Spicy and nutty peach crisp

Melting peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Get friendly with late summer's favorite dessert

Published August 24, 2010 12:20AM (EDT)

When I was a kid, growing up in Kelowna, British Columbia, on a city lot with a rather astounding number of fruit trees, early August meant peaches.

My mom would draft me to help peel them for canning. Those memories have a distinct feel of slippery peaches shooting out of my hands and little bits of fuzz everywhere.

She made a beautiful jar of canned peaches, but what I really looked forward to was peach crisp. Bubbling out of the oven with oats and brown sugar and butter, with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream on top, it was the perfect August dessert.

We were back in the Okanagan for a bit of summer vacation last week, and picked up these beauties. (I also couldn't resist cherries, apricots and plums. The Okanagan is a delicious valley.)

Sure enough, after a few days and a car and ferry ride home, the peaches were ripe and ready for crisp.

This is my mom's recipe. My husband and I have different opinions about how much we like the ground cloves in it. If you’re not a clove fan, leave them out. But if you are, I think you will agree they add another layer of spicy goodness to the crisp.

You can adapt this crisp recipe for pretty much any fruit: rhubarb, apple, pear, plum, whatever's ripe in your neck of the woods. You can also play around with different proportions of fruit to crumble if you like more fruit or more crumble. (I'm a more crumble person, myself.)

I like the balance of cold ice cream on hot crisp, but I didn't attempt to take a photo of that, as I expected it would then look like peach crisp ice cream stew.

A note for gluten-free people:

This recipe will only work for you if you can tolerate oats. Make sure you find oats that were grown in an uncontaminated field and processed in an uncontaminated factory.

Peach crisp recipe


  • 6 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

For gluten-free flour (instead of wheat flour):

  • 2 tablespoons sweet white sorghum flour
  • 1 tablespoon sweet rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum


  1. Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Butter a 6-cup casserole dish.
  2. Mix the peaches with the cloves, cinnamon, lemon juice and half of the brown sugar. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.
  3. Blend the remaining brown sugar, oats, flour and salt together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture has a crumbly consistency. Add the nuts and use your fingers to work them in. Sprinkle the crumbles relatively evenly over the fruit.
  4. Bake 45 minutes, or until the peaches are crumbly and the crust is nicely browned.
  5. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

By Dollop of Cream

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