Here we are, guys—the last Friday in August. Keeping with the spirit of my other posts this week, we’re going to celebrate and hang onto the gloriousness of summer, ‘cause to sit around and mope about the end of it all would be a big mistake. Just like it would be a huge mistake to miss this seriously amazing and easy Blueberry + Peach Crisp with Graham Cracker Topping straight from the pages of our famous Fridays honoree of the week, Mastering My Mistakes In The Kitchen by Dana Cowin (notice my seamless transition there). If you’re looking for a true crowd pleaser for any Labor Day celebrations, I think your search is over!
Before we get to talking about this delightful-way-to-end-a-meal crisp, I want to rave about Mastering My Mistakes a bit. My mistake was not getting my hands on this book earlier, lol! It came out in 2014 and somehow totally escaped my radar 😂😂.Anyhoo, it’s written by Dana Cowin, former editor-in-chief of Food & Wine, who surprisingly is not the most accomplished chef, though it’s her dream to be. Though she’s obviously had a ton of exposure to food, she’s self-taught just like a lot of the rest of us, who learn by trial and error. In her case, though, she has legendary chefs (65 in total) like Daniel Boulud and Nancy Silverton not only providing her with their foolproof recipes, but also revealing to her their inside tips, advice and techniques that set them apart and make them the amazing cooks that they are.
And happily, Dana passes along their recipes and advice to us so we can learn from their kitchen flubs and drink in (or eat) all of their combined wisdom. Plus, because the book is full of so many different chef’s recipes there’s a really eclectic mix of more involved, newish dishes like Coriander and Cumin-Crusted Duck Breasts and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caper-Raisin Sauce to the more basic and classic things like Grilled Cheese and Gas Station Fried Rice. I’m really loving cooking my way through this book. I’ve already made the Chicken Stir-Fry (will definitely share with you soon), the Milk and Dark Chocolate Cookies (YUM!!!!), the Buttermilk Biscuits and Cacio e Pepe Frittata and all were yummy and accompanied by helpful professional tips.
For example, this Blueberry Peach Crisp we’re talking about today, comes with advice from star baker Cheryl Day of Back In the Day Bakery (one of my favs—she’s already well represented here on the site, with these Plum Tartlets, Strawberry Custard Pie, Blackberry Lime Fizz, Little Plum Custards, Fluffy Buttermilk Dinner Rolls and Pecan Sandies—I guarantee that you’ll love ‘em all!, definitely try them when you have a chance)
In addition, to making sure you have a enough fruit to begin with because fruit really shrinks down when you bake it, Cheryl advises adding a couple of nectarines to balance out the sweetness of the peaches and berries. It’s a genius idea because the filling has just the right balance of tart and sweet—totally hits the bliss point!
Then Dana adds her own genius by having you crush up graham crackers (so clever) along with the oats and other ingredients for the topping so you get loads and loads of crunchy, flavorful crumble with every bite. It’s addictively delicious!
Plus, it’s a terrific party dessert because you can make this earlier in the day and simply reheat it before you’re ready to serve. Easy-peasy and done!
However, you do it, you can’t go wrong. Your only “mistake” would be to not make this asap while summer fruit is still around! I’ll be shutting up shop around here for a few days as we take our daughter off to college (fingers crossed we can fit everything into the car and don’t kill each other in the process!!). I’ll be back next week with more food and fun as we unofficially head into the new season together. Have a delicious and safe holiday weekend!xoxo
Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen’s Blueberry + Peach Crisp with Graham Cracker Topping-Famous Fridays
Makes at least 10 servings
Prep Time: About 30 minutes; Bake Time: About 1 hour
For the filling
2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries (I actually used unthawed ones I had frozen after an over zealous berrypicking experience earlier this summer)
8 large peaches, halved, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges (no need to peel)
2 nectarines, halved, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges (no need to peel)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the crumble
10 graham crackers, crushed into coarse crumbs (about 2 cups)—place them in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin or cup till you get large and small crumbs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place a 9x13-inch glass baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
2. Place all the fruit in a large bowl and toss well with the brown sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice so that everything is coated. Scrape out into the baking dish and set aside.
3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the graham crackers, oats, brown sugar, and salt. Then use your fingers to work in the butter to get coarse crumbs. Scatter the crumble evenly across the fruit in the dish.
4. Bake for about 1 hour. I would check at the 30 minute mark—if it seems like the topping is getting too dark too quickly, cover it loosely with a piece of silver foil. That’s what I did. Crisp is done when fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. The original recipe says to wait 30 minutes before serving but of course, we couldn’t. It’s probably neater that way, but we’re not about looks with this one—it’s kinda messy no matter what, so I say go for it. What you can do is make this much earlier in the day and then reheat in a low oven. And of course leftovers are amazing eaten cold or microwaved for a minute or so.
Note: Recipe adapted from Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen by Dana Cowin. I didn’t but would definitely cut the salt down or maybe even out of the topping—it was too salty with the original 1 teaspoon salt. I’ve cut it in half in the above recipe—that’s what I’m going to try the next time I make this. Also, I changed some of the cooking techniques so you could learn from my mistakes too!