Published July 1, 1998.
After testing oats, corn flakes, cookie crumbs, Grape-Nuts, graham crackers, and nuts, we found a simple way to put the crunch back in crisps.
The problem with most fruit crisps is that they simply aren't crisp. Rather, they're sodden and unattractive, with no real contrast between fruit and topping.
We wanted to make a fruit crisp that stayed crispy and had a bright, real fruit flavor.
We tried everything from Grape-Nuts to cookie crumbs and found the ideal topping mixture to be chopped nuts and flour. Cutting the butter into the flour is crucial in creating a crisp topping, and we found that a food processor was ideally suited to producing a mixture that resembles crumbly wet sand. Another issue to tackle was sugar: what kind and how much. White sugar alone was too bland, while brown sugar on its own was too strong tasting. A 50/50 mix of each proved to be the perfect combination. We wanted to keep the fruit mixture on the tart side for contrast with the nicely sweet topping. A ratio of 1/4 cup sugar to 6 cups fruit was optimal. We departed from traditional recipes by deciding against use of a thickener for the fruit; letting the juices flow resulted in a much brighter, clean fruit taste. Only plums, which tend to be very juicy, needed a tablespoon of tapioca for thickening.list of recipes