Blackberries hang heavy from their thorny vines here in the Pacific Northwest during the late summer months. They bop you on the head as you walk down the sidewalk, snag your shirt as they reach out from rockeries, and make hiking on forest trails a bit more complex as you gently pinch the vine to move it out of your way. If you don’t live in Seattle like me, perhaps you have other types of local fruit growing that you can make into a dessert. And if it’s the wrong time of year altogether, the great news is that this Blackberry Oat Crisp is so versatile that it can be made with frozen berries, too!
Classic crisps and crumbles are heavy on the saturated fat (butter) and sugar. When I was comparing recipes and assessing how I’d create my own oat crisp, I was really shocked by the amount of added sugar. All berries contain a nice amount of added sweetness, naturally, so why are we dumping sugar all over them and covering their complex sweet-tart flavor? I cut the sugar more than in half and, after making this recipe several times now, I’ve never found it to be anything less than perfectly balanced.
Blackberries are ideal for this blackberry oat crisp, but you can really use any type of berry that you want. I like blackberries because of their sweet-tart taste and their size. They are a bit firmer and so they have a nice texture when compared to raspberries. That being said, use raspberries if you have them – fresh are my favorite. Feel free to slice strawberries or cherries and use those. Blueberries work very well, too and I actually dump in some frozen if I need to bulk up my blackberry mixture in the Blackberry Oat Crisp. You really can’t go wrong!
You can so easily make this topping vegan by using vegan-butter substitute. You could mix it up by adding in chopped nuts for more texture and healthy fats. You can add or subtract the number and amount of spices.
If you’re gluten-free, make sure to get gluten-free labeled oats. Though oats are naturally gluten-free they can get contaminated by being processed in facilities that also process flour. You can easily use a gluten-free flour blend instead of regular flour like it calls for in the recipe. Going gluten-free in this recipe won’t change the texture or flavor at all.
Blackberry Oat Crisp
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 4 cups fresh blackberries frozen are ok; can sub other types of berries
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter softened
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with coconut oil.
Add the berries to a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle them with sugar. Gently fold to coat the berries and let them sit in the sugar while you prepare the oat mixture.
In another medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and lemon peel. The mixture will be crumbly.
Pour the berries into the prepared dish, scraping any additional sugar on top of the mixture. Spread the oat mixture evenly on top of the berries then bake the crisp for 35 to 40 minutes until its lightly browned and the berries are bubbling and soft. Set the crisp on a cooling rack and serve warm.