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Archive for March, 2010

Blueberry-Blackberry Crumble

Blueberry-blackberry crumble, fresh from the oven.

This is the easiest dessert I’ve ever made. All that’s in it is fresh fruit, sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon. Hello.

It’s also one of the best I’ve ever made, partly because that, for the lack of effort that went into the dish, the result was awesome. I think it should be my signature dessert, the one that I can “oh, I’ll just throw something together” make.

The recipe comes from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis, a book that’s all about using simple preparations for high quality ingredients to make them actually taste like themselves.

The blueberry-blackberry crumble was no exception. I made this for a get-together of food-loving gals, and we all agreed that it just really tasted like fruit—flavors not hidden, but enhanced. There were only five of us, but we managed to eat the entire dish I made of this stuff, which I consider no small feat. We just couldn’t stop eating it! Which, I think, is the sign of a soon-to-be signature dessert.

Fresh berries mixed with sugar.

I made this in a 13 by 9 baking dish instead of a gratin dish out of necessity (anyone want to buy me a gratin dish?). Not sure I would do that again. The recipe calls for the topping to be “heaped” on top of the fruit, and because I had such a large surface area in my dish, my topping was spread, not heaped. So after pulling it out of the oven, them jumping immediately into 45-minute LA traffic jam to get to my friend’s house, the topping had sunk into the fruit. It was sad. I could barely look at it. Fortunately, about a half hour later, we discovered that while it looked sad, it tasted great. And my fellow diners were nice enough to tell me that they preferred the topping sunk in “because sometimes you think you’re getting a berry but you’re getting a hunk of dough!” which apparently was a good thing.

Anyway. I wouldn’t suggest driving like a nut with a dish of this on the seat of your car unless it’s cooled. That being said, I’m hungry for some. Maybe I’ll just throw one together…

Blueberry-Blackberry Crumble
From A Platter of Figs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, in small pieces
3 pints blueberries
3 pints blackberries
½ cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the butter and work it in with your fingertips until you have a crumbly mixture.

In another bowl, toss the blueberries and blackberries with the granulated sugar. Pile the sugared fruit into a large gratin dish or two pie plates. Mound the topping over the fruit.

Bake for an hour, or until the topping is nicely browned. Cool for 15 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche or just eat it plain like we did.

Enjoy!

Mmmm...can you smell the warm cinnamon? I can!

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Buttermilk Pancakes

What could be better than fresh, fluffy pancakes for a weekend breakfast? Bacon? Yeah, maybe, but these are awesome too!

I always seem to have buttermilk in my fridge. Leftover from whoopie pies, I’m sure. But I don’t know, but I swear, I never buy it, and I always have a carton that’s not expired. It must breed in there, like the tiny moths that always get into our panko flakes in the cupboard.

So to use up this mysteriously duplicating buttermilk, I make pancakes. Maybe, someday, a rustic buttermilk cake. But for now, pancakes are just fine. The buttermilk makes these rich but delicate and fluffy, with little pockets that the maple syrup sinks into. I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the recipe, because I just love a hint of vanilla, but it’s optional. The original recipe is pretty darn good as well.

Last time I made these I was pretty sure I used up the last of the leftover buttermilk, but I just looked, and it’s still in there. I guess the fairies who put my socks in my sous-chef’s drawer so I can never find a matching pair give me half-full cartons of buttermilk in return. That’s fair.

Buttermilk Pancakes
From Gourmet

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Vegetable oil for brushing griddle

The fixins. Check out the cute mini-whisk I got for Christmas! (Thanks, Mom)

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, egg, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth.

Heat a griddle or a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot enough to make drops of water scatter over its surface, then brush with oil. Working in batches and using a 1/4-cup measure filled halfway, pour batter onto griddle and cook, turning over once, until golden, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to a heatproof plate and keep warm, covered, in oven if you want to eat weekend breakfast as a family, or pick your favorite family member and serve to him/her immediately.

According to Gourmet, the recipe makes 14 3-inch pancakes, but I’ve never been able to force myself to stick to the size limit. I usually get 6 4-inch pancakes.

Yum. Fluffy!

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