Friday, November 29, 2013

Fruit Crisps

One of my favorite desserts is a Fruit Crisp. Living in California, there are so many fruits available nearly year round to choose from: nectarines, peaches, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, plums, apples.....and in any combination. I love these desserts because they are a great way to enjoy fruit, and are so easy to make. They are simply fruit plus a streusel topping, then baked until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is a nice golden brown. What could be better?

There are a few variations of the "crisp". A "crumble" is very similar while a "cobbler" uses a flour-based covering over the fruit. I prefer crisps and crumbles because of the addition of nuts and oats. I think those compliment the fruit the best.  Flour just seems to weigh it all down.

I once watched an Ina Garten episode on the Food Network where she made a "Plum Crumble" that sounded divine. I've made it a few times, sometimes varying the topping a bit. I cut the recipe in half because there are only 2 of us here. This is the full recipe. At this time of year you could substitute apples if you wish, depending on where you live. We can still get plums here in California. Our apples aren't quite ready yet.

Plum Crumble

3 lbs. plums
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup flour* (this helps thicken the sauce)
6 Tbsp. cassis (or any liqueur that compliments the fruit). Sub Calvados if you're using apples; Kirsch if you're using cherries; etc.

Mix together and put into a 12" x 8" baking dish.

1 1/2 cups flour**
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup oats
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 sticks cold butter, diced

Mix the topping ingredients in a food processor until crumbly.

Cover all the fruit with the topping, making clumps, otherwise it might dissolve into the fruit.

Bake 30 minutes at 375 F until topping is golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa.

*If you're on a gluten free eating plan, substitute 1 Tbsp. corn starch (preferably organic, as corn is largely genetically modified in America) by mixing it in with the cassis.

**For a gluten-free option, you can use tapioca flour here.

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