Healthy Fruit Crisp

I think that making a fruit crisp is one of the easiest desserts to make. But that may be because of a little short-cut I like to take.  Hey, I’m all for making special treats and doing it the lazy easy way.

Here’s my trick:  You know how a fruit crisp has a “crumb topping”? All the recipes I’ve seen say to “add all the dry ingredients together” then “cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs”. I am REALLY not a fan of “cutting in the butter” in any recipe. It takes extra effort and makes an extra mess and now that I am all grown up and not in Home-Ec class anymore, I have become a butter cutter inner rebel. I believe we should all take a stand against things we feel strongly about.  And so, I hereby stand firm on my belief and I refuse to cut in butter.

I hope you can still respect me after that confession. If you still choose to cut in your butter, we can still be friends.

As a replacement (aka lazy) option to cutting the butter into the dry ingredients in a fruit crisp, I have chosen to simply MELT the butter and stir it into the oat and flour mixture. I KNOW. And check it out…I have still made crumbs:

I love this fruit crisp recipe because you can use any fruit you want. This time, I made peach fruit crisp because it just so happens that I got to go pick some lovely peaches at my friend Kim’s house. Depending on the kind of fruit you use, you may want to add more sucanat (sugar), but I’ll leave that up to you!

Healthy Fruit CrispYum

5 cups sliced fruit (apples, peaches, pears, cherries, blueberries or a combination of all)
2 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar

Stir the fruit together with the sucanat and place in a small baking dish (8×8 inch).

Make your Crumb Topping

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup butter (MELTED, for Pete’s sake)
1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut flakes (also optional)

Mix together oats, sucanat, flour and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter and joy upon joy, it creates crumbs with little to no effort. Add nuts or coconut flakes.

Sprinkle crumb topping over fruit. Bake in a 375° for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.

Easy_Fruit_Crisp

If you’ve made and canned Apple Pie Filling, just dump it into your baking dish, sprinkle on your crumb topping and bake. SO easy!

I just have to know…are you a butter cutter inner, or a butter cutter inner rebel like me? Never thought about it before? Yeah, I figured I was the weird one with butter cutter inner issues.

Comments

  1. says

    I feel I could eat an entire pan of that apple crisp right now; it looks so delicious. You’re funny. I actually have become a fan of cutting in the butter. It’s great stress relief. ;)

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  2. says

    I’ve been a butter-cutter rebel for years!! My Grandma showed me to simply place the dry ingredients over the fruit, cut the butter into small cubes and scatter them over the top.

    But even that was too time consuming for me so I started melting the butter and pouring it over the dry ingredients and, as you’ve found, it works just as well.

    I have a very similar crisp recipe. We use is most in winter with our preserved fruit.

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  3. says

    I make my crisps just like you do! They turn out fabulous. I have no idea why the directions say to cut the butter in for the crumb topping. I started doing it that way accidentally a few years ago when I forgot what it was for and melted the butter.

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  4. says

    Oooooh, you may make a rebel out of me, too! The only recipe I make consistently that requires me to cut in butter is Orange-Cranberry Scones. I wonder if melted butter (or reeeeally softened) would work there? Cutting in always takes for.ev.er. Anyone think it’s worth risking it next time? Or should I stick with cutting in for scones?

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    SarahMay Reply:

    Scone recipes require cut-in butter because as it melts and steams in the oven, it helps give them that flaky texture. Melted butter would probably make them turn out like hockey pucks! : )

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    Marisa Reply:

    I commented below, but I’ll add it here, too. For biscuits (and I imagine it would work great for scones and other pasteries) I’ve grated frozen butter. It worked like magic.

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    Sarah Reply:

    Thanks for the tip! And SarahMay thanks for the explanation. I’m glad I didn’t have to learn that one the hard way. Maybe I’ll try grated frozen next time…but I won’t go for melted butter hockey pucks :)

  5. DorthyM says

    That crisp looks delish, Laura! As does just about everything I’ve seen you make! Hmmm… looks like I’m in the minority so far! I despise melting butter for the same reason you dislike cutting in butter –it makes a mess. There’s just something soothing about cutting in butter that I’m okay with. Granted, I only do cooking that requires cutting in ingredients once or twice a week if that these days, but its one of the rituals I enjoy. : )

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  6. Yvonna in Missouri says

    Oh ~ how yummy! To bad I can’t reach through the PC :(
    I guess I am a rebel too. I have melted my butter for years. In fact thats how I taught my girls.Now if they were paying attention is another thing entirely.Blessing’s

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  7. Jennifer3 says

    Another butter melter here! Looks like you aren’t alone in this! It was too hot here today to bake anything, but as soon as it gets more fall like I am ready for an apple crisp.

