Pear Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

November 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Posted in book review, cobbler/crisp/shorties, 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/crisp/shorties, 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/crisp/shorties, 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/crisp/shorties, 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/crisp/shorties, 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!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cran-Apple Crisps

November 10, 2009 at 11:32 am | Posted in cobbler/crisp/shorties, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 24 Comments

cran-apple crisps

Crisps are the perfect mid-week dessert for lazybones like myself…you don’t really “make” them, you just toss them together.  Low effort but high reward– if only everything could be so easy and smell so good!  This particular Cran-Apple Crisp topping has coconut in it, which sounds a tad unusual for something that screams autumn, but I thought it worked really well.  I try not to buy sweetened coconut if I don’t really need to (it’s just too sweet for me), so I used unsweetened desiccated stuff here.  I also swapped a little whole wheat flour for the AP, which I thought complimented the dessert’s rustic nature.

I liked these crisps so much, and they were so quick to throw together, that I did a rare second go-around.  This last time, I added an extra handful of cranberries to the mix.  I just love the tart little bursts of ruby red– tasty and beautiful!

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read The Repressed Pastry Chef, as it was Em’s choice this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

July 22, 2008 at 5:55 am | Posted in cobbler/crisp/shorties, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 49 Comments

cherry rhubarb cobbler

After a quick chocolate fix last week, TWD’s summer fruit theme picks right back up, with Amanda’s (from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake) selection of Dorie’s Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler.  Interestingly (and luckily), rhubarb doesn’t seem to have a season here, and I can find it all year-round at the growers’ markets.  Fresh cherries, however, are out in force at Christmastime and pretty much non-existent right now…so this, my friends, is when I must turn to the glorious bounty of the frozen food aisle if I wanna keep up.  Armed with a bunch of fresh rhubarb and a box of frozen sweet cherries, I thought I was all set to take this cobbler on.

Then d’oh!  I did hit a snag when I saw that the cobbler topping includes whole wheat flour.  Just before we moved into this new apartment, I used up the last of my whole wheat in a pizza crust.  For reasons I’ll get into later when things become more definite, I’ve been hoping to avoid buying any new ingredients that I can’t easily use up in a few months time.  I definitely wanted to include the whole wheat component, as it’s something unique from the other Dorie cobbler we’ve baked, so I decided to make a “homemade” version rather than buy another big bag.  No, I didn’t go out back to the grist mill and grind my own (that thing’s been broken since the mid-1800’s– ha!)…I just subbed half AP flour and half wheat germ, which I did have already, for the amount of whole wheat.

cherry rhubarb cobbler

There were a couple of things I really liked about this cobbler: the cute little rounds of wheaten topping (which I’ll use again, for sure), and the kick from the ground ginger in both the topping and the filling.  There was something about the fruit itself that I wasn’t so crazy about, and it had to do with the cherries.  Maybe I’m just used to sour cherries in cobblers and pies, and don’t care for baked sweet cherries.  Or maybe it’s simply that fresh cherries would have been better than frozen.  Who knows?  I don’t, but maybe I can compare when fresh cherries are in season.

cherry rhubarb cobbler

Look in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Amanda’s post to find the recipe.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll to see what over 200 other people had to say!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Mixed Berry Cobbler

June 24, 2008 at 5:04 am | Posted in cobbler/crisp/shorties, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 46 Comments

mixed berry cobbler

I figure that I’ll have to opt out of a few TWD recipes between the months of June and August.  While it’s prime fruit and berry season up in the Northern Hemisphere, a packet of raspberries or blueberries would pretty much bankrupt me here ($15 for skinny plastic packet of raspberries and $11 for blueberries at my local produce shop– ouch!!).  Beth of Our Sweet Life may have chosen Mixed Berry Cobbler for this week’s TWD recipe, but I’m not SOL just yet becasue luckily Dorie designed this one to use frozen berries.  Those I have plenty of!

mixed berry cobbler

Even though my berry fears were assuaged, I was still a little apprehensive about this recipe.  Lots of TWDers who made it early in the week thought that the topping was bland and disappointing.  Shoot– I didn’t want to be let down, but I was also curious as to what I’d think of it.  I will say that I made one change to Dorie’s ingredient list, and I really only did this because we are moving over the weekend.  She uses heavy cream to bind the cobbler topping together, but I used sour cream.  Even though we’re just moving locally, I’ve been trying hard to use up what I have already, rather than add to the stuff in the fridge.  Anyway, it worked really well as a substitution (and probably gave the topping a flavor-boost as well).  I also sprinkled a little raw sugar over the topping before I popped in the oven.  I like the extra sweetness and bit of crunch it gives, so I almost always do this with pie crusts and cobbler toppings.

Maybe I’m just not that picky, but I really liked the simplicity of this dessert.  I’m sure it would great with a hit of vanilla or cinnamon in the topping, but I thought it was good as is, too.  The biscuit-style crust is buttery and homey, and my berries were just sweet enough to make the whole thing taste like summer.  A little vanilla ice cream doesn’t hurt much either.  And you know what else?  I think it’s really beautiful with the purpley-pink juices running everywhere! 

mixed berry cobbler

One last note:  I only wanted three portions, so I cut the recipe back to one-third the original size and put it in a small (about six-inch) square ceramic baker.  It took just under 40 minutes for the top to be golden and the berries to be bubbly.

Thanks Beth!  As always, the recipe’s in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, but she also has it here on NPR’s website as part of an interview she did for All Things Considered.  And don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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