16 July 2015

An ideal berry crisp

I had begun a mental list of things I wanted to do without my husband-to-be while his brothers swooped him for a "bachelor" weekend. I thought of any movie, drink, or food that could make a 36 hour appearance, but the list felt silly. When I remembered that he also expressed interest in the new documentary about the gay "voice" I abandoned the list. Despite the fact that he'd likely pay me at this point to stop. discussing. centerpiece flowers. right. now., we like to do most things together.

When a surplus of cherries and blueberries bought for their trip returned home, I noted: berry crisp! on a scratchpad. So today I'm sharing this crisp. It's a go-to. The filling is adapted from Heidi Swanson's 'tutti fruity' filling and isn't too sweet. Berries are already sweet. You don't want them cloyingly so. A little red wine is a weapon in that department.  It is one of the easiest desserts you can make in the summer.

I learned  last fall, after a few apple crisps sourced around the Internet, that one size does not fit all. Just because apples are baked down with a crumble topping it does not a good crumble make. I experienced a goldilocks effect with the three I'd tried and even thought I was 'not that into' apple crisp at one point... until I found the one! And good thing, because I don't think it's possible to not be into apple crisp : )

The difference included education on the crumble/crisp science and using the right apples. In the end, there are some secrets to keeping the topping, as I like it, crispy, and I think the trick is in the baking powder. The other key is to let it cool down before serving. The last time I made this we ended up waiting a good 3 hours after it came out of the oven, which makes it an ideal thing to make slightly ahead. A dollop of lightly whipped cream of creme fraiche alongside is a nice finishing touch.

Summer Berry Crisp
Serves about 4. I've cut in half for 2 : )
Filling adapted from Super Natural Everyday, Topping adapted from Rock Recipes. Berries are totally customizable.
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup spelt flour (or use all all-purpose)
1/2 cup rolled oats
scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp  baking powder
Few swipes lemon zest
small pinch of salt
6 Tbsp cold, cubed salted good butter
1 1/2 teaspoons all-natural cornstarch
2 1/2 Tablespoons ( 3/4 oz) natural cane sugar or muscovado sugar
2 1/4 cup of berries – a mix of ripe, pitted cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb etc.
~scant 2 Tbsp jammy red wine, like port or a fruity pinot noir

Heat the oven to 360 and lightly grease a ceramic or glass baking dish of about 8.” A small-ish oval baker is a good size. Begin by making the filling. Stir together flours, salt, oats, zest, baking powder and sugar. Pinch in butter with fingers until incorporated into a mass. Don’t overwork. It should look like a rough cookie dough ball. Place in fridge while you make filling.
In a large bowl stir cornstarch and sugar. Toss in fruit, and wait three minutes. Then add the wine and toss again. Transfer berry mixture to prepared dish. Remove topping from fridge and break off pieces the size of your thumb top. Scatter those on top of the berries but don’t press down.
Place in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling. Remove to a wire rack and cool at least 15-20 minutes before scooping servings. Serve alongside creme fraiche, a dollop of whipped cream or the like.

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