I am currently savoring a couple of weeks - the only couple of weeks actually - of the year that we have absolutely nothing on the schedule/calendar. Like, seriously ... this does not happen often. My three children still living at home are involved in a zillion different extra-curricular activities throughout the entire year - baseball, softball, marching band, basketball, cross country, volleyball, quiz bowl, charity events, track, theater and ... well, you get the picture.
These present two weeks are void of any activity, event, appointment, meeting or otherwise. I, literally, have only left my house TWICE in the past eight days ... to get some groceries.
It has been pure bliss! I have been sleeping in, staying in my pajamas most of the day, playing board games with the kiddos, catching up on my DVR recordings, doing a boatload of cooking/baking and working on the blog. Utter heaven.
Speaking of heaven ... I love making crisps, cobblers and crumbles throughout the summer months.
The concept of making a "crisp" is simple - top cut fruit (yes, I am aware that rhubarb is actually a veggie) with a quick and easy oat topping that is kissed with just the perfect amount of sugar and spice. Pop it all in the oven until bubbly and serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I urge you to whip one up as soon as possible ... celebrate our bountiful summer fruits in the most-perfect way.
And, if you need me, I'll be kicking back by the pool, listening to the radio, watching the kids swim, enjoying a big glass of my Summertime Fruity Lemonade and thinking of this amazing dessert. (Well, for another week or so. Then, it's band camp and volleyball lessons for the little munchkins of the house .. and back to reality.) I'm hanging on to and relishing these lazy days of summer as long as I can, though.
FOR THE FRUIT MIXTURE -
3 cups diced peeled apples
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 orange (to be utilized for zesting and juicing)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING -
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oats (I prefer old-fashioned. Quick-cooking can be used. Do not use instant.)
Pinch of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small dice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine fruit with the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of orange zest, the juice of one orange, the cornstarch and vanilla extract. Pour fruit mixture into an 8 x 11-inch baking or casserole dish that has been lightly-greased with butter or cooking spray. Place dish onto a large sheet pan that has been lined with foil.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, salt and cinnamon. Using a fork or pastry cutter, incorporate butter until the mixture is well-combined and crumbles have formed.
Evenly sprinkle oat mixture over fruit.
Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the oat mixture has lightly browned.
Best served warm with vanilla ice cream.