The wait for hot summer weather in Portland can sometimes be interminable, but then, when the hot weather does finally hit, people seem to forget all the grousing and moaning that they previously took part in when it wasn’t hot enough for their liking, taking part instead in a great deal of grousing and moaning about how unbearably hot it is. When it comes to grousing and moaning, I take part, as most people do, in my fair share (though I generally reserve my woeful moaning for talk of baseball), but you will never, ever find me complaining that it is too hot in Portland. It rains nine months of the year here, and I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t forced to wear a sweater throughout the month of June. More than ¾ of my life is spent waiting for hot weather to arrive.
In addition to having an excuse to lay around in a hammock and read, hot weather also gives me a great excuse to try out the many, many things I’d like to attempt to cook on a grill. The standards of meat and vegetables are always a pleasure, but, as is my way, I have always wanted to try out a number of desserts on the grill. In the past, I have grilled fruit, sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and drizzled with dots of vanilla, but I’ve always known that I wanted to do more with a grilled dessert.
This crisp is the perfect gateway for those of you who would like to audition a grilled dessert. I say this, because I am a person who wants to tackle more dessert-making on the grill, and the success of this crisp has made me only more eager to do so. The fruit, bubbling away contentedly, took on a deep and luscious flavor when contained in the grill for the better part of an hour, and the buttery oat topping seemed to almost melt into the fruit in parts, resulting in a crisp that was not so much actually crisp, but something even better. When slowly grilled, the fruit and the topping joined forces, settling into one another like a perfectly formed puzzle. It was a delightful discovery, and a wonderful introduction to what I hope will be a new world of desserts.
Last Year: Mimi’s Ginger Lemon Tea–good as a cool summer drink, a warm winter tonic, and a catch-all healer for anything and everything that ails you.
Grilled Fruit Crisp Recipe
Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect cooking (more on how to do that here). With the lid down, heat one side on high until the internal temperature of the grill reaches about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans or almonds, or a mix of the two
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
6 cups fruit, sliced into roughly ½-inch pieces (I used strawberries, peaches, and blueberries which, obviously, I did not have to slice)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
To make the topping, in a medium bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together, then add the butter pieces and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the topping resembles coarse crumbs with a few smallish pea-sized bits of butter throughout. Refrigerate the topping while you prep the fruit.
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the fruit filling and toss to combine. Transfer fruit to a heavy cast iron skillet (mine was a 12-inch skillet, but a 10-inch one would also work), spreading it out evenly. Spoon the topping mixture over the fruit as evenly as possible.
Cook the crisp on the unheated side of the grill, lid down, for 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the edges of the crisp topping have just started to turn golden. Be very careful when remove the skillet from the grill, as it will be incredibly hot. Allow the crisp to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serve plain or with ice cream.