Our Fourth of July Tradition

For the past few years, Emily and I have always made an apple-berry crisp for the Fourth of July. It is one of our family’s favorite desserts and we love how simple it is to make. We used to make a pie for the Fourth, but have found the crisp to be the ideal alternative because it’s easier to make, meaning  you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time at that summer BBQ!

We use granny smith apples and a medley of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries to create this delicious (and horribly addicting) treat. Once baked, the tartness of the apples and berries are softened by the sweet  crumb topping, and the juices from the fruit create a thick and beautifully purple syrup. Our favorite way to eat the crisp is to “taste-test” it straight out of the pan, but it is also wonderful when topped with some ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Over the years and with many trials and errors, Emily and I have been able to improve the recipe until it is perfect. However, this year we experimented with our reliable recipe to cater to Emily and our mom’s gluten-free diet. We substituted almond meal for wheat flour in the crumb topping, and we also decreased its sugar content (per Emily’s request). I was a little worried that both changes would affect the texture of the topping, but was delightfully surprised to find that I actually preferred our crisp with these two revisions! We agreed that the almond meal made for a lighter and crispier topping and the decrease in sugar was undetectable when the dessert is filled with so many other scrumptious flavors. The recipe for the 2013 edition of our apple-berry crisp can be found below. I hope you enjoy this modified and gluten-free dessert as much as we did!


Apple-Berry Crisp

  • 4 large granny smith apples (you can use other types of apples, but granny smiths hold their shape best when cooked)
  • 2/3 bag of frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9×9 baking dish. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples (about 1/8 inch thick). Combine in a large bowl with frozen berries, cornstarch, and lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine oats, almond meal, sugar, salt, and spices. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the mixture, working it together between your fingertips until thoroughly combined with a crumbly consistency. Put the apple and berry mixture in the dish and sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until apples are tender when tested with a fork. Top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired and enjoy!


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