This adult-only crisp is the quintessential summer dessert: naturally sweet, soft peaches combined with tart berries and a generous rich pecan buttery topping brightened by lemon zest. The bourbon, which is added to the fruits, adds a subtle but intriguing smoky flavor that sets this dessert apart. It’s the unique touch that will makes your guests wonder why their crisps don’t taste so good. I like to enjoy it as is, to taste the naked deliciousness of those fine fruits, but it’s of course also amazing topped with a drizzle of fresh cream, a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
It’s best to use slightly underripe peaches so that they keep their shape once cooked. As for the berries, use raspberries, blackberries or blueberries, or a mix of the three (like I did), and you can use either fresh or frozen berries (don’t bother thawing the fruits if using frozen).
For the fruit base
6 slightly underripe unpeeled peaches, pitted and sliced into 8 segments
3 cups [750 ml] fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or a mix)
2 tbsp [30 ml] bourbon
½ tsp [2.5 ml] cornstarch
¼ tsp [1.25 ml] kosher or sea salt
For the pecan topping
¾ cup [180 ml] all-purpose flour
¾ cup [180 ml] brown sugar
½ tsp [2.5 ml] kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp [1.25 ml] freshly ground nutmeg
1 lemon, zest only, finely grated
1 cup [250 ml] pecan halves
½ cup [125 ml] butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C]. Lightly grease a 9-inch by 9-inch [23-cm by 23-cm] baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the peaches, berries, bourbon, cornstarch and salt. Pour in the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Add the pecans and pulse until they are broken into large chunks with some small pieces. Add the cubes of butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Pecans should be well integrated but with visible chunks, and butter should be in pea-sized clumps.
Very lightly pat the topping evenly on the fruit mixture, spreading out to the edges with your fingers. Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is browned, filling is bubbly, and juices resemble a thick syrup. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve as is, or with fresh cream, whipped cream or ice cream.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from Max Falkowitz, Serious Eats.