August 26, 2011

Blackberry and Nectarine Crisp

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, while on my morning walk, I stumbled upon a sea of blackberries, and I know how much you love blackberries.

Despite the many dangers - leg-mangling brambles, the tired man who had built himself a home amongst the bramble, and that bee who just wouldn't leave me alone - I waded in and picked you some berries.

My attempt to forage for blackberries was not well thought out.

I did not bring a machete, gloves, or a pail. I brought my dog. My dog brought some doggie bags. I filled one of his bags with blackberries. On my way home, people were looking at me strangely. I later realized that it looked like I was carrying one giant dog poop.  True story.

Do you remember that time I got attacked by an army of red ants? I was too busy picking you blackberries to notice that I was standing on an ant farm.  I looked crazy when I ripped off my pants and shirt, and started slapping myself like a maniac trying to get those bitey ants off me.

Funny, not a single person stopped to ask if I was ok.

In the end, I think I ended up making you a blackberry cheesecake. I remember it was good. I remember you wanted 10 more. Probably worth battling the red ant colony, don't you think?

The things I do for you.

I remember you once telling me that blackberries and nectarines should date. That they would make the perfect match. Aesthetically speaking, they are one smoking couple.

Luckily, I just so happened to have some good looking nectarines in my fridge. Nectarines that were perfectly acceptable to eat on their own, but also perfectly acceptable to cover with sugar, and flour, and butter.

I hooked the nectarines up with the blackberries, and something magical happened. A color, texture, and flavor explosion.

I've told you that there were no blackberries where I grew up.

We had blueberries, raspberries and strawberries - although even those were pretty hard to find where I lived.

It was pretty special to discover a wild raspberry or strawberry in the woods. I remember finding my first strawberry and thinking I was so lucky. Of course, I had to share this tiny strawberry with my little sister. I took half and gave her the other, and it was a special moment. A memory worth cherishing.

I found these gorgeous ripe beautiful blackberries and felt lucky. I felt lucky to live in such a wonderful place that overflows into a sea of blackberries every summer.

Of course, I wanted to share these blackberries with you.

I knew they wouldn't last too long, and I couldn't possibly eat them all, so I made you a crisp.

I paired blackberries with nectarines, and butter, and sugar, and made you a sweet treat.

A perfect special summer treat.

Yours truly,


[Print Recipe]

(yields 1 - 9" round pie plate)

butter for greasing the pan
2 cups nectarines (approximately 6 -7), peeled and cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups blackberries
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted cold butter, cubed


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Butter a 9 or 10 inch pie pan or a 9 inch square baking dish.

3. Peel the nectarines using a vegetable peeler or a small paring knife. Cut the flesh away from the pit, and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In a bowl, combine the nectarines with the granulated sugar and vanilla. Pour the nectarines into the pie plate and then top with the blackberries.

4. In a food processor, pulse 1 - 2 times, flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. 

5. Chop the butter into tiny cubes and then add to the flour mixture. Pulse 5 - 10 times, just enough to get the butter evenly distributed. The mixture should be crumbly with small clumps.

6. Evenly spread the topping over the fruit. Place the crisp in the oven, on the middle rack, and bake for 45 minutes. The crisp should start to bubble when done. Let cool on a wire wrack. Serve with a dollop of whip cream or vanilla ice cream. 


  1. The dog poop story cracked me up! I just adore your recipes and pictures and especially your writing style! It's brilliant!

  2. Haha! Your posts always crack me up. This is hilarious. I'm always amazed at how much trouble I can get into when I pick dewberries. They're not friendly little guys. This recipe looks delicious too. And gorgeous shots as always. So bright and clean!

  3. Wendy - Thanks so much for the compliments. I'm glad you like.

  4. Russell - dewberries you say. I don't think I've ever seen a wild dewberry!.