Think you don’t have time to make a delicious, old-fashioned dessert for your family tonight? Well, I think that you do. Forget about making an elaborate dough that needs to be chilled and rolled out. Forget about softening butter and getting out your stand mixer. The easiest dessert to make, by far, is a crisp: sliced, sweetened fruit dumped into a baking dish and topped with a crumbly, oaty streusel. You hardly even need a recipe — I have improvised fruit crisps in unfamiliar kitchens away from my cookbooks many times with great results.  You can even make a crisp if you have run out of eggs – how many desserts can you say that about? Yes, a fruit crisp is the just about the quickest, easiest dessert there is.

This time of year, the grocery stores and the farmers’ markets are bursting with gorgeous stone fruits of every kind, from apricots to plums to peaches. In my view, there is no excuse not to make a fruit crisp at least once a week. I mix and match with whatever stone fruits I have on hand. I have made this recipe with apricots, plums, pluots — an apricot-plum hybrid — nectarines and peaches. A mixed stone fruit crisp is a great way to make a weeknight dinner just a little more special or simply to use up fruit that is starting to get a little too soft — I won’t tell your family that is why you made it. And as desserts go, this one is pretty healthy: lots of fruit, some rolled oats, and not too much sugar. Just don’t focus on that stick of butter.

Feel free to alter the recipe for your family’s tastes. Stone fruits are of varying sweetness, so I recommend starting with only a half cup of sugar to sweeten the fruit filling. Taste it and if it seems too tart, add more. Kids and adult palates seem to differ on how sweet a crisp should be. My husband and I loved the plum and apricot crisp from the photo but Zuzu found it sour. Go figure! You don’t just have to stick with cinnamon either: add some ground ginger or a dash of nutmeg to your fruit filling — especially if you are using peaches. No corn starch? Not to worry: substitute a few tablespoons of flour instead to thicken the fruit filling.

In short, this recipe is begging for experimentation, so don’t get caught up in following my instructions to the letter. Just promise me you will make it, okay? Summer is too short not to enjoy a perfect, easy fruit dessert like this one.

Mixed Stone Fruit Crisp


  • Fruit filling:
  • 4 cups mixed, sliced stone fruit.
  • 1 TB corn starch
  • 1/2-1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Zest and juice from half a lemon
  • Topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 2 qt glass baking dish.
  2. Place the sliced fruit in the dish and toss with the corn starch, sugar, cinnamon and other spices, if using, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon and stir until well mixed.
  4. Pour melted butter over the flour mixture and stir with a fork until the mixture is moistened and begins to form clumps.
  5. Pour the crisp topping over the fruit and spread in an even layer.
  6. Bake for 1 hour or until the topping is brown and crisp and the fruit juices and bubbling.
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.

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Emily Paster

Emily Paster is a freelance writer and mother of two living in River Forest. She writes about food and parenting on her website, West of the Loop. Emily's print work appears frequently in Chicago Parent...