This has been my go-to berry crisp for years, even before I originally published this back in 2011. It is THE best – I promise! Sadly, few people knew it, since it had only small, sad, early blogging photos. It’s now updated with better photos so you can pin away to keep this recipe – and believe me, you’ll want to.
I’ve loved berry crisp for as long as I can remember. Sweet and sour with a yummy crunchy topping. Oh, and with a bit of vanilla ice cream slowly melting on it- heavenly.
What I’ve never loved about it is serving it- there seems to be no way around the blob that ends up in the bowl, and sometimes the crispy topping ends up underneath the berries making it soggy (horrors!). “Berry mush” just doesn’t sound quite as good as “berry crisp” does it? And if there are leftovers? Ugh. Leftover berry crisp is not crisp and there’s no amount of reheating that’s going to bring it back to it’s initial glory.
Enter the individual ramekin – what a revelation the first time I made crisp in these beauties! Perfectly crisp, never too much juice covering all the good topping, and perfectly sized for each person resulting in NO leftovers. And when placed on a small plate, they turn humble berry crisp into something almost elegant to serve. And a lot easier than a glob of stuff on a plate.
The other wonderful thing about making them individually (as if I haven’t gone on and on about it already…) is that it is easy to make just the amount you need, even if that’s only two or three- or even just one.
You can use fresh or frozen the berries (if using frozen, no need to defrost- just pile ’em in), tossing them with a some flour, adding a bit of brown sugar or honey if your berries are sour.
I love using a food processor to combine the topping – it’s so easy and it’s the trick for getting the wonderful ‘big crumb’ topping that doesn’t melt into the berries while baking. Process until the dough forms a clump and then divide the big pieces on the tops of the berries, squeezing any smaller particles into clumps and pressing down slightly. Sprinkling small pieces will just make them dissolve into the berry juice, resulting in a soggy topping.
Oh my. Yes, yes- no melted, soggy topping here!
Make ahead tip: I often make these hours before I want to serve them and keep them in the refrigerator, placing them in the oven to cook while we are eating dinner. They come out bubbling and ready for that scoop of ice cream.
- 4 1-cup sized ramekins (adjust recipe for smaller or larger sizes)*
- 1 to 1-1/2 lb. berries (any type), frozen or fresh
- ⅓ c. brown sugar (+ more to mix with berries, if desired)**
- ⅔ c. + 2 Tb. whole wheat pastry flour, divided (see note for gluten-free option)
- ⅔ c. whole rolled oats
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ c. butter, chilled and cut into 8 tablespoons
- Heat oven to 375 degrees for baking immediately (if baking later,*** make sure oven is preheated before baking).
- Mix the berries (no need to thaw if frozen) with 2 Tb. flour and a bit of sugar or honey, if desired. Divide evenly between the ramekins.
- Place remaining flour, oats, ⅓ c. brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter pieces in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture starts holding together.
- Break off "pieces" of the topping and evenly cover the berries in the ramekins, pressing down as needed, but keeping most of the topping in clumps (don't break up and sprinkle little pieces).
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (adding about 5 minutes if starting with frozen berries), until the edges are bubbling and the topping is browned.
- Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.
**If using sour berries, you can add a tablespoon of brown sugar or honey before tossing with the flour.
***To Make Ahead: Prepare crisp up to 5 hours before serving and store in refrigerator. Preheat oven, and then place in the oven 10 minutes or so before you sit down to eat dinner - the crisp will be ready to serve at the end of the meal, still nice and warm (wait about 10 minutes before serving to cool a bit).
GLUTEN FREE OPTION: Make this gluten free by tossing the berries with cornstarch or potato starch instead of flour and replacing whole wheat flour with oat flour in the topping.
Here’s a pin for your favorite dessert board:
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