Even for experienced cooks, baking can be intimidating. One deviation from the instructions can turn what should be an impressive dessert into an inedible disaster. If you’re looking for an easy entry point into the pastry arts, this blueberry crisp is as flexible as it delicious.
The Institute of Culinary Education’s recipe for blueberry crisp consists of two main components: the jammy fruit filling and the crumbly oat topping. The ingredients are easy to find (you may have most of them in your pantry already), but you can switch several of them out without compromising the dish.
“The beauty of this recipe is that you can do it with any fruit,” ICE’s lead recreational chef-instructor Roger Sitrin tells Mental Floss. “You can throw the crisp topping on top of fall fruits or summer fruits ... It’s great in the fall with apples.”
The ingredients in the crisp topping are also adjustable. “You can make it gluten-free by getting rid of the flour in the crisp topping. You can add in some potato starch, or some rice flour, or almond flour,” Sitrin says. If swapping in rice flour, he recommends using half a cup instead of three quarters of a cup. You can replace all-purpose flour with almond flour cup for cup.
The one component you can’t skip is the cornstarch. It helps the juices in the fruit gel up and gives the dessert its delectable, gooey consistency. But depending on what fruit you use, you may need more or less cornstarch than the recipe calls for. As Sitrin explains, “Certain fruits have more pectin than others, blueberries being one of them. They might gel up with a little less cornstarch. It’s one of those recipes you can play with and stop measuring.”
Based in New York and Los Angeles, the Institute of Culinary Education offers classes in cooking and hospitality management to students of various skill levels. If you like the recipe below, check out ICE’s recipe for molten lava cake, or explore their curricula here.
3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¾ cup sugar
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Toss all ingredients in a bowl, fully coating the fruit with all ingredients.
- Place fruit filling in an 8” glass, ceramic or enameled baking dish filling about ¾ of the way up. Set aside and prepare the crisp topping.
4 ½ ounces (9 tablespoons) cold butter
¾ cup rolled oats
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
- Heat oven to 350°F
- Place all topping ingredients in a bowl and cut together using a pastry blender. Topping should be crumbly when fully mixed. Alternately, place all ingredients the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times until crumbly in texture.
- Sprinkle (do not pack) over the top of the blueberry mixture.
- Place baking dish on a sheet pan and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.