Do you remember the “Real American Heroes”/”Real Men of Genius” Bud Light commercials? If not you should probably listen to some of them. They’re hilarious odes to important yet sometimes unacknowledged men (e.g., “Mr. Chinese Food Delivery Guy”) who add so much to our lives and, therefore, deserve a Bud Light.
Although I personally don’t think having a Bud Light is much of a reward in general, in the spirit of paying tribute to unsung heroes, I’d like to share one of my Real Recipes of Genius, Shauna Niequist’s blueberry crisp from her book Bread and Wine:
4 cups blueberries (or any fruit, really)
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup pecans
½ cup almond meal (available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, health food stores, or made by putting almonds in food processor until fine, but before they turn to almond butter)
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
Pour four cups fruit into 8×8 pan. Spread crisp topping over the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes, or longer if topping and fruit are frozen, until fruit is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden.
I love this recipe so much and make some version of it about once a week. Why is it so great? First, it’s incredibly easy and quick to make, and is basically baking at its easiest. You really can’t mess it up.
Second, the ingredients are incredibly flexible. You really can put almost any fruit in this crisp. In fact, I basically never make it with just blueberries. I've also used strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, kiwis, and apples, usually in some kind of combination (I think it's the best that way!). In the picture above, I used blackberries, kiwis, and strawberries. So if you have some fruit that’s starting to go bad or random packages of frozen fruit in your freezer, this recipe is a great way to use them up.
Also, while the crisp topping, as is, is very conveniently gluten-free**, dairy-free, and added-sugar free, you can easily swap out the ingredients for whatever you have on hand. You can use regular flour or gluten-free flour instead of almond meal. You can use honey instead of maple syrup. You can use coconut oil or vegetable oil instead of olive oil. You can switch the pecans to walnuts. You can add some chocolate chips or flaxseed meal. You can get rid of the salt (I always do -- it’s too salty for me otherwise). The possibilities are endless! And because it’s so easy and flexible, it’s great for company (and I’ve only known one person who didn’t like it!)
Finally, you can eat it any time of day without feeling too guilty. It’s a great dessert (even better with ice cream), but it’s also a great breakfast with yogurt or milk or just by itself. It works just as well after dinner as it does at a brunch.
So do yourself a favor, and salute this Real Recipe of Genius by making it. You won’t be sorry.
**If you’re making for this for someone on a gluten-free diet, make sure you ask them if conventional oats are okay for them. Otherwise, you can use gluten-free ones.