Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fruit Crisp




This is one of my favorite go-to desserts from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It's easy, light, appropriate for any season of the year and there's still something special and comforting about it.

It is also a great way of making use of the fruits in your fridge which are not so fresh anymore or which aren't exactly in season, therefore not so sweet and enjoyable as raw fruits.

Juicy, sweet and warm fruit, crunchy oat crisp, topped with the contrastingly cold and creamy topping... All these different textures, plus the aroma of the fruit and the spices...


Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • 5 cups fruit, like peaches, apples, pears, plums, apricots, berries etc., peeled and sliced if/when necessary
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (depending on how sweet the fruits are)
  • 1/2 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon or cloves or 1/4 teaspoon of a combination of all or any of these spices
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut flakes or 1/4 cup of combination of both
  • Vanilla ice cream or mascarpone cheese or whipped cream or clotted cream etc. for topping


Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • For filling, thaw fruit, if frozen. Place fruit in a shallow and big enough baking dish. Stir in the granulated sugar. Set aside.
  • For topping, in a medium bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, flour and spices. Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs (you can do this with your hands or with a pastry blender). Stir in the nuts/coconut. Sprinkle topping over filling.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or till filling is bubbly, fruit is tender (you can test with a toothpick), and topping is golden brown. Serve warm topped with ice cream etc.


Additional points:

  • You can use different fruit combinations for this dessert, depending on the season. My favorite combo for summer is peaches and plums; you can do an apple and pear combo for winter. In both cases you can also add some berries (fresh or frozen); for example I throw in a handful of frozen cranberries (which I buy fresh and freeze around Thanksgiving every year), they are like pops of juicy sourness inbetween the sweet fruits. Make sure though that the fruits you combine have the same kind of softness/firmness, otherwise one may get too mushy while the other stays crunchy during baking; or you can cut the softer fruit in thicker pieces while you slice the firm one more thinly.
  • Try to really use brown sugar for the oat topping. Of course, if you don't have it, you can always substitute it with regular granulated sugar, but you achieve a darker and crunchier topping with brown sugar.

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