Saturday, August 21, 2010

Easy Fruit Crisp

This is a simple and excellent recipe that you will want to keep in your repertoire - as the original recipe says, you can make the crisp topping ahead of time and keep it in your freezer for a last-minute dessert option. Heck, you can even sugar the fruit of your choice and store it in your freezer too.

I love that this truly is a crisp topping, given the semolina (again replacing cornmeal) and ground nut composition that avoids getting soggy. I put the whole batch of topping over a relatively small pan of fruit, so the proportion of topping-to-fruit was just to my liking (read: lots of topping!). For those of you who are curious, this type of dish is called a "crumble" by the French. But if you call it that, you must say "crumble" with a good French accent, to be true to this amazing crumble recipe from real Frenchie Brigitte.

Pick any in-season fruit that bakes well; I chose nectarines, but I was really dying to try figs. I was uncertain of how figs bake up, since their texture is so unique, so I hesitated to make them for my class as this dish was intended. Guess the figs will have to wait. Hmm, maybe with pecans?

Easy Fruit Crisp

6 ripe nectarines, or equivalent volume of fruit of your choice
2 T granulated sugar

3/4 C (105 g) flour
2/3 C (90 g) semolina flour or cornmeal
3/4 C (80 g) almonds or walnuts
1/2 C (110 g) brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 oz (1 stick, 115 g) unsalted butter, well chilled

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Dice fruit, place in a bowl, and stir it together with the 2 T sugar. Let sit to permit the juices to start flowing (called "macerating" the fruit).

In a blender or food processor, pulse the flour, semolina, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until the nuts are in smaller pieces.

Cut the butter in chunks and add to the processor, pulsing until the butter is finely broken up, the mixture no longer looks sandy, and it's starting to stick and clump together.

Place the fruit in a 9 or 10-inch round baking dish, and spread the topping over it. Bake until the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling underneath and can easily be pierced with a sharp knife. Baking time will vary from 30 minutes for softer fruit like nectarines to nearly twice as long for firmer fruits like apples, so check after 30 minutes and then continue to keep an eye on it if you're trying a fruit for the first time.

Serve alone, or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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