Crumbles/Crisps Archive

Thursday, August 22, 2013

almond-crisped peaches + uk book tour

almond crisped peach + mine

I hope, if we are going to continue to be good friends, that we can have an implicit understanding that there is no such thing as too many peach recipes. Not in July, not in August, not in New York, which grows surprisingly good peaches for a Yankee. And I know that as a writer and food person, I’m supposed to be on the lookout for my crutches, my overused ingredients. I should probably lay off the tomatoes, the caramelized onions, the feta, Dijon, strawberries, green beans, white beans and butternut squash. Sheesh, I should show some range! Maybe I will, you know, after peach season is over. Because I’m not done with them yet. I’m not done with summer yet. Maybe it’s this mild August we’ve been having or, I confess, the not-supposed-to-be-but-kinda-has-been fun of having a husband out of a job for the last few months, but once you become a summer person, it’s hard to react with anything but venom when you spy apples and butternut squash at the farmer’s market before Labor Day, as I did this week. How gauche!

butter + peaches + almonds + sugar
halved peaches, some freestone

But, you know, September’s not going to be too terrible. School resumes, which is pretty awesome if you’re three-going-on-four, we’ll all be back to the grind (sigh/yay) and oh, there’s this little trip I’m taking across the pond for a UK book tour.

ground almonds, sugar, butter, and maybe oats

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 1, 2013

peach and pecan sandy crumble

peaches, pecan sandies, crumbled

If you think about it, isn’t it strange that we’ve nominated pie as our iconic summer dessert? Do understand, I say this as someone who frequently daydreams about going around the country and teaching people to make pie with a bare minimum of fuss, because I think the only thing standing between you and someone who effortlessly throws pies together because you heard someone was coming over is someone talking you through it once or twice… But I will also fully admit: pie is a pest. It requires very cold fat to be carefully worked into a floury mix until the pieces are exactly the right size. Too small, your crust is flat and crunchy. Too big, butter pools out and burns, leaving sad, tough flakes for crust. Too warm, the bits go small and absorb into the flour. Too cold, good luck rolling it out! And before you even know if the trouble will be worth it, you’ve got to roll out your crust with no holes or tears or your fruit filling will leak through and permanently glue pie-to-pan. And the fruit! Too thick, your pie cuts freakishly like Jell-O; too thin, it spills out everywhere, leaving a hollow crust in its wake. And don’t even get me started on lattice-tops. They’re for really sick people.

deeply toasted pecans
grinding the toasted pecans and flour

Given all of these high stakes, it’s a wonder we don’t all spend our summers, exclusively extolling the virtues of fruit crisps and crumbles, because they’re pie’s laid-back, easy-breezy sibling, the one whose arrival always brings applause. They give you nothing to carefully roll out; you just messily sprinkle the so-called “crust” over the top of the fruit, which can be thickened or not at all because if you’re not slicing it, who cares if it slumps? (And if the thought of fruit that sighs and puddles out onto a plate isn’t more appealing to you than fruit that stands up straight when you slice it, well, I beg to differ.) And the fat! Instead of asking butter to do the thing it would very least like to do on a hot day — that is, to try to stay cold — you begin by melting it.

melted butter into dry mixture

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 1, 2010

sour cherry pie with almond crumble

sour cherry pie with almond streusel

If there can be no clearer indication that this will be the Summer of Pie at the Smitten Kitchen — as if a 6-week onslaught of galette after pie smackdowns after savory tart built on a platform of tartlets crusted bettys and free-form pretties did not already lead us to that conclusion — my pastry blender broke this week after putting in five very good years. First, one side of it became unglued from the handle and because I am both stubborn and cheap, I’d just hold it in with my thumb while I cut butter into flour. But then the other side came unglued and I ran out of thumbs. So RIP little pastry blender, and Amazon, hurry and bring that new one along, okay?*

sour cherries
pitting and pitting the cherries

If it could have a fitting final act, this would be a fine one, a sour cherry pie I’ve been angling to make for more than three years and have, without fail, missed the painfully short window that sour cherries are available. Not this year. This year the season seems to be stretching on and on, and I couldn’t be more pleased as while sweet cherries make some fine snacking, sour cherries win all prizes in baking.

pitted cherries

Continued after the jump »

Monday, October 12, 2009

breakfast apple granola crisp

breakfast apple granola crisp

As excited as I am to be — slowly, tentatively — back in the kitchen, I seem to be stuck at the beginning, or at least the beginning of the day. I’m fixated on granola and eggy things, breakfast-y quick breads and this thing I made for the sole purpose of eating with my morning yogurt, and I suspect it has everything to do with us feeling almost constantly like we’ve just woken up. And too early, sigh.

apples

Fortunately, the cause is really cute and so we’ve decided to keep him, even if he at the advanced age of three and a half weeks has decided he no longer wants to sleep in those four-hour stretches he had teased us with in his misspent youth. However, I am stubborn and refuse to complain about the sleeplessness because there is nothing more predictable than new parents complaining about sleeplessness, and I hate being predictable. Instead, I have decided to embrace it, thus if I constantly feel like it is breakfast and I need a cup of coffee, then well, breakfast and a cup of coffee we will have.

peelings
cored

Continued after the jump »

Friday, May 8, 2009

rhubarb cobbler

rhubarb cobbler

I am ashamed to admit that I have been quietly bigoted against cobblers for as long as I can remember, the dessert that is, not those dudes that save my shoes from NYC sidewalks. And like so many other baseless biases, my issues were not hinged on actually trying one, but an assumption that there could be nothing good about them. I mean, biscuits and fruit? Biscuits? Why on earth would anyone want to bake a fruit dessert with biscuits on top when they could have thick crumbles, granola-like crisps and don’t even get me started on buckles, clafoutis, grunts, slumps, pandowdys and brown bettys, drool. Biscuits are for salty butter and barbecue and fried chicken, thank you very much.

egg yolk biscuit doughbiscuit doughbiscuitsbrushed with cream, sprinkled with sugar

Well, I am glad I have gotten over my issues, and no surprise here really, it came in the form of an old recipe I found from my current dessert guru fixation, Claudia Fleming. This is the cobbler that could challenge any cobbler-biased ways, and should you already be smitten with them, do know that this might be the best darn baked fruit dessert I’ve ever baked. The biscuit-like topping is amazing — cakey but still light and crisp, flavorful and rich. The rhubarb is tart but softened by the scrape from a fresh vanilla bean and the scent when you let all of this simmer together in your new oven is perfection — and was the most delicious way to break in our new oven.

rhubarbrhubarbvanilla beansrhubarb vanilla bean filling

Continued after the jump »


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