When You’re Not Up For Making Pie

Pie is a big favorite in our home but sometimes I feel like making a no-fuss fruit dessert that doesn’t require the artful handling of pastry crust. That’s when I make a crisp.

Crisps — or crunches as some cooks call them — were a mainstay when our six kids were growing up. They still are, especially if we have vegan guests. Yes, butter can be used in the oat flake topping — I don’t use flour — but the dessert is fine without it. I’ve also used a variety of sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, agave (now that we live in the Southwest), and natural sugar. 
I prefer whatever fruit is in season. Apple and pears in the fall and winter. Peaches, cherries, blueberries, and apricots in the summer. Other ingredients can be flexible as well. Dried shredded coconut and nuts can be added to the crisp portion, raisins and dried cranberries to the fruit. It’s hard to go wrong with a crisp.

Our son, Zack, is visiting for few days. So today I made a peach crisp with dried cranberries. We’ll top it with frozen yogurt.
Here’s how I made it.
Fruit filling: I washed and cut eight peaches into thick slices.  I placed the sliced peaches in a bowl, then mixed in 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries, 1/2 cup natural sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon each of dried ginger and cinnamon. I poured the fruit mixture into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
Then, I mixed 2 cups rolled oats with 1/2 cup good quality vegetable oil and 1/3 to 1/2 cup natural sugar, plus a pinch salt and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. (I would like to have added dried coconut but I  didn’t have any.)
I poured the oat topping over the fruit evenly, and then covered it with foil. The crisp baked for 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Then, I removed the foil and let the crisp bake 15 minutes more so the topping browns.