Nothing is better than a sweet, juicy ripe peach in the summertime. I combined steel-cut oats in a crust and topping with two of my favorite summer fruits–peaches and blueberries–for a quick and easy “crunch-type” dessert.
Another quick, easy and healthy dessert
The recipe uses a few simple healthy ingredients: quick cooking steel-cut oats, blueberries and fresh peaches. The blueberries are full of phytonutrients, especially anthocyanins–the colorful flavanoid pigments–which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Peaches have carotene (Vitamin A- precursor) and both fruits contain fiber, Vitamin C and trace minerals. The oats have soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. This nutritious “dessert” also makes a good breakfast and snack food, especially paired with yogurt.
Nothing is better than sweet, juicy and ripe peaches. I love their aroma and flavor. Fresh peaches are available in our groceries and farmer markets for a few months in the summer. To find the “perfect” peach a person has to be a little patient and tenacious–unless you have peach tree close to you.
Peaches are a “stone” fruit and can be picked before fully ripened. So the peaches are picked and shipped to grocery markets while still green and hard has a rock. The secret to great tasting peaches is to let them set on a kitchen counter or table (out of direct sunlight), stem side down, for several days while they continue to ripen and soften. Then use the peaches in recipes and eat while they are aromatic, soft and juicy.
To speed things up even more, place the peaches in a paper bag along with a banana. The banana and peaches put out ethylene gas which leads to the ripening.
Watch the peaches daily–they go from ripe to rotten quickly. But even over-ripe peaches can be cooked in desserts, pies, salsas and chutneys.
There are many varieties of peaches–classified as freestones and clingstones. Freestones separate easily from the pit and are best for eating. Clingstones cling to the pit and are good for canning. I purchase the same variety year after year from our neighborhood grocery store and consistently get a good quality. So find a reliable farmer’s market or grocery store.
My favorite are White Flesh Peaches. They are less acidic and sweeter (but are not so great for cooking as they fall apart when cooked). They have a wonderful flavor; a fuzzy peel and are best when sliced and eaten raw.
Peaches don’t grow well in southern Louisiana. The peach trees need a dormant period and it’s not cold enough here. Peaches do grow in Northern Louisiana. I stopped on a trip recently at Ruston, Louisiana, and purchased some Louisiana peaches. They were great.
We still have local blueberries at my neighborhood farmer’s market. So I combined a pint of blueberries with 2 cups of diced peaches for the filling. This combination of equal parts worked well in this recipe. For this version, I peeled the peaches; but if you are using really ripe peaches this probably isn’t necessary.
I discovered steel-cut oats by accident; purchasing them by mistake when searching for quick-cooking oatmeal. They have become a family favorite, adding a nutty, crunchy taste to recipes. The steel-cut oats are finer in texture than oatmeal. When used in a crust and topping, they are crunchy but not as chewy as oatmeal which my family really liked.
Making the Recipe
This recipe is easy to make. I made it several times and finally came up with a version that seemed to have everything balanced. The steel-cut oats, flour, sugar, and a little salt are combined with the margarine. Cut in the margarine with a fork until the size of small peas. Almost there in this photo.This is divided between the crust and topping–two cups for the crust and one cup for the topping. Press the dough into an oiled casserole dish.
Then combine the peaches and blueberries with some sugar and cornstarch and stir to mix. This is poured over the crust and the topping is sprinkled over all.
Then bake until bubbly with a browned crust! That’s it. The blueberries and peaches may not taste completely cooked. That’s okay.
Peach & Blueberry Crunch with Steel-Cut Oat Crust
- Oil for casserole dish
- 2 – 3 ripe peaches, peeled (optional) and diced to make 2 cups
- 1 pint blueberries. washed, sorted and drained
- 1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup quick cooking Quaker Steel-Cut Oats
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
- Vanilla yogurt, ice cream or ice milk for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Oil an 8″ or 9″ square casserole dish.
- Combined the peeled and diced peaches with the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Stir gently to combine and set aside.
- Combine flour, Steel-Cut Oats, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, salt in large bowl and stir to combine.
- With a fork, cut the margarine into the flour/oat mixture until the size of a small pea. Divide the mixture and pat 2 cups into the bottom of the oiled casserole dish for the crust. Save the remaining mixture for the topping.
- Spread the peach and blueberry mixture over the crust in the casserole dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining flour/oats over the fruit for the topping.
- Bake about 30 minutes until the crust and topping are browned and the fruit is bubbly.
- Cut into squares and serve. Best when served hot and served with vanilla yogurt, ice cream or ice milk.
White Peaches. Specialty Produce. specialtyproduce.com/produce/White_Peaches_4194.php
Bluberries. The Worlds Healthiest Foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8