After the frenzy of spring planting we look forward to being able to relax occasionally with friends.  The perfect addition to any lazy summer afternoon is a dessert made with some of the season’s finest blackberries.

Fresh blackberries are summer's perfect fruit!

Bursting with sweet fruit, with subtle flavors of fresh lemon, and vanilla, this rustic dessert is easy to make, without falling short on flavor. It’s perfect to serve to a crowd after a summer barbecue, with a velvety and luscious vanilla ice cream. 

Yield: 12 Servings

For the Filling:

1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 lbs Apples (Gala or Cox’s preferred), peeled, cored, and cubed
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
1 Whole Vanilla Bean*
1/2 Tsp Fresh Grated Nutmeg
18 oz. Fresh Blackberries
1/3 Cup Flour

For the Crisp Topping:

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal (NOT instant)
1/2 lb Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350F

Lightly butter a 9 inch x 13 inch x 2 inch baking dish.

Prepare the Filling:

Peel, core and cut the apples into large chunks.  Hold the apple pieces in a bowl of cold water, with a little lemon juice to prevent browning, but drain before cooking.

Gala Apples

Melt the butter and sugar together in a large saucepan, or small stock pot.

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds.  Once the butter and sugar have melted, drain and add the apples, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and nutmeg.

Cut the apples into large chunks so they retain some texture after cooking

Cook the apples on low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on, then add the blackberries, and 1/3 cup of flour, and cook for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally.

Pour the apple and blackberry mixture into the prepared baking dish, and allow to cool slightly while preparing the topping.

Prepare the Crisp Topping:

Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.**  Mix on low speed for approximately 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles.  Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, ensuring the fruit is covered completely.

Be sure to sprinkle the topping all the way to the edges of the pan

Place the dish on a sheet baking pan to catch any juice that bubbles over, and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

The filling will darken to a rich blackberry color as it bakes

The crisp top should be golden brown, and the juices from the fruit just starting to bubble along the edges.

The juices from the fruit should bubble around the edges of the golden crust

If your oven bakes unevenly, be sure to rotate the pan once half way through baking.

Serve warm, with your favorite vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

Blackberry and Apple Crisp, with Vanilla Ice Cream


*Don’t discard your vanilla beans!  Even after they’ve been scraped, they still have a lot of flavor left.  After the beans are scraped, you can make your own vanilla sugar by placing the split beans into 2 cups of granulated sugar.  Place the sugar into an airtight jar, and let it sit for 2 weeks before using.  It’s perfect for using in Bread Pudding with Brandied Figs

** If not using an electric mixer, rub the butter and flour together in a large bowl using only your fingertips, so as not to melt the butter, until the mixture forms very coarse crumbles.  Then stir in the sugar, salt, and oatmeal.