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  8. Rhonda says

    I make a similar crisp in a glass pie plate and microwave it until the fruit is hot (5 to 10 minutes, depending on the fruit and how cold it is), then broil it to make a crispy top. Fast, easy, and I get many complements on it.

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  9. says

    Thank you for the tip about melting butter instead of having to cut it in. I greatly dislike cutting in butter and inwardly groan when I see a recipe requires it. Next time, I’ll have to melt the butter instead.

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  10. Hailey peck says

    I dont cut in the butter.. I use my hands and get all messy and ADORE every minute of it. Sure it takes a little more time.. but if we are cooking (and when are we not?) we might as well enjoy some part of it right? So I say melt the butter if you want.. But i still prefer to use my hands to crumble butter ( and then lick my fingers when the kids aren’t looking ;)

    The whole premise of cutting in chilled butter is that it gives your desserts the flaky crust (think puff pastry, biscuits, or pie crusts)

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  11. Kellie says

    I’m showing my lack of knowledge and creativity in the kitchen…it never even dawned on me to melt the butter instead of cutting it in when making the topping! Next time I make a fruit crisp, I’ll be melting away!

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  12. Mrs Team S says

    It has never occurred to me to melt the butter. I always cut it in. But, then, I kind of enjoy it. I have to say that cutting in butter is a stress reliever for me too. Looks like I might be the strange one. :)

    This looks yummy! I think I need to make some! Thank you for sharing.

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  13. Christy says

    I melt the butter, then make a huge batch of crumb topping, pop it in a freezer bag, and stick it in the freezer. It is great to have on hand since a basic crumb topping will work for coffee cake, muffins, quick breads, and fruit crisp. I figure if I already have the crumb topping done, then I am half way to a great breakfast/dessert item!

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    Laura Reply:

    SUCH a great idea!!!

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    Susanna Reply:

    BRILLIANT! Can’t wait to add this to my freezer stash!

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  14. says

    I don’t like butter cutting either but I never tried melting it. Thanks to you I just had a lightbulb moment! :) I am so making this today! I have a bag of peaches and nectarines I got from my mother-in-law that need to be used up. Yummy yummy dessert tonight! Thanks!

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  15. cynthia says

    Hate cutting in butter! I need to make one of these today for a family in my church, and I will definately NOT be cutting in the butter! Thanks for the helpful advice!

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  16. Marisa says

    I also despise cutting in butter. I just discovered for biscuits/pastries that you can grate frozen butter, and mix it in. Not as fast as melting – but totally magic, none-the-less. :)

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    Carmen Reply:

    I LOVE this idea! I’m going to try that today!

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  17. Melissa says

    I dislike cutting butter too but I read a tip years ago that makes it all easier. Just use a cheese grater to grate a frozen stick of butter. It’s really quick work and works great for pie crusts, scones and crumbly toppings.

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  18. Erin says

    What a timely post, Laura! I just picked up a bunch of white peaches on sale Monday and was planning on making a peach cobbler for dessert tonight. Now I shall be making an easy-peasy crisp! Thanks as always for your wonderful blog. :)

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  19. Paula says

    Ok, maybe this is a little beside the point, but, encouraging to butter rebels , nontheless… I was watching Chef’s Country on PBS and they did a test between melting the butter or cutting it into cookies. The cookies made with melted and cooled butter were chewier and had a better texture, whereas the other cookies with the cut in butter were flat and crunchy. So, MELTED BUTTER WINS even in cookies. No more guilt guys, you are doing it right a along!

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  20. says

    Some awesome tips. I love the grating frozen butter idea as well as making crumb topping (with melted butter) and freezing. I too dislike cutting in butter and will often use my food processor when making a crumb topping.

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  21. Anita says

    I was asking myself, what does she mean cutting in butter for crisp topping. I was taught by my mom to melt it so I didn’t know any different. LOL. I was thinking of making brownies for the kids today, but maybe crisp would be better. Hmmm.

