Summertime Berry Crisp
Everyone has their favorite sweet treat, and mine is NOT cake. Those layers of rich, moist cake separated by a creamy, indulgent frosting and/or a sweet filling and then beautifully decorated… do nothing for me. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a delicious dessert as much as anyone, but when it comes to cake, meh, no thanks. This makes me a bit of a party pooper during birthday celebrations when I prefer to say ‘no, thank you’ when offered a slice of cake. And a bit of a burden when my birthday comes around every July and my family wants to make me a cake. Now, after 20+ years, my family has accepted that mom doesn’t want a birthday cake. But determined to stick to the tradition of putting candles in some sweet dessert for my special day, they have finally accepted my preference and true enjoyment to celebrate with a birthday fruit crisp!
Fortunately for me, and everyone who celebrates with me, July is the perfect month to make a delicious fruit dessert. Cherries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and plums are all at their sweetest right now. And I can’t think of anything more wonderfully beautiful and delicious than one or more of these amazing fruits piled in a baking dish and topped with a cinnamon-y oat and nut crumble. Yum.
My love for a fruit crisp is 100% because of the flavor. However, it doesn’t hurt that berries and other summer fruits are some of the healthiest foods on earth. Berries are loaded with antioxidants that protect your cells and lower your risk for many diseases. They are also high in fiber and contain several different vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and manganese.
Berries and cherries have strong anti-inflammatory properties and along with adopting a healthy lifestyle, consuming berries and cherries is a delicious way to combat the state of heightened, chronic stress that most of us live in and can negatively impact our health. In fact, chronic stress and inflammation can cause several diseases and chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Cherries are a natural, rare food source of serotonin, the happy chemical in our brain that helps stabilize mood. And not only can they boost your mood, but cherries also contain a significant amount of melatonin, and eating cherries each day can aid in a good night's sleep.
These fruits may be small, but their healing powers are mighty. They are a delicious snack, a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth, and a great way to celebrate a birthday. (Remember, back in December when I shared some simple habits to do every day to make you feel better? Eating a serving of berries was #2 on my list!)
Here’s my recipe for my favorite Berry Crisp. While it’s especially delicious when the fruit is fresh this time of year, I actually make it year-round using frozen fruit. Make it this week and join in my birthday celebration.
Like most of my favorite recipes, this crisp is very flexible and can easily be made gluten and/or nut-free. Because I eat plant-based, this recipe is dairy-free. It is easy to make, naturally sweetened, comforting, makes your home smell amazing, and is absolutely delicious. Happy birthday to me! 😊
Debra’s Birthday Berry Crisp
6-7 cups mixed summer berries/fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches)
2 tablespoons almond flour/meal (can use arrowroot starch, cornstarch, or flour instead)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup almond flour/meal (can use white whole wheat flour instead)
1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup roughly chopped nuts (can use walnuts, pecans, almonds, or combination)
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons coconut oil (or (vegan) butter)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the mixed berries in a large bowl. Add the almond flour and lemon juice. Toss to coat all of the berries and pour into a baking dish. Any shape will work, just make sure it’s deep enough to hold all the berries and the crumble topping.
For the crumble topping, combine the almond flour, rolled oats, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour the maple syrup and coconut oil over the dry ingredients and mix until they are completely moistened.
Scoop the crumble topping evenly over the berries.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crisp is bubbling, and the crumble is golden brown on top. Tent with foil if the crumble topping starts to brown too quickly.
Serve warm or let cool before serving. Keep any leftovers stored in the refrigerator.