Good Friends and Raspberry Crisps
When I was in my early 20′s, I was living in Boston and enjoying the fresh-out-of-college phase of my life. One summer, after ending a long-term relationship, I was confronted by the question “now what?” which left me simultaneously a little bit scared, yet also a little bit excited. In times like those I tend to throw myself headlong into my hobbies, and as it happened, I was taking a pottery class. Pottery was the perfect solution for me at that time (to a point) — while at the wheel, I could totally engross myself in the shaping of the form, rather than let my mind wander into emotionally-angsty territory. But, I say “to a point” because even though I’ve never been one to mind my own company, pottery wasn’t exactly the greatest solution for socializing and meeting people post-breakup. Nevertheless, I spent hours on Saturdays in the studio (it was a productive period in my life potterywise!)…and one Saturday, another girl happened to be there as well, and she struck up a conversation with me.
Have you ever met someone who you just instantly know will become a lifelong friend, who you feel like you’ve known for ages even though it’s the first time you’ve met? That was Betsy: she and I spent hours that Saturday laughing, talking like old friends, and learning how much we had in common. I went home that day feeling like Fate had led us both to the studio that afternoon, that our paths were meant to cross.
That summer, Betsy and I and her sister Maggie (who I also became fast friends with) spent lots of time together…we had a mutual love of fresh fruit picking, so we made it a mission to visit as many farms as we could that summer to pick blueberries, raspberries, and apples in the fall. Picking blueberries and raspberries is kind of labor-intensive, so it left us lots of time to talk, and my wonderful friendship with them was born.
One day we took a trip to a farm that had pick-your-own raspberries, and we were so excited to pick quarts and quarts of the raspberries and gorge ourselves on the car trip home.
Well. In our excitement, we practically fell all over ourselves strapping on our “picking equipment” — large plastic yogurt containers tied to ropes, which you could hang around your neck — and racing down the path to where the raspberry bushes were. The farm was pretty empty that day, but as we approached the raspberries, we saw a woman and her three children marching out of the rows of berry bushes with LIKE FOUR CONTAINERS EACH AROUND THEIR NECKS, brimming over with raspberries! I mean really, they had to have picked at least 10 pounds of berries, IF NOT MORE. We eyed their overflowing containers, and the oddly devoid-of-fruit raspberry bushes, and got nervous. And then, I still remember her cheerfully calling out to us “Oh, there’s not really too many berries left!” as we gawked at the pounds and pounds of raspberries they were carting out. Gah! So that day, we only ended up with a measly pint or quart apiece…just enough to last the car ride home. But, it was fun to giggle about, and it just strengthened our resolve that we’d find another farm that still HAD raspberries, and we’d scheme up a plan to get there before they were completely gone.
That summer of berry and fruit picking led to Betsy and Maggie becoming my closest friends, to this day. Sweet Maggie (who has the most infectious laugh of anyone I’ve ever met) and I had a lot of fun sharing an apartment for a few years, before I met B, got married, and moved to Ithaca.
And even though we don’t live close to each other anymore, whenever I pick up a batch of raspberries at the farmer’s market (these were gorgeous black, purple and red raspberries from Daring Drake Farm), I always think of my two dear friends and that summer of picking fruit…so Betsy, Maggie, these crisps are for you. Wish we could share them in person!
Individual Raspberry Crisps
an Eggs on Sunday original
For the filling:
4 cups mixed raspberries
1/4 cup sugar (or you can add a little more, depending on how sweet the raspberries are and your tastes)
2 tablespoons flour
For the topping:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup flour (can use all-purpose or white whole wheat)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss together the filling ingredients and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until juices start to form. Divide among 4 individual 1-cup ramekins.
In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the melted butter with a fork, until clumps form. Sprinkle the topping over the tops of each of the ramekins, and place the ramekins on a sheet pan (to catch any drips while they bake.)
Bake for about 30 minutes (check them around 20-25 minutes), until the filling is bubbly and the crumb topping is golden brown and crisp. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving; serve with a scoop of ice cream or softly whipped cream.
Makes 4 servings.