End-of-Summer Fruit Desserts

 Looking for ways to use all those delicious August fruits? Look no further than these recipes for easy-as-pie sweets featuring peaches, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. My personal favorites are crumbles and crisps, both usually made with oatmeal, one of the first cereals cultivated by man. The cultivation of oats is particularly suited to Ireland’s climatic conditions (fertile soil, temperate climate, and abundant rainfall), and oatmeal was a staple of the Irish from prehistoric times until the seventeenth century. It’s no wonder, then, that crumbles and crisps — sweetened fresh fruit topped with a streusel-like mixture of oatmeal, butter, flour, and sometimes nuts — are popular Irish desserts. 

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Makes 24 Bars

This traybake has a tasty bottom crust thanks to oats and ground almonds, a lovely filling thanks to fresh berries, and a crunchy topping featuring coconut and more almonds. 

For the crust and crumble

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) Irish oatmeal

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup flaked almonds

1/2 cup shredded coconut

For the filling

4 cups mixed berries

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Make the crust and crumble. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with no-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, ground almonds, and baking powder; stir in the butter until blended. Press half of the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

3. In a large bowl, toss the berries with lemon juice. Sprinkle with sugar and cornstarch; toss again until well coated. Spread the berries evenly over the bottom crust. Stir the almonds and coconut into the remaining half of crumble mixture; sprinkle over the berries.

4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the crumble is golden. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes; refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into 6 rows by 4 rows.


SERVES 10 to 12

 Unlike a crumble topping that browns while baking, this buttery topping literally melts into the fruit and cake. Serve it with vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or whipped cream. 

For the topping

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 large eggs, beaten

For the cake

8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup slivered almonds, ground

1 1/4 cups blackberries, halved

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Make the topping. In a small bowl, combine butter, sugars, and cinnamon. Cool slightly; stir in the eggs. 

2. Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with no-stick baking spray with flour.

3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the flour, salt, and milk. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan; sprinkle almonds on top. Scatter hte blackberries over the almonds; pour the topping over the berries. 

4. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Release the sides of the pan. Cut into slices. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.



 This recipe starts with a shortbread-like crust that’s filled with luscious peaches and blueberries (you can substitute blackberries, if you wish). The crumble top adds a third delicious dimension.

For the crumble

1/2 cup flour

6 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Pinch of sea salt

For the pastry

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca

4 large peaches, halved lengthwise, pitted, and quartered

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Make the topping. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor; pulse 4 to 5 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crumbs are lightly browned.

3. Make the pastry. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter; pulse 4 to 5 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and vanilla; process until the dough comes together to form a ball.

4. With floured hands, press the dough onto the base and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill the pastry in pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Make the filling. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and tapioca. Add the peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice; toss to coat. Spoon the filling into the pastry. Bake on the middle oven rack for 1 hour. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit; bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden.

6. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Release the sides of pan. Cut into slice s; serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

 Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed copy of one of her cookbooks, visit irishcook.com.