There is the most amazing restaurant in Durham, NC that I used to make my parents take me to whenever they visited me in Chapel Hill throughout my college years there. Durham is just a short drive from Chapel Hill and many may ask why we made that trek even though there are so many exceptional restaurants in Chapel Hill. Well, my family is one to travel for good food, and Magnolia Grill really is that good. If you are ever in the area and happen to stop by there then you will immediately understand why we drove the extra 20 minutes for this fine food. And hey, I am not the only one that thinks this is one of the best restaurants in the area. Gourmet (rest in peace) named Magnolia Grill the 11th best restaurant (out of 50) in the country!
I have always loved to cook and so naturally, my mom will give me cookbooks for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays. Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill’s cookbook was one such gift. In fact, I was a lucky girl that Christmas. I got both the dessert cookbook, Sweet Stuff: Karen Barker’s American Desserts and Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from Magnolia Grill (Find recipes from the book here). Both books have been two of my favorite cookbooks for years. They are perfect for those Sundays when you want to cook all day and need a challenge (though not all of the recipes are challenging). It is Southern flavor at its finest, and Karen Barker really knows how to crank out a delicious dessert. I have been making her version of a crisp for some time now and love using it when peach season rolls around. Fun fruit fact: blackberries are extremely nutritious and have tons of fiber. Who knew?
This recipe is truly one to make your own. Barker suggests trying nectarines and raspberries, peaches and blueberries, pears and rhubarb, or apricots and cherries. Add dried fruit to the filling or substitute nuts for the oatmeal in the topping and spice your crisp accordingly. This is fantastic as is and also an amazing base for your imagination to run wild. What is your favorite fruit crisp combination?
Peach Blackberry Crisp
Adapted from Sweet Stuff: Karen Barker’s American Desserts
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
8 Tbsp. (4 oz.) cold butter, cut into pieces
Ingredients for Filling
2 lbs. peaches (about 6-7 medium peaches)
1 pint blackberries, cut in half
1/4 cup sugar
2.5 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. orange zest
Preparation For The Filling:
Preheat the oven to 375°. Lighlty butter a shallow 8-cup ovenproof baking dish. Peel and pit the peaches; cut each of them into 8 slices. You should have about 3-4 cups of peaches. In a mixing bowl, combine the peaches with the rest of the filling ingredients. Toss gently and set aside.
Preparation For The Topping:
Place the flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and oats in a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse several times to blend well. Add butter and pulse until the mixture has the texture of rough meal and clumps together when squeezed slightly. If not using immediately, chill in the refrigerator. The crumble topping can be made 3 days in advance. Bring to room temperature before using.
Gently squeeze handfuls of the prepared crumble topping together and evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake at 375° for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until the crumble topping is lightly browned, the fruit is tender, and the fruit juices are bubbling. Serve warm.
In my opinion, all warm fruit desserts should be served with a good quality vanilla ice cream. This would also be delicious with peach ice cream, or as Karen Barker suggests, cream cheese blackberry swirl ice cream. Yum.