The Van Wycks borrowed this recipe from family friend Ben Hussman, who got it from her housekeeper and favorite Southern cook, Mable Sanders. Although Sanders often used a combination of butter and vegetable shortening in her pastry, she referred to herself as a "butter cook" to signify her fondness for classic, old-style Southern recipes.
It’s not easy to make a healthy crisp: The topping always has lots of butter and sugar. John Currence makes his streusel with a mix of oats, whole wheat flour and brown sugar and a little butter-oil blend to keep it crumbly.
Rollie Wesen’s secret for making a crisp topping is to sprinkle it lightly over the fruit in a thick, even layer without packing the crumbs together. He is super-generous with the topping because he loves how it complements the tangy filling.
To vary the filling here, use 4 pounds of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines and apricots) cut into large wedges; or 4 pounds of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries); or 6 pints of blueberries plus 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
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Peaches and Plums with Sesame Crumble
When making fruit crumbles, pastry chefs prepare the components separately, then bake them together quickly so the topping stays crispy. F&W’s Grace Parisi follows that example.
Unlike most people who make cobblers, Bobby Flay opts to bake the biscuits separately from the fruit so the undersides cook fully; then, just before serving, he sets the biscuits on the fruit and bakes them for a few more minutes, so they can soak up some of the juices without getting soggy.
To vary the filling here, use 4 pounds of berries (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries); or 4 pounds of plums, cut into 1-inch cubes; or 6 pints of blueberries plus 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
Tropical Fruit Cobbler with Coconut Macaroon Topping
Because they don’t contain leavening (or dairy, which is prohibited at meat-based meals), coconut macaroon cookies are commonly served at seders. Adam Perry Lang wanted to play on the idea of a macaroon in this clever dessert, so he turned the cookie into a fluffy meringue with toasted coconut and ground almonds, which he then uses to top a juicy mixture of pineapple and mango.
We like to serve this homey dessert warm with vanilla ice cream. If you prefer it straight, reduce the amount of ground cloves to one-eighth teaspoon, or the flavor may be overwhelming. Be sure your baking dish is at least two inches deep so the sweet juices don’t bubble over the edge and burn onto your oven floor. If the crisp comes to the top of the dish, put a baking sheet under it.
In the fall, James Boyce picks the apples and pears for this cinnamon-spiced crisp right behind the restaurant. With Kentucky bourbon country only five hours north, he occasionally swaps out the Cognac here for bourbon.
The extra-crunchy topping on this easy dessert contains heart-healthy oats and nuts rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, and the apple-and-blackberry filling contains powerful antioxidants. In summer, Andrew Murray substitutes huckleberries, which he picks with his kids during their family vacations in Idaho.