When I was young, my family had two rows of raspberry bushes growing behind our house. My mother would send us children outside on summer mornings, laden with pint baskets, and we would extract the juicy berries from between the snaggy, stickery vines, filling our little green baskets, the juice staining our hands.
I remember the sweet smell of the raspberries in the sun, the feel of the warm earth on my toes, the sound of bees, the sweat starting to trickle between my shoulder blades. But most of all, I remember the jolt that a tart berry would send to my brain when I placed one on my tongue, a spreading warmth that would make my mouth feel more alive than it ever had with any other food. It’s no wonder raspberries are still my favorite fruit, with such a strong memory attached to them.
I do not have raspberry bushes here, and fresh raspberries are almost always too expensive in the store, reserved for special occasions, but I can still buy them frozen, and do, frequently. A few weeks ago, the discount grocery store had a bunch of frozen packs of raspberries for a wonderfully low price, and I stocked up. A few weeks ago, I made my raspberry crisp.
Several years ago, I was tired of crisps that were too cakey, or didn’t have enough topping, were too sweet or not sweet enough. This is my special recipe for crisp that I worked out with some experimentation. The topping is crumbly but still chewy, pleasantly sweet, the oats add a great texture, and it melts just a little during baking to make a delicious gooey layer with the fruit underneath. But the true star of this show is the raspberries, of course; their zing is the perfect balance to the sweet topping.
Raspberry Crisp Recipe
serves nine to sixteen, depending on how you cut it
- 12 ounces of raspberries, frozen
- 1/2 cup margarine or butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
optional: unbleached natural granulated sugar to sweeten the raspberries
Before you start, you will need to thaw your raspberries before making the crisp, so be sure to allow the time to do so.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
2. Spread the raspberries evenly over an 8-inch square glass or Pyrex baking dish. Optional: If raspberries are too tart for you, add some granulated sugar to taste. I love them tart (it is part of their character after all), but I know a lot of people can’t stand sour or tart flavors, so do whatever suits you.
3. In separate mixing bowl, melt the margarine (or butter), then mix in the vanilla extract.
4. Mix in the brown sugar, until smooth, creaming it.
5. Mix in the rolled oats.
6. Slowly mix in the all-purpose flour, a little at a time. The mixture will start to get crumbly, and that is okay, just keep mixing in the flour as best you can.
7. Once it is well blended, crumble the mixture over the raspberries in the pan. You want the topping to fall fairly evenly over the berries, but gaps here and there are perfectly fine.
8. Once the oven is preheated, bake for 25 minutes or until the topping is crispy and slightly browned, and the berries are bubbling.
9. Serve. May be enjoyed with vanilla ice cream, ice cream substitute, or whipped cream.