Concord Grape and Peanut Butter Crumble

October 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, sweet things | 5 Comments
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concord grape and peanut butter crumble

Concord grapes are one of the highlights of fall in the Northeast.  Every autumn, I’m sure to make a pie and a batch of jam from them.  Thinking about what else I could do with the purple-blue beauties, a crumble seemed like the next logical experiment.  A peanut butter crumble, of course.

I prepped the fruit for the crumble in much the same way I do when I make the pie.  It sounds a bit tedious to seed the grapes one-by-one, but it’s only about a quart of grapes, so it doesn’t take too long.  It’s one of those zone-out prep tasks that’s really worth the step.  After a stint in the oven, the fruit bakes up jammy and deeply purple and the crumble topping tastes like peanut butter cookies.  This one’s definitely added to the annual list.

Concord Grape and Peanut Butter Crumble- serves 4-6

Steph’s Notes:  You can mess around with this crumble topping a bit if you want or need to.  For instance, you can sub AP flour for the whole wheat or chunky PB for smooth. And if you don’t have peanut butter powder, just leave it out.

for the crumble topping
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick)
1 tbsp peanut butter powder
2 tbsp coarsely chopped peanuts
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt (bigger pinch if your peanuts are unsalted)
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter (I used a “natural” one)

3 tbsp (1.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted

for the fruit mixture

4 cups stemmed concord grapes (about 1 1/4 pounds), rinsed well and patted dry
1/4 cup+ 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 T cornstarch
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice

-Start by making the crumb topping.  Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl, then stir in the peanut butter and the melted butter.  It will resemble a soft peanut butter cookie dough, but after chilling briefly, you’ll be able to break it into clumps.  Put the topping in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the fruit filling.

-For the filling, slice grapes in half and remove the seeds.  As you work, put the seeded grapes (and their skins, which tend to easily slip off–don’t worry about it) into a large sieve set over a medium bowl.  Drain off grape liquid, saving 2 tablespoons.

-Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt in another medium bowl to blend.  Mix in drained grapes, reserved juice and squeeze of lemon juice.

-Put the fruit mixture in the bottom of a greased ceramic or glass baking pan, approximately 8-9″ in diameter.

-Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the fruit mixture, breaking it up into clumps and crumbles.  Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-40 minutes, turning at the halfway point.

-Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Strawberry Shortcakes, Franco-American Style

June 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Posted in BCM, cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 22 Comments
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strawberry shortcakes, franco-american style

I grew up in Virginia, where strawberry shortcakes are definitely made with biscuits.  My husband grew up on Long Island, where he’s said he’d only ever had them with spongecake.  Should strawberry shortcake be a biscuit or spongecake?  To each her own, I guess…the star of this show is really the fruit more than the vehicle anyway.  With Bastille Day coming up, we TWDers put a Franco-American twist on the spongecake version and gave homemade ladyfingers a try.  It’s a softer concoction than the biscuit version I’m used to but it’s delicious, as anything with strawberries and cream really should be.

Hubs and I had a little u-pick fun (at least I thought it was fun!) on a recent trip to the farmlands and beaches on the North Fork.  The fresh strawberries we brought home were beauties, each one carefully chosen before going into the box.  But– my love of roasted strawberries has been documented here already.  If you are looking for a saucy berry, they are more intense and delicious when roasted than any stove-cooked strawberry sauce I’ve ever made.  I used a combo of the fresh and the roasted for my shorties.

i want to eat all the strawberries!

You can fancy up the presentation and pipe on your whipped cream with a star tip.  I just scooped it on and let the berries run down the sides.  I used a golden spoon though, just so you don’t think I’m not classy!  For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Raspberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Almonds

June 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, sweet things | 9 Comments
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raspberry-rhubarb crumble

