As the summer heaves its last gasp (you have until mid-September, silly!) you’re likely facing a lot of changes. They might involve work or school, staying home or starting a commute. Regardless, you deserve a treat. The best sweets around lurk right around the bend at the farmer’s market. The peaches and pluots, late-summer berries and nectarines are startlingly good this year. Here’s what we’re craving. And don’t fret: Not a one of these involves making a dough or using a rolling pin. Because it’s still summer, technically; don’t sweat a thing.
We have three marvelous cherry clafoutis recipes on the site, hearkening to the original cherry clafoutis from the Limousin region of France. We’re particularly partial to this version, which gets the tiniest bit of a bite and heat from fresh ginger. Clafoutis is all about that slightly custard-y base, and this one is thickened with buckwheat and regular flour and sweetened with vanilla. It’s ready in well under an hour, to boot.
So you want something biscuit-y and something fruity but don’t want to bother with fussiness of any stripe, including a floury mess. You want a cobbler. Perhaps this raspberry-plum number, which is just sweet enough and features plenty of vanilla (all the better to make the whole house smell good!) The whole thing materializes in about an hour, you drop the dough in clumps onto the fruit topping, and you have time for a whole TV show while it cooks. Ahhh.
Perhaps even easier than clafoutis or a cobbler is the beloved crisp. You can very nearly mix oats, sugar and cinnamon with a pinch of salt in a bowl while feeding the baby/ stirring something on the stove/ organizing a google doc for work. This knockout pear-bourbon skillet crisp bears out that theory. You’ve got bourbon, pears, sugar, flour and cinnamon hanging out in a bowl for half an hour while you forget about them. When you remember you’ve got it marinating, turn on the oven, mix up that super-simple crisp topping, and everyone, into the pool! (Er, the oven.) Bonus: Your home will smell amazing.
We’ll admit that we’re a little obsessed with this apricot clafoutis. (So are home cooks! Five stars.) It really involves just three steps: 1) Quarter apricots and sprinkle with brandy. 2) Blend together a fast batter. 3) Pop in oven. So easy, so good, and boy, does it look tasty in a cast-iron skillet with ice cream lazily melting on top.
We’ve got a cool quintet of apple crisp recipes in addition to this mighty autumnal apple-cranberry crisp, so don’t fret if you’re not a cranberry fan. You can absolutely make the crisp topping in a mini-prep food processor, and the rest comes together as easily as a swimmer doing the backstroke on a hazy September day. Remember that apple crisp in the oven makes a home smell like a New England cider house in October.
Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Brunch? Any time can be three-berry cobbler time. Just change the topping to suit your mood or needs. We’ve been known to serve this beauty with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche, Greek yogurt or whipped cream. Or on its own, on a porch, overlooking the lawn. There’s something about little velvety berries all commingling, with tapioca for an unctuous texture and a good splash of buttermilk to keep it from being top-heavy. It says, “spring,” it says, “summer,” and it says “You deserve this.” (And you do.)