nourish

Tom McCorkle / The Washington Post

This better-for-you Berry Coconut Crisp takes advantage of summer fruits.

This crisp starts in that tried-and-true style, but its ambrosial coconut topping takes it to another level, bringing an exciting and unexpected dimension.

The tropical ingredient comes into play in more ways than one. Virgin coconut oil moistens the rolled oats, which are the topping’s main ingredient, imbuing them with richness and an unmistakable aroma. A little oil goes a long way, luckily, since coconut oil is an ingredient best used sparingly when cooking with health in mind. (Despite its health halo, it has been shown to be only marginally better than, or on par with, butter in terms of its effects on LDL cholesterol.)

A sprinkle of shredded coconut mixed into the topping drives home the coconut flavor with a toasty chewiness. And, to stick with the theme, coconut sugar is one option you could use as the sweetener for the topping. It’s made from the sap of the coconut palm tree, and it tastes similar to brown sugar, just a bit less sweet. Because it contains some fiber, it gives a slower rise in blood sugar than other sugars do, so it has something of an edge health-wise. It’s a small difference in the scheme of things, though, so feel free to use regular dark brown sugar instead without a second thought.

Seasoned with cinnamon and an enlivening pinch of salt, the topping, true to its name, crisps up beautifully when baked and is a worthy crown for the berries. Serve this crisp simply on its own or topped with a dollop of yogurt, a scoop of ice cream or, to keep it vegan and coconut-themed, some coconut-milk “ice cream.” Whichever way you go, it’s a luscious way to welcome summer.

BERRY COCONUT CRISP

Total time: one hour, plus about 20 minutes cooling time

Servings: 8

Ingredients

¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup dark brown sugar or coconut sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, melted

6 cups mixed fresh berries, larger berries cut to match the size of the smaller berries

½ cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt for serving (optional)

Steps

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Place ¼ cup of the oats in the small bowl of a food processor or a mini-chopper and process until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the ground oats, the remaining ½ cup of rolled oats, the shredded coconut, sugar, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt. Add the coconut oil and use your fingers to work the mixture together, evenly coating it with the oil.

In a medium bowl, toss the berries with the maple syrup, cornstarch and the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Transfer the berries to an 8- by 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the berries and bake for about 35 minutes, until the berries are bubbling, and the topping is crisp and nicely browned.

Let the crisp rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve topped with a scoop of ice cream or yogurt, if desired.

Nutrition | Calories: 196; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 50 mg; Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 20 g; Protein: 2 g.

Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television’s “Ellie’s Real Good Food.” She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.