In another post, I shared an excerpt from the chapter “The Cat Knew the Way” in my memoir, Amish Girl in Manhattan. It’s about one of my earliest memories: trekking off to the blackberry patch in the neighbor’s woods when I was 6 years old.

(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)

Today’s post is inspired by this memory in the form of a recipe that one of my Amish aunts gave me. I don’t know for sure, but it could be the exact same recipe that my mother used to make the fruits (literally!) of our labor in that chapter’s story.

Here’s the recipe, along with where to buy the blackberries if you can’t pick them yourself or find them at . . .

. . . a farmers’ market.

Blackberry Crisp

1 c. flour 
1 c. oatmeal 
1/2 c. butter 
1/2 c. sugar 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. salt 


Put one layer on the bottom, then the blackberry filling in the middle and another crust on the top.

If you’re like me, you’ll think, “Filling? How did that sneak in there? I didn’t see it in the ingredient list!”

Welcome to Amish Cooking 101. Let this be your first Amish recipe secret from me: Never assume that the ingredient list, or the instructions for that matter, are complete. Cuz, as you can see here, there isn’t a peep about baking this thing. Are we supposed to just eat it raw?

To finish this, here’s a fruit filling recipe I like, along with baking instructions for the whole dish:

Blackberry Filling

5 to 6 c. blackberries - for frozen berries, defrost & drain them

1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar - depending on how sweet you want this to taste

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

pinch of salt

4 to 6 tablespoons cornstarch, arrowroot powder (gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, cornstarch substitute), or flour 


Put blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, spices, and cornstarch/flour in a large bowl. Gently fold the berries until they are all well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Bake 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Sadly, there’s still at least one critical piece of information missing before you can eat this crisp. If you’re a pro at cooking or baking, you might not even notice the missing info. But if you’re new or just really curious, email me (or reply via the e-newsletter you got) and I’ll let you know.

Happy eating! 🙂

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Watch the Video

Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.

To education and children’s rights,
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation –
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