueberries, washed (you can use fresh or frozen)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons potato starch

1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

juice of half a lemon

pinch of salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold

1 cup quick oats

1/3 cup brown rice flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Wash, pit, and dice the peaches and place into a large bowl. Then add the blueberries.

Add the brown sugar, potato starch, nutmeg, lemon juice, and salt. Mix gently to incorporate.

Pour the filling into an 11-inch round baking dish. You can use another baking vessel if you prefer.

In another bowl, whisk together the oats, brown rice flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt.

Cut the cold unsalted butter into cubes and scatter them on top of the oats mixture.

With your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a bowl full of yummy brown crumbs.

Sprinkle the topping evenly all over the filling.

Place the crisp in the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is dark golden brown.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack before serving… primarily to avoid burning your mouth. Enjoy as is or with à la mode.

Happy happy.

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