Peach Pecan Crisp

Is it a crumble or a crisp? 

The difference comes down entirely to oats. Crisps contain oats. Crumbles do not. Can there be other differences? Like nuts? Sure, but if we're defining things, oats are what matter. 

Especially if, like me, you use your spoon to excavate craggy slabs of caramelized oats from the top of your —never big enough— portion. Or if you delight in the way ice cream melts and pools in those rough oat valleys. Crisps have texture and heft and speak to me of chilly fall Sundays and football games on tv. Crumbles have loft and puff, warm bits of crust that expand in the oven then crunch and melt into buttery sweetness on your tongue. 

While we're at it, a cobbler is made by dolloping rounds of buttery biscuit dough or pouring biscuit batter over the top of your filling. Doughier and more Southern in style, cobblers strike me as one-pan shortcakes for a crowd.

In my own kitchen, I'm a crisp-lover through and through, regardless of the season. Here's the one I made Sunday night. And, if you're interested in a very delicious, very rich, crumble recipe, I've linked to a Nigella Lawson one below that I made this spring with rhubarb and strawberries. She has a neat trick of adding baking powder to the crust for even more crunch. The texture (see below) is gorgeous.

But, as my son said, "Where are the oats?"

Stay true to you.

Peach Crisp


Butter for pan

6-8 just ripe peaches

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Juice and zest of 1 lemon


1 cup flour

1 cup oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch salt

1 stick butter, cold, cut into small cubes

1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make filling. Peel peaches and chop into large chunks. In a buttered 9x13 baking dish, toss the peaches with the flour, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Set aside.

Make filling. Combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pinch in the cold butter cubes until the texture is sandy and the butter is evenly distributed. Toss in the pecans. Shake topping over filling until the peaches are covered and filling is evenly distributed. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 35-40 minutes.

Nigella Lawson's basic crumble recipe













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