I’m pretty sure this is a crisp. The oats differentiate it from a crumble which usually just has flour, butter and sugar. I am positive it’s not a cobbler, which would be topped with a leavened crust. Though it’s now considered a standard in American and British baking, the crumble didn’t appear in a cookbook until 1924. Thank you Wikipedia. Now we know.
It takes a lot of dishes to make a crisp, but it doesn’t require the time or skill of a pie. A crisp can be thrown together and baked quickly, and besides that, it really does the fruit justice. Despite it’s near perfect flavor the crisp, and especially the crumble, are humble and not terribly photogenic.
Make this for company–crisps are as easy to consume as to make.
Adjust the lemon juice according to the flavor of your fruit. More lemon for sweeter fruit and less for tart. And then less sugar for a sweeter fruit and more for a tart fruit. It can be hard to wait, but let the pan cool for at least 20 minutes (an hour is better). Because the dish is fairly sweet, serve with barely sweetened whipped cream.
Pear Crisp with Nutmeg
for the fruit
8 small bartlett pears, cored and cut into 1/2″ slices
1 macintosh apple, cored and cut into 1/2″ slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of ground cloves
big pinch of salt
for the crisp
2 sticks cold butter diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large (13″ x 9″) baking dish with the leftover butter wrappers. In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar, flour, zest, juice and spices. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with a paddle, or with your fingers, mix the butter and sugar, and then the oats and flour. Stir until just until the ingredients are combined, into penny-sized chunks.
Pour the fruit into the dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle on the topping and bake for 50 minutes, or until the topping is browned and bubble, or crisp. Cool and serve.
Despite a high of 91 degrees yesterday, summer is quickly becoming a memory, what with football and school. Another sign: MacIntosh apples at the farm market. We have a few apples, but for now we are enjoying the last peaches and tomatoes of summer.
Saturday night menu: roast fluke with tomatoes, peppers, and feta, quinoa, and peach crumble. When we’re feeling lazy green vegetables are the first to go. The fish was fantastic with each flavor striking a distinct note.
The peach crumble was very simple and straightforward, rustic even. The tarragon lends sophistication.
2-3 large ripe peaches
1 cup oatmeal (slightly ground is preferable)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Preheat oven the 350 degrees. Wash and cut peaches into eighths,. Place in a small baking dish and cover the peaches with the tarragon. In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal and butter with your fingers. Add the sugar, salt and spices and crumble over the peaches. Cook until peaches are bubbling and the crumble turns golden brown, roughly 30 minutes. If you can, allow to cool for 10 – 45 minutes. If you are feeling fancy, creme fraiche or lightly whipped cream would be a nice accompaniment.