Monday, May 25, 2009

A Forgotten Dessert

The block party was a huge success and everybody had a great time. New neighbors were introduced, old neighbors swapped gossip...I mean stories, and children ran around playing games like hide-and-seek and eating way too many sweets. Miss Della brought out her chocolate fountain, and my oldest son, by the end of the evening, had managed to wipe his chocolate-smeared face with the back of his hand and then his t-shirt. Another neighbor boy, sticky and oozing s'more in hand, informed his mother that he was heading into our house to watch TV with our kids. Um...I don't think so. I just washed my WHITE couch's slipcover (due to an unnoticed bleeding knee incident, but that's another story altogether). There were two boxes of mini red velvet cupcakes brought from a gourmet cupcake bakery (and I don't even want to know how many of those my kids ate), in addition to all the cookies, the caramel corn and rice crispy treats. Suffice it to say, there were plenty of desserts packing the tables and I forgot to bring out my berry crisp. A minor tragedy that ended up being a boon because I will just bring it to my mom's house for dessert tonight.

I'm pretty picky when it comes to crisps. In the fall, I prefer the crumbs to have lots of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and oats, which are a perfect compliment to fall fruits like apples and pears. But with spring and summer fruits, I never, ever use oatmeal or brown sugar because the flavors seem too heavy and earthy for the delicate nature of rhubarb, berries, cherries, peaches and plums. So this is my spring/summer crisp recipe. It is almost cobbler-like, and tastes much like a crunchy sugar cookie that is lying atop a luscious sweet-tart sea of molten berries. Vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream is a must. It's adapted from a recipe by Marion Cunningham in my much loved and consequently much splattered Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

Summer Fruit Crisp
serves 6

4 C spring or summer fruits (berries, stone fruits)
1/4 C sugar
1 T corn starch
1 t lemon zest
pinch of salt

1 C flour
1 C sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss fruit (I used blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) with sugar, cornstarch, pinch of salt and lemon zest. Pour into a greased 8 inch baking dish.

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add egg and stir with a fork or mix with your fingers until coarse, shaggy crumbs appear. Sprinkle over fruit in pan and then pour over melted butter, spreading with the back of a spoon or your fingers. Bake for 20-30 minutes until deep golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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