Plainclothes Feast

A weekly peek at one dinner table, in the heart of one home, in the center of the country

Fall Fruit Crisp


It’s fall, and I can prove it…

  • It’s anniversary time:

Somewhere there is an actual photograph–non-digitized, I mean, like on photographic paperdeveloped at a store (???)–of the two of us on our first anniversary trip, at the top of Chimney Top Rock in Smoky Mountain National Park. I would like to be able to find it and put it here for a couple of reasons: 1) Because that was 11 years ago, and I don’t think we look SO terribly different. In any case, we’re both still smiling. 2) Because my husband professes to hate “selfies,” but I distinctly remembering holding that old camera up over and in front of our faces as the sun started sinking ominously behind the trees, and taking a picture of our goofy, smiling, newlywed-ish selves. So, you see my love, we were doing selfies long before selfies were cool. Which means we’re cutting edge. In flannel shirts and blue jeans.

UPDATE: Found it!


Awww…Weren’t we cute? 

  • It’s cross-country season. How am I old enough to have a child running cross country? This astonishes me.

He ran so fast–notice the blur!–that he ran right out of one of his shoes on the homestretch. (If you look closely, you’ll see his left foot is shod in only a sock!) That is so perfectly him. I just love it.

  • Things are getting spooky around here.

This is the Cyclops from Percy Jackson, book 2. This mask is a part of his October book report.  For Halloween, he and his brother are dressing as Power Rangers…a fact which is scary in its own way.

(Thanks, Nana and Papa, for teaching my children to “sing” this song. I find it disturbing to watch my beautiful babies go all wonkily-eyed and zombie-ish.)

  • Finally, the Johnny Apple Peeler has been sitting on my counter for like 6 weeks. And I do NOT like “things” on my counter. I like “things” put away. I like counters empty and vast and clean. But this guy has been seeing some serious action.pa082971

Which brings me to the recipe in question:

Fruit crisp. This is something I make ALL the time. I make it so often that I almost-but-not-quite know how to make it without a recipe. Problem is I  no longer really follow the recipe. AND, to be honest, I typically make this on a Friday or Saturday evening, when I’ve just drunk a couple of glasses of wine on an empty stomach, and, so, trying to remember the exact adjustments, omissions, and additions can get kinda dicey. I’m happy, right now, to put that whole system out of business once and for all.

This recipe works great with apples–TART apples, like Granny Smiths (which I’ve used in the pictures below) or Lodis (which cook down in the pan to a deliciously chunky applesauce)–or with cherries. Canned tart cherries work best because they’ve already had much of their juice cooked out of them; frozen tart cherries (which my freezer is full of) taste amazing BUT they release so, so much juice when you bake them that you should really probably cook them on the stovetop before putting them into the crisp. Even if you have drunk two glasses of wine on an empty stomach, don’t forget that step unless you secretly prefer cherry sog to cherry crisp.

(Quick aside: When we picked the aforementioned cherries in Michigan this summer, they were hanging heavy on the trees. I swear to you, you can just reach up and grab a handful of them and then grab another and another and another, without moving from your spot, and without even leaving a detectable hole in the canopy. At one point, our big boy called outo his daddy, “Come in here! I’m in a world of red!” And his daddy ducked under the branches of the tree, looked up, and said, “You aren’t kidding.” To which our son responded, totally deadpan, “Daddy, I do not kid about fruit.”)

Fruit Crisppa082985


5-6 medium apples, peeled and cored (about 5 cups) OR 5 cups of tart cherries

1/3 cup of white sugar, if using apples or 1/2 cup if using cherries

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup water (for apples only)


1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup white flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Peel and core your apples.

2. Toss them with the sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour, and cinnamon.


3. In a separate bowl, combine the crisp ingredients, using a fork to mash the butter into the rest.

4. Place the fruit in an 8X8 inch baking pan which has been greased with cooking spray or butter. Then top with the crumble.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until it’s bubbly and crisp–about 45 minutes to an hour.



Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or not. (I like mine naked.)


5 thoughts on “Fall Fruit Crisp

  1. Happy anniversary!!! This recipe looks absolutely amazing and your children are so adorable!

  2. Thanks, Priyana! I’m a lucky lady!

  3. Yay, Fall!!! Yay, anniversaries. I always wanted to get married in the Fall but got married in August because I was impatient I guess. 🙂 Where does Gus run cross country?

    • All anniversaries with smiling people are good ones, Amanda! But we are definitely fall people, so it worked out for us.

      He’s running through Pathfinders, which is (I think) affiliated with Parks & Rec somehow. He likes it. It’s worth driving him all over town for practices just so he can strut around in his singlet. Kills me!

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