Opening an old, handed-down, handwritten recipe collection is like stepping back in time. So much is revealed through the handwriting, the order, the common ingredients and the evidence of use. My fingers travel immediately to the pages worn, tattered and stained... these are marks of love... a legacy of memories made... family history unfolding.
One of my favorite family recipes is simple, earthy, old-fashioned... my grandma's fruit crisp. In the fall months I choose crisp, tart apples, and come winter I add the zing of cranberries for our Christmas table. In spring I use peaches, sweet and juicy. As summer arrives, we watch for the blooms on the wild blackberry bushes, which somehow insist on thriving in parched southern clay and on rocky creek banks. Graceful, white blooms give way to tiny red berries. By the Fourth of July, violet black jewels glisten among the green foliage.
Everyone fetches a bucket. Fingers grow stained as one berry tosses into the bucket and one pops into little mouths. The briar scratches and the heat fade into the background. And once we're done, there's a rounded heap. If I don't hurry, they're gobbled fresh from the buckets. But on this first Independence Day picking we always try to bake something bubbly with summer's finest offering.
This year our first choice is Grandma's crisp. In just a few minutes, it's ready for a waiting oven. The house fills with the aroma of berries and cinnamon.
I draw out her delicate pink glass dessert cups. I break the crust and scoop spoonfuls of warm, crisp, juicy goodness. My little men and I have nearly devoured the entire dish tonight.
My Grandma delighted in writing tender words from her heart. If she penned a note to you tonight, she would most assuredly share her recipe. So from her, to me, to you... a bit of family history... a bit of heart time around the table... if you can make it that far. We got no further than the counter tonight.
Grandma's Fruit Crisp
1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg Unbeaten
1/3 Cup Butter Melted
As with many old recipes, all I have is the ingredient list. So following are my added instructions.
~Blend first five ingredients well. (I often like to exchange a bit of flour for oats as well.)
~Mix in egg evenly with a fork until crumbly.
~Fill pie dish nearly full with fruit filling. I prefer to add very little to any of the fruit. This yields a very juicy filling, though it is easier to handle after resting and/or refrigeration. If you prefer, add sugar, flour and/or cornstarch to make a thicker filling.
~Spread crisp mixture over filling and drizzle with melted butter.
~Bake at 375 degrees until crisp is browned and fruit is bubbly, approximately 5o min.
And, if you are a bit like me, you'd like to let it rest...
but you just can't wait!
From the heart of my home,