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Crisp for a Blueberry Girl

March 3, 2012

One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, has written many stories– weird and whimsical, frightening, fantastical, and magical. I especially love the poem he wrote for the birth of Tori Amos’s daughter, Natasha, which was made into a book illustrated by Charles Vess.

Ladies of light and Ladies of darkness and Ladies of never-you-mind,

This is a prayer for a Blueberry girl.

First, may you ladies be kind.

It’s a beautiful poem, full of love and well wishes for a little girl and the woman she will become. It’s also a great gift for an expectant mom– I am not one, but I currently know a few!

When one of my close friends recently had a birthday, I started to think of what I could make for the occasion. Something told me that I should choose a dessert a little different than my usual “death by chocolate” approach. My friend is artistic and expressive, and I thought of the blueberry girl from Gaiman’s poem. And then it hit me like a bolt from the blue: a blueberry crisp.

Crisps, crumbles, slumps, grunts, bucklers, and cobblers (and probably several more that I’ve omitted) are all in the family of baked fruit desserts with some sort of topping. Maybe it’s biscuit dough, or oat-based, or (my favorite) large crumbs of buttery goodness. They’re simple and fairly quick to prepare, and you can use fresh, frozen, or even slightly past-prime fruit. I used a mixture of fresh blueberries and the last of the wild berries I had picked last summer and frozen for just such a day, stirred together with a little Meyer lemon juice and zest. The sweet tartness of the lemon complemented the juicy berries perfectly, and the topping-to-berry ratio was just right for a dessert that was satisfying without feeling too heavy.

Blueberry and Meyer lemon crisp

After the comforting taste, one of the nicest things about a crisp is that you can assemble the fruit directly in the baking dish. Mix the topping separately, cover the berries well, slide the whole thing into the oven, and in about half an hour you’re rewarded with the most mouthwatering aroma. It’ll perfume your home for at least a day after baking.

Fruit filling:

4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Juice and zest of one Meyer lemon

Topping: (Adapted from Nigella Lawson)

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 Tb brown sugar or raw sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, or the equivalent raw food-quality coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Rinse the blueberries, if using fresh, and pat dry. Spread the berries evenly over the bottom of the baking dish and combine with the lemon juice and zest.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Pour the melted butter or coconut oil over the mixture, then blend with a fork or pastry blender until large clumps form. Bake until the crisp is golden and the berries are bubbling up from under the topping, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly– it’s best served warm!
Listen to Neil Gaiman read Blueberry Girl as you enjoy a piece!

From → Dessert, Recipes

One Comment
  1. Jenn permalink

    I would like to be eating that right now.

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