A dish with Alice Waters

Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp
There’s something so wonderful about cooking from a recipe. By following the directions, ingredient for ingredient, you are, in a sense, channeling the culinary spirit of the chef that created the dish. When the dish is complete and you sample the flavors, you are able to take an objective view of the dish. You can marvel at the ideas that brought those singular flavors together. You may note the subtlety of flavor or the unexpected abundance of it. By cooking dishes created by the masters, you begin to understand the inspirations of a Chef from the inside out.

Last night, in preparation of returning my many Alice Water’s cookbooks to the library, I made simple dessert—based on an amalgam of two recipes and what ingredients I had on hand. Some of the adjustments were mine, but the style of the dish is all Alice.

My first bite of this semi-sweet, rustic crisp made me feel like I was enjoying a dessert that Alice Waters and Lindsay Shere had made especially for me.

Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp
Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp
Adapted from the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook and Chez Panisse Fruit

½ cup almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
zest of one lemon, chopped fine
1 tablespoon aged rum

For the Topping

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toast the almonds until they smell nutty and are slightly more brown, about 7 or 8 minutes. Chop the almonds to a medium to fine consistency. Combine the flour, the sugars, the salt and spice in a mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter in pieces and mix with your fingers until it becomes mealy. Add the nuts and mix until the flour mixture holds together when squeezed. Put aside. (The topping can be prepared up to a week in advance and refrigerated).

For the Crisp
Mix the fruit in a medium-sized bowl and then add the sugar. Taste and adjust for sweetness. (*Note, don’t over sugar the fruit—there’s something quite beautiful about a semi-sweet crisp. Don’t be afraid to let the fruit express itself in its truest form.) Dust the flour over the mixture and stir gently. Spoon the topping into a small cooking dish is just big enough to hold the fruit. Mound a small amount in the center of the dish. Then, gently add the crisp mixture on top. Lightly push the crumble on top of the fruit mixture.

Place a cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven (to catch any overflow juices) and put the crisp dish on top. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the fruit juices are thickened and bubbling. The delicious smell of baked fruit will help you know when it’s close to being ready.

Serve with rum flavored whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Finish the ice cream with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.

Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. Jude
    August 4

    I rarely follow recipes to the letter, making little substitutions here and there. A lot of thought goes into each recipe and I know exactly what you mean by figuring out the thinking of the chef through their recipes. Such a nice summer recipe.

  2. Neal
    August 7

    What a treat this was! Thanks so much, Brooke!

  3. Maria
    August 13

    Looks like the perfect summer dessert. I wish I could have a taste.

  4. Rachel Ducker
    August 15

    This looks really great some crumbles dont actually crumble that much!

    Looks very tasty!

    Duckey x

  5. Seattle Tall Poppy
    August 31

    Do you have an ice cream maker? This rum ice cream from the Chez Panisse Desserts book makes me swoon! A wonderful treat with crumbles…

    Rum Ice Cream
    Chez Panisse Desserts, Lindsey Remolif Shere

    Makes 1 quart

    1 cup milk
    2 cups whipping cream
    2/3 cup sugar
    6 egg yolks
    1/4 cup dark rum

    Heat the milk, cream, and sugar in a non-corroding saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks just enough to mix them and whisk in some of the hot mixture. Return to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring contstantly, until the mixture coats the spoon. Strain into a container and chill. Add the rum, taste, and add a little more if necessary. Freeze according to the instructions with your ice cream maker.

  6. Brooke
    September 1

    Susan, No, I don’t have an ice cream maker…But this recipe makes me want to! I’ll save this delicious sounding ice cream for when I do get one!


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