In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, oats, pecans (if you’re using), salt, and cinnamon.
Then, using a pastry blender or if you’re like me, your hands (I wear disposable food-safe gloves), mix in the butter until the topping looks like little pea-sized pieces.
You can store the topping in a storage container until you’re ready to use it, either in the fridge or freezer, if you plan to keep it more than a few days.
NOTE: I used significantly less butter than the Deborah Madison recipe I referred to in my original crisp post. I think it worked and my kids gave the topping a thumbs up, but feel free to modify amounts in this recipe. A little more butter for a slightly richer topping. A little more or less sugar as your taste buds dictate. Perhaps a variation on flavor – more cinnamon, no cinnamon, cardamom perhaps? Variation is the beauty of a crisp, both in the topping and filling.
This post is focusing on the topping but here’s a quick bit about the filling, I use whatever fruit I have around, mixing it a bit haphazardly with some sugar – 3 or 4 tablespoons for a smallish crisp and a couple tablespoons of flour and some vanilla extract and cinnamon. Again – use your imagination with the flavors and sugar amounts. You can’t really go too far wrong. While rhubarb is still around, try a strawberry rhubarb crisp – that was what my daughter and her friends requested last week and not a bite remained in the pan that evening. And for a small pie size crisp, you'll need about 1 cup of topping. For a larger 9 x 12 pan, probably about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of topping.