Monday, April 11, 2011

Fruit Crisp

I'm not a big dessert lover.  Don't get me wrong -- I do enjoy desserts.  But I'm more of a main-course kind of girl.  Still, I hadn't baked anything in a while and I wanted to mix up my kitchen routine.  I was debating between a chocolate pudding tart and a strawberry rhubarb crisp, both from Barefoot Contessa's new (and awesome) cookbook, "How Easy is That?"  I posted up the inquiry on Facebook and the tart was the winner! 

Rhubarb isn't readily available right now, so I figured out a different fruit combination.  THEN I had a fruit disaster at Whole Foods!  They didn't have fresh peaches and when I got home, I saw that half of my raspberries and half of my strawberries were moldy or rotten.  DISLIKE.  So I had to pull some of my frozen fruits out of the freezer, and it still ended up working out great!  I've made a strawberry rhubarb crisp in the past and it's a fantastic combination.  Because these fruits are a little sweeter, and because they were frozen, the recipe had to be adapted a little bit.  But it's a warm, yummy dessert that is satisfying without feeling sinful. 

8 cups fruit total (I used a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, and frozen peaches, all in about equal portions)
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest (optional if using combo of very sweet fruits like I did)
1 tbls cornstarch (if you are using frozen fruit, use a bit more cornstarch, perhaps another 1/2 tbls)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or the juice from the orange and the lemon you zested)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Toss your fruit with 1/2 cup of the sugar and the zests in a large bowl.  In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the fruit juices, then mix it into the fruit.

Pour the mixture into a 8x11-inch baking dish and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

To make the crumbly topping, combine the flour, remaining sugar (1/2 cup), brown sugar, salt, and oatmeal together with a spoon or your hands.  Add the diced butter into the bowl and use your fingers to incorporate it into the dry ingredients.  As a point of reference, it's kind of like you're pinching the chunks of butter or smearing the butter into the flour mixture.  You can use a fancy mixer too, if you like.  It should end up being a moist and crumbly topping.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, making sure to cover the entire fruit surface with the crumbly topping.

Bake for one hour, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden.  Serve with ice cream and a sprig of mint, or just eat it up for a Sunday lunch.......what, I don't do that....

***Now which do you prefer -- a chocolate-based dessert, or a fruit-based dessert??***

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