Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Plum-blackberry crisp

plum blackberry crisp, foodlets
WE WERE HEADED FOR THE BEACH and needed to bring a dessert for lunch afterward. The requirements were simple enough: must be baked ahead of time and also hold up for an hour in the car. (And if it could not involve a 30-pound Le Creuset baking pan, even better.) There would be six adults, two toddlers and two babies which meant it better be something good.

Earlier in the week our babysitter arrived with a bag full of purple plums, freshly picked from a friend’s tree. That’s when I consulted my Food Network iPhone app and searched for plums + The Barefoot Contessa. She had a plum crunch recipe that looked divine but was also packed with sugar and butter, as usual. So I set out to update her recipe in a healthier way. It was still delicious, as usual.

So crisp in one hand, baby in the other, off we packed up the car for a day in Nettuno again. Today we’d enjoy the sunshine with friends Molly and Giuseppe, their toddler Sabina and her new baby brother Luca. Molly’s sister was visiting from Chicago and there to cook a multi-course lunch for everyone again was Giuseppe’s former nanny, called Yaya (which rhymes with tata, the Italian word for nanny).

After everyone had their fill of sand, sun and saltwater, we headed back to Molly and Giuseppe’s vacation rental for lunch. Under a vine covered gazebo we feasted on pasta with a creamy sausage and mushroom sauce, green salad and our favorite local dish roasted fish with potatoes. To Yaya’s delight, Phoebe had two helpings of pasta. Holding up her plate saying, “more pasta peas”, she was an Italian’s dream lunch guest. Next came the crisp. Molly and I had two helpings citing a connection between breastfeeding and wheatgerm as a perfectly legit excuse reason for our indulgence. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

Plum & Blackberry Crisp

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

No blackberries available? Try any berry you like.

Frozen berries are a great substitute for fresh because they’re picked and processed at their peak. Look for organic and individually frozen.

The alcohol from the cassis will bake out in the oven but if you’d prefer a non-alcoholic version for the kids (and who could blame you?), try a dash of grape or apple juice instead.


  • 2 pounds fresh plums, pitted and quartered
  • 1 pound blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur, grape juice or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar loosely packed

for the crisp

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup whole organic oats
  • 1/2 cup cup brown sugar loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 pound cold butter cubed (one stick)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the fruit mixture in a large bowl. Stir gingerly but be sure to coat each piece of fruit with the flour, sugar and liquid. Pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or 10-inch round tart pan.

Use your hands to combine the crisp mixture. The butter is key: it must be cold and it must be cut into small cubes. Then just squeeze it through your fingers until you see it starting to come together. The goal is to have little clumps that you can sprinkle on top of the crisp. Scatter on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and juices are bubbling. (For this reason, I put an old baking sheet on the rack below the crisp pan.)

Serve warm or at room temperature and by all means add ice cream or freshly whipped cream.



  1. bob says

    Plum & Blackberry Crisp recipe calls for 1/2 pound butter (1 stick) – 1 stick of butter is a quarter pound. Which is it?

    • charityc says

      Sorry Bob, it’s one stick. The recipe has been updated now. The trouble with writing recipes about cooking for kids is the usually exhausted parent doing it! :)

  2. says

    Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?

    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but
    I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
    for something completely unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    • charityc says

      Hello! My blog runs on WordPress which I think is the best. I have a new theme, called Foodie, that also has custom updates installed + several widgets. Good luck!

  3. says

    Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would
    really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your
    theme. Thank you


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