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  22. Amanda Y. says

    I’m a rebel! I am far too impatient to cut butter too! I’ve found melting it works just as good in almost all situations (once or twice, something’s come out a bit softer, but I can live with that!)

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  23. says

    No problems with melting butter for this recipe–works great! But what about in a scone or biscuit? Seems like it would affect the texture. I really don’t like cutting in butter either.

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  24. Lisa says

    It looks like I’m in the minority. I like cutting in the butter. I guess it’s also like how I enjoy flattening the chicken for chicken cordon bleu. Bang, bang, bang!

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  25. reba says

    I only like cutting in butter when there isn’t a toddler clinging to my legs and three other boys romping about the kitchen….which hasn’t happened in awhile…LOL
    So…I’ve started smashing the butter in with my fingers. (I saw Martha Stewart do it once when she was making a Cobbler) Just use room temp butter and smush it into the crust ingredients until you have crumbs. I think it might even be more satisfying than melting. Hee hee.

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  26. Courtney says

    I grate the butter with a microplane zester (it doesn’t have to be frozen, just cold) and then smoosh it all together with my hands.

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  27. says

    I’m glad to find someone who hates cutting in the butter too! I’m making a recipe this week that calls for cutting in butter so I’ll give melting the butter a try. This dessert looks sooo good. I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments so forgive me if it’s been said already. I wonder if I could cut the sugar a little and serve it for breakfast.

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  28. Demi says

    Can you use frozen fruit or does it have to be fresh?

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    Laura Reply:

    Frozen fruit will work just fine! If it’s mostly or partially thawed, it will work great.

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  29. Laurie Plath says

    I’ve always been a butter cutter inner, but you’re a bad influence on me and I want to be a butter cutter inner rebel like you!!!!!!! But seriously, I hate cutting in the butter, so this sounds like a great idea.

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  30. Anitra says

    My husband and I joke that I’m the every-day cook and he’s the special-occasion cook, because I can’t be bothered with things that take involved or extended preparation. Apple pie/crisp is no exception. If I make it, I melt the butter, but when he makes it, he cuts in the butter. He also will adjust the oven temperature partway through (according to the recipe we have) – I just preheat it high and turn it down to the lower temp when I put the pie/crisp in the oven.

    I find my topping is crunchier and doesn’t hold together as well. But it’s still good!

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  31. Teri says

    Laura, thanks for the great idea. I have always been a butter-cutter-inner! LOL I plan to try melting the butter and making a crisp with “put-up” peaches! YUM

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  32. Dorothy says

    Hi Laura
    I usually never leave comments but this butter cutting thing struck a nerve. My mother always says “hate” is a very strong word so ok I dislike the pastry blender INTENSELY. In fact when we moved years ago and it was lost I did not replace it. I either try to do that ridiculous use 2 knives method or just give up and sort of mash it up with my hands. I usually avoid making this type of recipe just because it is so unpleasant to deal with that step. Which is too bad because of course everybody loves apple crisp! So thank you for this recipe. It may just revolutionize butter-cutting (or lack thereof) in my kitchen!

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  33. nancy says

    We only eat honey and maple syrup for sweetener. Have you ever made this recipe using honey? Do you think it would work out?

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    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never used honey for a fruit crisp, but I’ve used it for apple pie filling, which is almost the same as this. I think it would work perfectly!

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  34. Dana says

    I also hate cutting in butter! I use a fork to kind of mash it around, but I always end up with a forkful of butter that doesn’t stick to anything. I only do it on recipes I really like a lot (or ones I didn’t realize I had to cut butter in until I’m already halfway into it). This should help a lot!

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  35. Carol Barrilleaux says

    I thought I was the only one in the world who hates to cut in butter. I was too ashamed to tell anyone. Actually it made me dislike making fruit crisps. No More! Blessings to you.

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  36. Karena says

    You posted something about a make ahead streussel topping to put in the freezer. My question is when you make a large batch and put it in the freezer, do you add the butter at that time, or do you wait and add that when you use it from the freezer?

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I add the butter before freezing it. I make it all up so that it’s ready to add to a pie or crisp or whatever!

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  37. Misty says

    I just made this tonight. This was my first ever apple crisp and it was fantastic!! Thank you so much! By the way…I love your website!

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  38. Virginia says

    I made this using strawberries as the fruit tonight and served it with vanilla bean ice cream….. It was a HUGE hit. Amazing!!