Have you already moved on from rhubarb for the year?  I haven’t– it’s one of my absolute favorites, and I’m happy to pick up a pound from the Greenmarket every week till it disappears.  Right now, I’m in that glorious overlap moment when I can find rhubarb and raspberries at the same time.  Why is strawberry-rhubarb the combo that gets all the love?  Raspberry-rhubarb bakes up deliciously.  Raspberries are often less sweet than strawberries, but I’ve always liked to keep my rhubarb desserts on the tart side anyway.  And that hot pink color…I’d paint my whole house that color if it wouldn’t look like (ummm) questionable things might be going on inside.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m confused about the difference between a crumble and a crisp (I guess we didn’t cover that in pastry school), but I do know that they are both easier than pie- truly- and, I think, just as tasty.  Flipping through Tina Nordstrom’s charming latest book Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking, which is less a tome of traditional Scandinavian recipes and more a collection of tasty things from around the world she likes to cook in her Swedish kitchen, I saw a recipe for Raspberry Crumble with Almonds that I knew would work with the addition of rhubarb (and a bit of extra sugar).  The sweetness of the crumbly (and crisp!) topping balances the fruit nicely.  You can probably further tinker with the recipe quite successfully, if you’d like.  Swap the vanilla flavoring for cardamom, use oats instead of almonds, and so on.  The one thing I wouldn’t mess with, though, is the ball of ice cream on top.  That’s a given, at least at my house.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Almonds- serves 6
adapted from Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking by Tina Nordström

Steph’s Notes:  The original recipe in the book is for a straight-up raspberry crumble.  If you want to make this without the rhubarb, use 500g raspberries (fresh or frozen) and cut back both the white sugar and the vanilla sugar in the fruit by half (leave the topping as-is).  If you don’t have vanilla sugar, replace with an equal amount of granulated sugar and a dash of vanilla extract.  I like to keep the fruit on the tart side, since the topping’s quite sweet, but if you know you’d like your rhubarb sweeter, add up to a couple of extra tablespoons of sugar to the fruit mixture.

for the crumb topping
3/4 cup, plus 1 1/2 tbsp (115 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (100 g) coarsely chopped or slivered almonds
1/2 cup (100 g)
 granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 1/3 tbsp (75 g) unsalted butter, room temp

for the fruit mixture

about 1/2 lb (250 g) rhubarb, cut into 1″ lengths
about 1/2 lb (250 g) raspberries, fresh or frozen
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla sugar

-Start by making the crumb topping.  Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl, and use your fingers to mix it all together with the butter.  I like a combination of some clumps and some sandy crumbs.  Put the topping in the fridge or freezer while you preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

-For the filling, toss the rhubarb pieces, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla sugar directly in the bottom of a greased ceramic or glass baking pan, 8-10″ in diameter (22-24 cm).

-Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the fruit mixture.  Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-40 minutes, turning at the halfway point.  If you notice that your topping is browning too quickly, turn the heat down to 350°F for the remainder of the baking time.

-Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

Please note that the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, sent me a copy of this book.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Johnnycake Cobbler

August 20, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 24 Comments
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johnnycake cobbler

I made Johanne Killeen’s Johnnycake Cobbler twice, both times with peaches and red currants.  The first time, I thought the biscuit layer was too thick and the fruit was getting lost underneath all that cornmeal topping.  So I tried again, reducing the topping ingredients by a third.  Now the cobbler to fruit ratio was in much better proportion.  Even with less biscuit on top, in order to get it cooked through, I still had to bake the cobbler for several minutes longer than the recipe stated.

I should warn you that the johnnycake topping uses lots of cream.  Like lots.  I just couldn’t do it– both times, I used a combo of milk and sour cream to replace it (essentially making a higher fat buttermilk-type liquid).  I’m sure it was less rich than the original, but at least I could justify having a little scoop of ice cream alongside.

I’ve been seeing plums at the market, so I’ll probably be giving this a third try soon!

peaches and red currants, about to be cobbled

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s also a video of Nancy and Johanne making the cobbler together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Sour Cherry and Pistachio Crisp

July 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, sweet things | 9 Comments
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sour cherry and pistachio crisp

Cherry season is preciously short, and, where I live, it’s right now.  It’s probably nearing the end of the road for them, actually, as all things fruity seem to appearing and disappearing early this summer (due to the 60° winter we had, no doubt).  I’m going to the greenmarket tomorrow to find more tart red jewels before they go bye-bye till next year.

I’m deciding these days that I find crisps to be as satisfying as pie, but with a lot less effort.  Perhaps that makes them slightly more satisfying?  Sounds lazy, but prepping cherries is a labour of love as it is (and usually leads to a t-shirt covered in red speckles) so I’m happy not to also deal with the clean-up involved in making crust.  Soft fruit with a crispy topping of oats and brown sugar is hard to beat anyway.  I’m also digging this combination of sour cherries and pistachios, but some roughly chopped almonds would be a fine stand-in if you don’t have the pistachios on hand.

sour cherry and pistachio crisp

Sour Cherry and Pistachio Crisp- serves 8
adapted from

Steph’s Notes:  I made a half recipe in a smaller baking dish.  It took less time to bake than the full recipe did, about 35 minutes in total, and I turned the oven down to 325°F for the last 10 minutes to keep my topping from getting too brown.

