Living with multiple sclerosis, Learning to make the world accessible, Loving life with all of its challenges

The fruit crisp is that nostalgic summer dessert that whips up memories of barbecues and swim suits, sun kissed noses and shoulders, and late nights Yes, the fruit crisp is as sweet, warm, and delicious as those perfect summer nights, which makes it the perfect dessert as we move into the full heat of summer.

Even better than being nostalgic, this dessert is that just like slipping on a pair of flip flops- quick, easy, and doesn’t require a lot of work!


What is the fruit crisp?

The fruit crisp comes from the whole crisp, crumble, cobbler, family, but it’s distinct in its own right. The main difference in this family of desserts comes in the topping. The topping on the crisp consists of oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and flour. It’s the oats that differentiate the crisp from its close cousins in this family. The addition of the oats allow for the topping to crisp up nicely and give a hearty flavor to the sweet, gooey, fruit base. Hence, the crisp!

Fork in Fruit Crisp

What makes this the perfect summer dessert? Adaptability.

First, the crisp is chocked full of summer fruit, which makes it a perfect dessert. Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, the crisp part of this dessert family allows for adaptability. You know we’re all about adaptations over here, whether it’s in cooking or in life, so we love a dessert that allows us to make adjustments to taste.

While this is a baked dessert, it doesn’t require some of the specificity necessary for desserts with pie crusts, pastry dough, etc. The basic recipe for the crisp is pretty straight forward, the fruit and the topping. From there you can make adjustments based on what you like. You can change up the fruit in the middle, add more or less sugar depending on the amount of sweetness you like, add cinnamon or nutmeg for a special spice. Maybe you want the filling just a little gooier so you stir in a little more corn starch.

Incredibly Easy

Another reason to love this is that it’s insanely easy to put together but still tastes positively delicious. Really, the hardest part of the whole thing is cutting the fruit, so if you don’t want to do that, stick to berries!

Once the fruit is cut it’s a matter of mixing the topping, mixing the filling, layering it together, then baking. It’s seriously that simple.

The perfect fruit crisp is exactly what you want it to be. A gooey and sweet mixture of fruit topped with an oat topping, sweet, crunchy gives a warm summer evening the finishing touch to making memories.

What am I going to need?

The key to the fruit crisp is you’re going to want a lot of fruit – this recipe calls for six cups or right around a pound and a half. You don’t want to mince on the good stuff! If you can get fresh fruit that’s always our favorite choice, but frozen fruit will be fine if that’s what you’ve got. Do try to thaw it before cooking to avoid a bitter taste.

The rest of the ingredients are some pretty basic kitchen staples – flour, brown sugar, kosher salt, oats, butter, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and the one potentially exotic ingredient- freshly grated lemon, lime, or orange zest (simply put, grate a little rind off of one of these citrus fruits)

While the key to the topping is the oats, the key to what we simply call the “gooey goodness” is the cornstarch. The cornstarch is the gelling agent that pulls together the filling. A key piece to making sure your filling holds its consistency is to allow it to set as it cools. If the filling is stirred while cooling, this actually will thin the consistency – so let it set!

You’ll want a 7X7 baking pan. If you have them you can also use smaller oven skillets to create individual servings. This is more of a presentation piece and not necessary.

Questions and tips

Can I use frozen fruit? Yes, you definitely can. Keep in mind frozen fruit will release more water content when baking, making the filling a little more runny. You can add up to 25% additional thickener (corn starch in this case) to help make the filling a little more dense. Frozen berries can also become a little more bitter, so if you have a chance to defrost them prior to cooking this can help. For more information, take a look at Cooking with frozen berries.

Baking time can vary from stove to stove. Start with about 35 minutes and check. The topping should be starting to brown and the filling will begin to bubble when the cooking time is finished. If your oven runs hot, 35 minutes might work, but you may need to keep it in there for another ten minutes. You will smell the topping start to crisp up as things get close to ready!

Let it sit for a few minutes! This will come out with a lava hot center, so as tempting as it might be, let this sit for 10-15 minutes before diving in.

Let’s get baking!

OK – enough of the set up – let’s get this going. You know what ingredients to get, you know you’ve got a topping and a filling to make, and you know you’re going to be getting this thing in the oven. Your baking dishes are pretty darn simple for this one, too. Dre uses a food processor to mix the topping as it’s easier with one hand, but you can also use a bowl. Another bowl to mix your fruit and filling, and a baking dish. There you have it – let’s get started!

Please visit our Resources page if you are interested in finding some of the tools and gadgets Dre uses to make cooking accessible while combatting MS!

Fruit Crisp
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Perfect Summer Fruit Crisp

Servings: 4


The perfect fruit crisp is exactly what you want it to be. A gooey and sweet mixture of fruit topped with an oat topping, sweet, crunchy gives a warm summer evening the finishing touch to making memories.


Oat Topping

Gooey Fruit Center



  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

    Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, kosher salt, and oats in a bowl.

    Fruit Crisp Topping Mixture
    Topping can be flavored to taste. Cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices can be added based on personal preference.
  2. Melt 5 Tablespoons of the butter. Put the other tablespoon aside.

    The other tablespoon of butter will be used to coat your baking pan.
  3. Stir melted butter into topping mixture until thoroughly blended in.

    Set mixture aside.

    Crisp Topping

Gooey Fruit Filling

  1. Stir fruit selection in a bowl. 

    Fruit Mix
    You will want to cut larger fruits such as peaches and strawberries into bite size pieces. Smaller berries can be used whole. Frozen fruit can be used but will make the filling more watery. Fruit should be somewhat thawed to avoid a bitter taste.
  2. Pour corn starch, granulated sugar, citrus juice, fruit zest, and vanilla extract on top of fruit.  Stir together until evenly distributed.

    If mixture is watery from using frozen fruit, sprinkling in additional corn starch will help thicken. Fruit zest is freshly grated skin from a lemon, lime, or orange. If you do not have this, don't worry, it's not necessary. It does give a little bit of a zing to the fruit crisp, so this is a "to taste" ingredient!
  3. Use the left over tablespoon of butter from the topping to grease a 7X7 baking pan.

    Two smaller skillets can be utilized, as seen in the picture, to create individual size servings as well.
  4. Pour fruit mixture into the pan and spread evenly.

    Fruit In Pans
  5. Spread the crisp topping evenly across the fruit.

  6. Place in oven and set timer for 35 minutes.

    At 35 minutes check to see if topping is browned and center is bubbling. 

    Oven temperatures can vary. Check crisp after 35 minutes. Topping should be a golden brown and the center should be slightly bubbling. If the center or topping needs a little more time, return to oven, checking every five minutes.
  7. Remove from oven when finished. Let cool for at least ten minutes as center will be very hot!

    Serve up and enjoy!

    Fruit Crisp
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