Some of you may have noticed from Instagram or Facebook that I recently vacationed in Oregon. Most of the week was spent on the coast, but I also got to backpack the South Sister outside of Bend, Oregon. On the way home we swung through Portland for a quick sampling of my favorite food spots and an hour in Powell’s bookstore (the “biggest independent new and used bookstore in the world!”) I was giddy with all the fun activities and mostly with all the yummy food I was able to partake.
The Northwest is full of foraged goodies. There are opportunities to go crabbing, clamming, fishing, berry picking, and mushroom hunting. It seems that every time I stop at Powell’s, a book about foraging catches my eye. I didn’t get to hustle my own crab or clams this time, but I was happy to get my fill of seafood from the historic Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Market.
To my delight the house we rented near the ocean was surrounded by marionberry bushes. They were all over! Along the side of the road and in between the all the other houses, as well as at the top of the bluff going down to the beach. I made a point to go out and pick some each day we were there and by the time we drove home there was a cooler packed with them.
I gave some to my mom who made pies. Several marionberries were enjoyed on scoops of vanilla ice cream or with cereal. A few ideas are swirling around on what to do with the rest (most likely freezing or fruit leather.) In the meantime I decided to make a crisp to share with friends this last weekend.
This recipe takes three bowls, but aside from that you can do it all by hand without any special equipment, really. I took inspiration from several recipes and decided to add dollops of cream cheese because why not? It is a simple and summery dessert that highlights the beauty and freshness of hand-picked wild berries.
It is also wheat free, if you care about that sort of thing.
Wild Marionberry Crisp
8 cups fresh or frozen marionberries
2 cups shredded granny smith apples (approximately 2 medium apples)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Dots:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup oat flour (or rolled oats ground into a fine powder using food processor)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, cold chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Rinse marionberries and drain excess liquid. Grate granny smith apples. In a large bowl combine marionberries, shredded apples, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla. Gently fold ingredients together and set aside.
In a small bowl use a spatula to work the cream cheese until smooth. Fold in lemon zest and juice until fully combined.
Combine oat flour, old fashioned oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir with a fork to combine. Cut in the cold chunks of butter. You can use your fingers or a pastry blender. Combine until mixture resembles a course crumb.
Pour the marionberry mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Using a spoon or small scoop dot the top of marionberries with the cream cheese mixture. Spread crumb mixture evenly over the top and place in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or by itself whenever.