Citrus is often used as a flavoring for desserts from scones to cakes, but pieces of orange and lemon don’t always make it into the finished product. Frankly, you wouldn’t want to have big pieces of orange or lemon floating around in all of your recipes, but they do deserve the chance to take more of a starring role once in a while. With ripe blood oranges on hand, I used them as one of the main ingredients in these Blueberry and Blood Orange Crisps.
The crisps are easy to make. They’re a mixture of blueberries and fresh blood orange segments – lightly sweetened – that is topped with a buttery oat crisp. I supremed the oranges, meaning that I sliced out each of the orange pieces and left the “skin” that holds them together behind (this is also frequently called segmenting). To do this, just cut the peel off of the orange and cut along the side of the membranes between orange segments with a sharp knife, removing the “meat” of the fuit. While you could simply chop the oranges, this leaves more tender pieces of fruit in the dessert. The finished crisps are have a wonderful bright berry flavor to them, and the blueberries and oranges are a good match. Blood oranges have a mellow orange flavor, so orange zest helps to bring it out. There is a great ratio of topping to filling (especially if you’re a fan of the topping!), too, and it is just crispy enough to add a good textural contrast to the sticky filling.
You could bake this in one big casserole dish, but I like the fact that you get a much better ratio of fruit to topping by putting these in individual ramekins. Don’t try to cram the crisps into too-small ramekins, as you won’t have as much room to pile on the topping if you do. You can use fresh or frozen berries for this recipe. If you opt for frozen, do not defrost them before adding them to the oranges. You can also use different kinds of berries, adding raspberries for a springtime dish and strawberries for a more summery variation. Similarly, if you don’t have blood oranges you can use small mandarins (even canned, drained) or any other orange. Choose a sweet one, or consider adding an extra tablespoon or two of sugar to the filling to make up for any tartness.
Blueberry and Blood Orange Crisps
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup oatmeal, quick cooking
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup blood orange pieces, supremed and chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
4 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350F
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in flour, nutmeg, salt and oatmeal until everything is well combined. Mixture should look coarse and sandy.
In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, orange segments, orange juice and cornstarch (and additional 1-2 tbsp sugar, if not using blood oranges). Stir until well combined. Divide fruit mixture evenly into six 6-oz ramekins. Top each with about 1/3 cup of topping mixture. Place ramekins on baking sheet.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.