At holiday time we are often pressed to make a dessert to take to a potluck or to serve to guests. A mesquite crisp is easy, delicious and interesting. If your guests are out-of-towners, you can impress them with your knowledge of local food sources.
Start with about a quart of cut-up fruit — the easiest at this time of year is apples or pears. It could even be canned peaches. Sprinkle them with sugar if needed and a little flour to thicken the juice. Then combine in a bowl 1/2 cup mesquite meal, 1 cup raw oatmeal, 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons of soft butter in little bits and distribute it throughout the other ingredients with your fingers. Sprinkle on top of the fruit and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. If you haven’t harvested your own mesquite pods and had them ground, look for mesquite meal at farmer’s markets or on-line.
This recipe is from my new cookbook Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants. It includes about 150 recipes for 23 easily recognized desert plants, including 27 recipes for using mesquite meal.
You can watch me making this with Tucson TV host Mindy Blake at