As I continue on with our cooking blog series, I decided to stay with desserts again this week as a change of pace from the grilling. Last week I decided to go more decadent with the chocolate. This week I decided to lighten it up and make use of the wonderful summer fruits we have available here in the Bay Area. The following recipe is a simple fruit crisp that lends itself to many variations. I will instruct you how to engineer the basics and also show where you can add your own design changes to suit your tastes.
I chose to go with an apple crisp, but this is the first area that you can do some altering. Any fruit that has some body to it can be used, such as apricots or peaches. You would just need to keep an eye on the cooking time and adjust as needed.
Fresh Apple Crisp:
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 5-7 Granny Smith apples cut into ¼ inch wedges
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and let cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, spices and brown sugar. Add the oats and almonds to the flour mixture and then slowly stir in the melted butter until everything is combined well. Another area you can adjust in the recipe is to change out the almonds for another nut, such as pecans.
Toss the apples in the lemon juice and then sprinkle them with the sugar and arrange them evenly in a medium sized glass baking dish. Cover the peaches with the oat topping mixture evenly. You can also divide the apples between 4 individual ramekins and cook as individual desserts. By doing this, you can actually split the topping mixture and add additional items to create a little something different in each dish. You can also use different types of fruits this way, as the topping will work well with most any fruit.
Cook the dessert in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until it starts to bubble. Remember that different fruits will have different cooking times. You want the fruits to be soft, but not completely cooked until they become mushy.
I serve this crisp while it is still warm and I think it is best when topped with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. The clean simple taste of the vanilla allows the flavors of the fruits and cinnamon come through. You can cut down on the calories and sugars by using a fresh yogurt in place of the ice cream, but by this point in the meal, if you have already decided on having dessert; a few extra cheats should be okay.