Healthy Eating: A berry delicious crisp

Spring is here and I am enjoying all the blossoms of the neighborhood daffodils, forsythia, daphne odora, sarcocca and more! I even spotted a pair of pileated woodpeckers routing around in our garden earlier this week. We’re waiting for a pair of chickadees to make a nest in our bird house again this year. My husband planted his snap peas and a new crop of lettuce a few weeks ago too.
With everything spring to life it’s made me think about the fruits and vegetables from last year’s crop still in my freezer. Because of COVID we did not eat out and I managed to use up most of my stored items…and yet I still have a gazillion bags of berries. I feel lucky…very lucky. It makes it the perfect time to bake up crisps, cobblers and crumbles. I love to bake them because they are easy to make and they are delicious for dessert and breakfast!
This version is more decadent than my everyday version but it is perfect for upcoming family events. Use whatever fruit you want — it can be a combination of berries with plums, peaches, nectarines, etc. You can use frozen or canned fruit if you want–just reduce the sugar as needed if using fruit preserved in sugar syrup.
I hope you and your family can enjoy the spring flowers and the beautiful parks (woods and beaches) that we are so lucky to have in Edmonds. Blessings for the spring season!
Decadent Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Fruit Crisp


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour PLUS 1/4 cup flour for the fruit  
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter PLUS 1 stick for the fruit 
  • 6 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen) such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and/or cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  1. Start by making the crisp topping. In a food processor combine the 1/2 cup flour, the oats, the sugar, the cinnamon, the salt and pulse a few times. Then add the cold butter cut into cubes and pulse until you have a mixture with some big chunks in it of different sizes. Place the processor bowl in the refrigerator with the topping until ready to use.
  1. For the fruit, combine the berries, sugar, and 1/4 cup flour in a large bowl. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, add the stick of butter, cut into chunks, and melt gently over medium/low heat. Then split the vanilla bean in half with a paring knife, scrape out the seeds and add them to the butter along with the pod. Turn up the heat slightly and cook until the butter begins to turn brown; it’ll smell like toast and be a dark caramel color when it’s ready. Immediately pour over the fruit and remove the vanilla bean pod. Stir to combine.
  2. Lay the fruit into a 9 X 13 baking dish and top with the crisp topping. Bake for 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or Greek yogurt.

—  By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at

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