Can warm fruit bubbling under a crunchy, buttery topping be really dairy-free and made just for two? When it's a Mini Skillet Mixed Berry Crisp…yes!
It's a warm evening in August, and I want dessert.
Not just any dessert, mind you. I want the dessert that speaks to me of summer and all the summer berries that are ripe just now...a Mixed Berry Cobbler.
Except, I don't want to get out the mixer to cream together sugar and butter (or a butter substitute) for a cookie dough topping. Nor do I want to grate frozen butter for a sweet biscuit topping (like shortcake).
I want the laziest Mixed Berry Cobbler there is...a Mixed Berry Crisp.
Crisps are easier than Cobblers
So you might be asking what's the difference between a fruit crisp and a fruit cobbler?
According to Bon Appetit, cobblers have been around since the mid-19th century. The started out as a single crust fruit pie, then a double crust fruit pie.
Cobblers finally evolved into the dessert we know today as having either a shortcake biscuit topping or a cake batter topping. My sugar cookie dough topping is a relatively recent addition to the cobbler pantheon.
A fruit crisp (aka fruit crumble) has the same cooked fruit at the bottom, but the topping is made of flour, sugar, and butter rubbed together. They started appearing in the US around the early 20th century.
So for a crisp, cool or room temperature butter will do. And to make it dairy-free, a butter substitute, like Earth Balance Buttery Spread, will do.
You can customize the topping with brown sugar, or adding rolled oats or sliced nuts. Or not.
Use the fruit you have
A Mixed Berry Crisp should really be called Any-Fruit-You-Want Crisp, because the fruit you use is entirely customizable to what you have on hand.
Want a Blueberry Crisp? Cherry Crisp? Peach or Apple Crisp? Go for it!
Speaking of Peach Crisp or Apple Crisp, I have directions for those variations in the recipe notes below. Plus, there's Peach Bourbon Crisp for a boozy version.
You know I'd go there, right?
Crisps are faster than Cobblers
A Mixed Berry Crisp recipe is so fast, the longest part will be waiting for the oven to heat.
Oh wait, I'm actually making a Mini Skillet Mixed Berry Crisp using a 6 1/2-inch cast iron skillet, like I did for my Mini Skillet Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. Since it bakes in the toaster oven, the kitchen doesn't get warm. Score!
Just toss together the fruit with the sugar. Whisk the orange juice with the cornstarch, then toss that in with the fruit and put the whole thing in the skillet.
If you're using a firmer fruit (like peach or apple), you might want to cook the fruit a bit to soften it up. The instructions are in the Recipe Notes.
Mix the brown sugar in with flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt, then rub in the butter. Toss in the rolled oats and almonds, and the topping is done.
Just crumble the topping onto the fruit and you're ready for the oven!
My toaster oven tends to run hot, so I turned down the heat just a bit to prevent the nuts from overbrowning. Your timing and temperature may vary.
Topping it off
Whether you're making a cobbler, crisp, or crumble, this warmed fruit dessert practically begs for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Use homemade vanilla ice cream or store bought, regular or dairy-free. The choice is yours.
With no eggs, a dairy-free butter substitute, and an appropriate ice cream, Mixed Berry Crisp can be a vegan dessert!
Enjoying the taste of summer (or fall)
This is a recipe for Mixed Berry Crisp for two. However, my husband doesn’t like warm fruit desserts (crazy, right?!?). And I wanted one.
So I'm not going to confirm nor deny that I ate the whole thing myself.
One word of warning...if you make this crisp with blueberries, your smile can turn blue. Literally. I brush my teeth after eating it, but it's well worth it!
You can make the crisp beforehand and reheat it later (the topping won't be as crisp though). For a larger crowd, double the recipe and use a 10-1/4 inch cast iron skillet or a 9- x 9-inch baking pan.
So if you want a fast, satisfying dessert for two that's made for long summer evenings, whip up a quick and easy Mini Skillet Mixed Berry Crisp. Add a scoop of ice cream to melt on top and you're set.
It's nice to share.
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
There are many ways to enjoy a treat if you're on a special diet. Here are some ideas that are all dairy-free. Have a go!
Mini Skillet Mixed Berry Crisp (Dairy-free)
For the filling
- 1 cup blueberries, and blackberries, see Recipe Notes (5½ oz, 156g)
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, (½ oz, 15g)
- ¼ cup orange juice, (2 oz, 56g)
- 1 tsp cornstarch, (2g)
For the topping
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, (½ oz, 15g)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar, packed (½ oz, 15g)
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread, or unsalted butter, slightly softened (¾ oz, 22g)
- 2 Tbsp rolled oats, (½ oz, 15g)
- 2 Tbsp almonds, sliced, optional, see Recipe Notes (½ oz, 15g)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. With a 6½-inch skillet, you can use the toaster oven.
- In a medium bowl, toss the berries with the granulated sugar. In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice and cornstarch until smooth, then add to the berries and stir gently. Pour the berry mixture into the 6½-inch skillet. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Rub in the Earth Balance Butter Spread with a fork until the mixture is clumpy. Toss in the rolled oats and almonds, gently mixing them in with your hands. Crumble the topping onto the berry mixture.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the topping in browned and fruit is bubbling. Reduce heat to 300°F if the topping is browning too fast.
- Let the crisp cool 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream, if desired.
- Peach Crisp: Replace berries with 1 cup fresh peaches., chopped into 1/2-inch cubes. If the peaches are hard, you can cook them first. Whisk together the orange juice and cornstarch. Melt 1 Tbsp of Earth’s Balance (or butter) in the cast iron skillet. Sauté the peaches until slightly softened. Add the sugar and orange juice mixture and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced. For the topping, add 1/2 tsp cinnamon with the flour if desired. Top with the topping and bake as directed.
- Peach-Bourbon Crisp: make the Peach Crisp, replacing 2 Tbsp of the orange juice with bourbon.
- Apple Crisp or Apple-Bourbon Crisp: Replace the peaches above with chopped, peeled apples.