Lots of gluten free and vegan baking can be a bit finicky, since you have to consider moisture, binding, leavening, structure and stability. A crisp on the other hand is super easy to make and is almost foolproof. It includes a fruit base and an oat based crumble topping. This Simple Peach Crisp made with juicy peaches and a delicious crumbly oat topping is the perfect summer dessert.
So, what is a crisp?
A crisp is a fruit dessert with a crumbly topping that traditionally contains oats, flour, butter and sugar and is baked until tender and crisp on top, hence the name.
Crisp, crumble or cobbler?
Crisps and crumbles are almost the same dessert. They both have a delicious streusel topping, that crumbly mixture of flour, fat and sugar, but a crisp traditionally contains oats and sometimes nuts, whereas a crumble does not contain oats or nuts. A cobbler is more like biscuit covered fruit.
Having said all of that, unless you’re baking for a restaurant, who really cares? Home baking includes creativity, individuality, family traditions and breaking a few rules, like this Old Fashioned Apple Crunch that is kind of like a crumble with nuts.
Applying Culinary Nutrition to this traditional dessert
- whole grain oat flour instead of highly processed white wheat flour. To ensure your dessert is gluten free you’ll want to purchase oats and oat flour that have been processed in a gluten free facility.
- coconut oil or ghee to avoid dairy, which can be inflammatory to many people. For those with a gluten sensitivity dairy can be cross reactive, evoking an inflammatory response.
- coconut sugar, which has a lower glycemic index than white sugar
I always add spices like cinnamon (sometimes nutmeg, cloves and/or ginger) to my streusel topping. Nuts and seeds add extra flavour and texture, as well as additional vitamins and minerals.
Once you make this Simple Peach Crisp and see how easy it to throw together you can change up the to use whatever fruit variety you like, although I’d not recommend using melons because they’re too watery. Frozen fruit can be used to make a crisp too, making this an easy way to pull together a dessert any time of the year.
Plan ahead tip
Mix the dry ingredients of the streusel topping in advance and store batches in the pantry. That way if you find yourself with extra fruit, just toss it with lemon juice, coconut sugar and spices, add the premixed streusel topping and melt the coconut oil or ghee.
Other uses for streusel topping
- Combine all ingredients and add streusel topping before baking sweet breads, cakes or muffins for an extra layer of crumbly deliciousness.
- Make a topping for yogurt or fresh fruit: Combine all dry ingredients, Mix in the melted oil until evenly wet and crumbly. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for about 10-15 minutes, until evenly browned.
- Add baked streusel to breakfast oatmeal, overnight oats, chia pudding or Chocolate Avocado Pudding for a little crispy sweetness.
Simple Peach Crisp
- 8-10 peaches 6 cups of fruit
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- I cup rolled oats
- ¾ oat flour
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (or ghee)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Peel and slice peaches and add to a cast iron pan or 9” glass baking dish. Sprinkle lemon juice over peaches. Add coconut sugar and cinnamon and toss together to cover the peaches.
- Combine oats, flour, coconut sugar, salt, cinnamon and pecans. Spread crumb mixture over peaches.
- Melt coconut oil (or ghee). Using a spoon, pour evenly over crumb mixture.
- Bake at 350, 35-40 minutes, until browned on top. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.
- Enjoy warm with a dollop of coconut yogurt.