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coming in cool

Recipe: strawberry crisp

Summer arrives even if the weather isn’t letting on. Sure, it has stopped snowing, but the temperatures have remained relatively cool and aspens have only recently begun sporting that gorgeous peridot-green. Late-onset summer isn’t such a bad thing in my mind because I dread oppressive heat. But what if winter comes early? What if summer is only two weeks long this year? Sometimes you need to let go of what you can’t control and appreciate what you currently have.


the greening of the forests

getting the pups out for hikes and runs and playtime

the snow is hanging on in the alpine



It’s been an abnormal year with an extremely productive (snow-wise) winter and spring, which had us constantly second-guessing our morel spots. Are we early? Is there such a thing as too much moisture? Did we miss it? Is it a bust or will we see a boom season? Is it so late that the heat will clobber everything? Dutifully, devotedly, we checked, made observations, took notes, discussed. Foraging isn’t about free food (because free is never free, folks). For me, it’s a science and an art. And our diligence has paid off.

little treasure

erin and banjo found a big one



Aside from countless hours spent scrutinizing shadows, dead leaves, and every inch of forest floor for mushrooms, I’m also trying not to neglect my own fitness. Foraging morels is not exercise, it’s prolonged eye-strain. Jeremy and I squeeze trail runs in between hiking and fetch sessions with the pups. Ultimately the goal is to make everyone tired. Seems to be working!

The good news is that Neva has been gradually sticking up for herself when Yuki bullies her, which actually makes their play sessions far more equal and fun for both of them. Their dynamic is shifting and they are getting along better each day. I wasn’t sure we’d ever get here, but here we are. It’s wonderful.


cuddle buddies: tired dogs are good dogs



Strawberries are abundant once again in markets and I start thinking of vodka infusions, jams, syrups, pastries, ice creams, and straight up fresh, juicy berries. But what about something quick and irresistible and great for sharing at parties? Fruit crisps make great, easy desserts to serve guests or to bring to potlucks. I think of them as lazy pies with fiber. But I rarely ever see strawberry crisps – it’s usually peach, apple, blueberry, pear.

filling: strawberries, vanilla, cornstarch, sugar

topping: rolled oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, sugar



Honestly, peach crisps used to be my favorite. Then I made huckleberry crisps and nearly lost my mind (so good, but so damn hard to pick enough hucks). Now that I’ve tried a strawberry crisp, I think it may tie with the huckleberries for flavor, but win for ease of acquisition. Even mediocre strawberries do pretty well baked up as a crisp, but do try to use ripe, flavorful berries if possible.

toss the quartered strawberries with sugar

let macerate for a few minutes

toss with vanilla extract and cornstarch

pour into a buttered pan



See how easy that was? You’re halfway there! I have no patience for fussy recipes in summer because it’s (nominally) hot, which makes me cranky. Summer is not intended for extended periods of time spent on social media, in the kitchen, or blogging. I have decided this. It has already made me a nicer person.

combine the dry topping ingredients

pour in the melted butter

mix into coarse crumbles

spread over the strawberries

bake until fruit is bubbly



Strawberry crisp might just be your biggest ROI this time of year. It takes about 15 minutes to prep and assemble if you’re even moderately competent with a knife. The oven does the rest of the work in another 40 minutes while you get yourself ready for the neighborhood picnic or that barbecue you’re hosting. But just wait until you taste it, because it is really effing addictive. It’s so fruity delicious I shook my fist at the blogosphere for not raving about it more and bringing it to my attention sooner. A big single crisp is the least amount of work, but the individual crisps will avoid folks coming to blows when reaching for seconds.

strawberry crisp: omg, make this right now

are you drooling? i am drooling



Strawberry Crisp
[print recipe]
slightly modified from Belle of the Kitchen

filling
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsps cornstarch

topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats (aka rolled oats)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a deep 9-inch pie dish or an 8×8-inch baking dish. Mix the strawberries and sugar together and let macerate for 10 minutes. Toss with the vanilla extract and cornstarch until evenly coated. Pour the strawberries into the baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugars, salt, and cinnamon until blended. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Sprinkle the topping over the strawberries. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is a deep golden color. Let cool to warm or room temperature. Serves 8.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

strawberry brown butter tarts strawberry cinnamon rolls strawberry hand pies strawberry vanilla shortbread cookies

6 nibbles at “coming in cool”

  1. Mary Karen Euler says:

    YUM! I think even I…the non-baker…might be able to make this. Nice to see you & the family in greenery. I’m also inspired to make the trip up the mtn to look for morels?!

  2. Kristin says:

    Ooh, ooh…I have my mom visiting and just found out my step-brother is in town for work, so guess what I am going to make tonight?? Thanks! I adore crisps, but never make them because my weirdo children only want their fruit raw. I’m glad Neva is sticking up for herself and that getting Yuki was such a great thing for all of you. And I love your comment about free not being free. Our daughter still talks about our “free” cat, even though I explain that getting a stray means you pay for ALL of the shots, spaying, etc.

  3. Kristin says:

    Made it, and it is delicious!! I will be having some with yogurt for breakfast! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Emmarie Burger says:

    I have a lot of strawberries in the freezer–the recipe calls for fresh, thoughts on using thawed & drained frozen ones?

  5. jenyu says:

    MK – Ah, I think the morel season may be over. It’s been a very strange season.

    Kristin – So glad you enjoyed it! It’s so easy and SO good!

    Emmarie – I bet frozen would work fine. I use frozen blueberries and huckleberries all the time. Maybe try a small one first?

  6. angelitacarmelita says:

    I love recipes like this one. Good simple (seasonal) fruit with a crunchy topping. What’s not to love! I have done this a dozen times with peaches or blackberries, but have never even thought about using strawberries… I wish I thought of this when the rhubarb was still fresh at the market… there’s still time for strawberries now, and I think this will do! Thanks Jen!

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