1 3/4 pounds pitted fresh or frozen sour cherries
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch (increase to 2 1/2 tsp if you like your filling a little more tight)
pinch of ground cinnamon

-Preheat oven to 375°F.  If using frozen cherries, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature until cherries have thawed almost completely but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes.  Drain off any accumulated liquid.  If you are using fresh cherries, just stem and pit them and you are good to go.

-Whisk together the pistachios, flour, oats, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside.  Put butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until creamy…this is not hard to do by hand with a wooden spoon, if you choose.  Stir pistachio mixture into butter mixture until just combined.  Work mixture through your fingers until it forms coarse crumbs ranging in size from small peas to gum balls.  Chill topping in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.  You can even make the topping the day before and hold it in the fridge.

-Stir together cherries, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the cornstarch, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.  Transfer cherry mixture to an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over cherry mixture.  Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, 50 minutes to 1 hour, turning at the half-way point.  If you notice that your topping is browning too quickly, turn the heat down to 325°F for the remainder of the baking time.  Let cool on a wire rack 1 hour before serving.  A little ice cream on top is a fine idea.

Pear Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

November 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Posted in book review, cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, sweet things | 21 Comments

pear crisp with oat streusel topping

I think we’re officially in the thick of it…the season of overindulgence, that is.  For me, it began with a bag of leftover Halloween candy.  Before it ends in a pair of Pajama Jeans, I need to keep moderation at least somewhere in mind.  Seems that a copy of a new book called Cooking Light Way to Bake fell into my hands at just the right time.  I could use a little lightening up for everyday baking at this time of year, and the thing I appreciate about Cooking Light’s recipes is that they focus on getting the most out of a restrained amount “real” ingredients rather than using weird substitutions.

This book has lots of how-to’s and runs the gamut of baked stuff– cookies, cakes pies, breads– and a few non-baked things, like pudding and pancakes, too.  I am absolutely drooling over the photo of Sweet Potato-Buttered Rum Flan, but I’m starting with a pear crisp, because it’s fall and a fruit crisp sounds good right about now.  Baked pears are a nice change from apples here, although I am sure you could switch the two if you wanted to.  I dotted the pears with dried cranberries.  The streusel topping is loose because there’s not a ton of butter and sugar to hold it together in clumps, but it is indeed crisp and very oaty.  I’m sure a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top would be the jam here, but in keeping with a lighter touch, I topped this with a spoon of honey-sweetend nonfat Greek yogurt.

So, before I give you the recipe…I promised you a giveaway.  The nice folks at Oxmoor House sent me a copy of this book, and they want to send one of you one, too.  Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before noon on Wednesday (November 23) and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you!

***Giveaway Winner Update:  I used to generate a random comment number to find the winner.  It selected comment 20, so congratulations to Susy of Everyday Gourmet.  I’ll be contacting you soon!***

Pear Crisp with Oat Streusel Toppingmakes 8 one-cup servings
adapted from Cooking Light Way to Bake by the editors of Cooking Light Magazine

for the fruit:
7 3/4 cups cubed Bartlett or Anjou pears
1 cup golden raisins or other dried fruit
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
cooking spray

for the topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

-Preheat oven to 375°F.

-To prepare the fruit, combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

-To prepare topping, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and dash of salt in a small bowl; stir to combine. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles very coarse meal. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over pear mixture. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned on top.

Please note that the publisher, Oxmoor House, sent me a copy of this book.

cooking light book cover

Tuesdays with Dorie: Stonefruit Crumble

August 16, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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stonefruit crumble

This was supposed to be a Tropical Crumble with mangoes and bananas, but like I mentioned when I made jam, I have apricots and plums up the wazoo right now.  So this became a Stonefruit Crumble instead, with apricots and yellow plums (look, I kept the colors similar!), and a little red plum ice cream for good measure.  I tried to keep my version along the same lines as the original, flavoring the fruit with ginger and citrus, but since my fruits were small and soft, I didn’t pre-cook my filling before baking the crumble and I added a sprinkling of flour to the fruit mix to help thicken the juices.