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  39. says

    Used fresh peaches and blueberries. In the oven right now and the house smells WONDERFUL. Can hardly wait. Thanks for shareing your recipe.

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  40. says

    I hate cutting in butter too! I’ll use my food processor for some recipes or my fingers in a recipe like the but I just put it in the oven with your melted version! Mmmm….

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  41. Tara says

    Thanks for the super cheater recipe! I was given a jar of homemade apple pie filling. My people don’t really like the pie part of pie. I’ve also skipped recipes that say “cut in the butter”. So this is a perfect way to use the homemade gift and avoid cutting butter! :)

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  42. Sharon says

    I’m a rebel for sure. I hate cutting in butter. It just clumps up and makes my life miserable. I am loving your website, your recipes and your lovely sense of humor. My husband and 4 boys are enjoying the recipes too. This is my first attempt at cooking with only whole foods. Thanks for the help.

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  43. Elaine says

    This is my favorite recipe so far. It was a hit with the family last week, and I used some of the huge box of apples I got from Azure Standard last week. :0)

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  44. says

    If a recipe says cut in butter I usually just make it in my food processor. & It comes out fine. But I’ve also melted and wondered what the big stinkin’ deal was about cutting it in. My food processor is in storage right now and I recently “cut in the butter” and I was like no wonder women of the olden days were so fit… that’s hard work. My arm was killing me. :D

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  45. Jacqueline RUssell says

    Oh my! Getting ready to make this and to be honest, I really don’t like cutting in the butter as well. Thank you for telling me I can melt it!!! Woo Hoo!!:) I need to be more daring, I tend to do exactly as the recipe states. Love your site!

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  46. Becky L says

    Fabulous recipe! However, let me note this: for those of you who simply can’t, even in the spirit of healthy, stand to have less than a bunch of topping, you need to double this, or more, to have enough (and some to eat from the spoon!)! Thanks for the great recipe!

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    Tami Reply:

    I was thinking the SAME thing, Becky!! We’re a “double the topping” kind of family, for sure!!

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  47. danielle says

    I saw on today’s blog that you froze a bunch of crisps….any special instructions for this? How good is it good for in the freezer? Does it need to thaw before baked? Do you freeze this even when you use apples?

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    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Make it as directed, cover it and freeze. Bake as directed…maybe just a little bit longer. Laura does this even with apples.

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  48. says

    When you freeze it, do you freeze it in the glass dish? How do you package it for the freezer and do you thaw it first before baking? Thank you for your site. Love it.
    Sue

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I freeze it in the glass dish as is. I thaw it in the fridge before baking, or I put it frozen directly into a cold oven, then turn the oven on for the dish to heat with the oven. If I do it that way, I cook it at a lower temp for a longer amount of time.

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  49. Kathryne says

    So glad to see a recipe that uses sucanat. I didn’t think anyone else in the world new about it :) For sure going to make apple pie filling.

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  50. Kari says

    Made this tonight for a Christmas party and everyone loved it. I loved it because melting the butter saved enough time to get this thing in the oven and done. My kids will love it because there was some to bring home and I’m going to let them have it for breakfast tomorrow. I think you get to be favorite aunt and I get to be favorite mom all in one fell swoop with that plan!

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  51. Kim says

    Can’t wait to make this! What are “rolled oats?” Is it just regular oatmeal type oats or do I need a specific type? Thanks

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You got it! Rolled oats are the same as what you would use in oatmeal…basically it is just not steel cut oats.

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  52. Christy says

    Oooh, love this! I use melted coconut oil instead of butter because of lactose intolerance, and it still turns out deliciously every time! Thank you, Laura! I detest cutting butter/shortening (when we used to use it)–I’m a butter cutter inner rebel. :) Blessings

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  53. Kimberly says

    Thanks to you, I have now been released from the oh-so-dreaded “cutting in” for the rest of my life down here!!!!!!! I can never thank you enough for this fabulous idea!!

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  54. Louise says

    Love the “what else could possibly go wrong” story! Just wanted to say I, too, am a “cut in the butter rebel”! I melt the butter, make the topping, put it in the fridge or freezer (depending on the time of year), and THEN I make my cobbler. I take out the crumb topping and put it on the cobbler, right before it goes in the oven. Sometimes I have to use a fork to break it up, but chilling/freezing the topping first prevents the butter from melting too quickly.

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