Does anyone know if theree’s technically a difference between a crisp and a crumble??  Maybe there is, because my topping wasn’t as crunchy as I thought it would be.  It had pecans, brown sugar and butter (cut back from the original recipe by a couple of tablespoons), so it wasn’t bad, but it did just kind of meld into the smooshiness of the baked fruit.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Laws of the Kitchen, as it was Gaye’s turn to pick again.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp

April 12, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 53 Comments
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strawberry-rhubarb double crisp

We’re in that weird in-between time of year when there really isn’t any good fruit here.  The rhubarb has still not made its long-awaited (for me anyway) appearance at my Greenmarket, and the leftover apples just look like they’ve been banging around in storage for the last few months.  This Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp is so tasty that I wanted to make it again this past week before TWD posting, filled with whatever, but I couldn’t find any fruit that really spoke to me.  Luckily, I do have a crisp to show you…one that I made at the end of last May, when the rhubarb was still around and the strawberries were red through and through.  The combination made for an intensely colored and flavored fruit filling.

If you’d like to know what the heck a “double crisp” is, it’s a crisp with a topping AND a crust…so that makes it double good.  In addition to the usual suspects like oats and nuts, this crisp mix has a gingery zip to it, which I king of dug, but if it’s not your thing, simply leave it out.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here on NPR’s site) or read Teapots and Cake Stands, as it was Sarah’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Devilish Shortcakes

November 30, 2010 at 12:01 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 19 Comments

devilish shortcakes

I had a quick thought of skipping these Devilish Shortcakes and this week’s TWD.  Then on Sunday, after the last of our Thanksgiving pie had disappeared, my husband asked what we’d be having for dessert.  Seems as though someone’s not worried about putting on extra holiday pounds!

I’d never made chocolate shortcake biscuits before (never even thought about chocolate shortcakes before), and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.  Fruit and chocolate combos aren’t usually too appealing to me, and anyway the berries right now look downright sad.  But then I found a sudden burst of inspiration sitting on my counter– a banana!  I caramelized banana slices with a little brown sugar, added a spoonful of peanut butter to my whipped cream, and grabbed a handful of salty peanuts and two baked shortcakes.  Bingo!

The photo is a little…well…unappetizng, but these were good.  It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate, peanuts and bananas, I guess.  The shortcakes themselves weren’t very sweet, so I was glad I’d caramelized the fruit.  I have a few more shortcakes in the freezer, so I’ll be looking through the TWD Blogroll for some more ideas for what to do with those.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or Love Big, Bake Often, as it was Tania’s pick of the week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Tender Shortcakes

June 8, 2010 at 1:10 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, sweet things | 33 Comments

tender shortcakes

My first job out of college was in finance.  It kinda boggles my mind that I was able to get that job, and boggles it even more that I was able to stick with it for six years.  Anyway, the guys who worked on the trading desk would size up and dole out nicknames to every new person who came through.  Some were just goofy riffs on a person’s real name, some were looks or personality-based, some were funny and some were evil.  Whether or not you liked the name you were rechristened with, you had to be prepared to answer to it because you were stuck with it for the rest of your time there.  Thankfully, they liked me…my reddish hair and willingness to bring them baked goods earned me the nickname “Shortcake.”  From time to time I still see some of these guys, and they still call me Shortcake.

I had been planing to my namesake dessert this summer, even before Cathy of The Tortefeasor chose these Tender Shortcakes for TWD.  I had originally wanted to use a recipe that incorporated buckwheat flour, because it sounded a little interesting and I’ve had a bag of buckwheat flour in the fridge for some time now.  That’s easy enough to do with any recipe though, so I simply swapped out 25% of the AP flour in Dorie’s recipe for buckwheat flour.

I was a little nervous to make these shortcakes, because they are really biscuits afterall, and my last foray into biscuitdom was a bit of a personal letdown.  These turned out much better, thankfully!  And true to their name, they were so tender, I had to really be careful when splitting them in half.  FYI, the recipe yielded more than I expected.  I halved it, thinking it would make five shortcakes based on the serving amount listed, but I really got eight.  That’s fine…R and I have no problem eating extra shortcakes with strawberries and cream.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read The Tortefeasor.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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