Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peach and Blackberry Crisp

It feels less and less like summer everyday here in San Francisco.  In fact, I think summer came and left within a week.  My girlfriends and I always make sunbathing dates but they constantly get cancelled, due to the weather, of course.  So my way of coping with the lack of summer in the foggy city is to make summer inspired foods like this peach and blackberry crisp.

I've been seeing peaches and nectarines everywhere--at the farmers market, at the grocery store, and even at work!  It wasn't until recently when one of my coworkers came in with a huge box of peaches and french plums from the central coast and someone said they were going to make jam that it dawned on me--I should make peach (something).

In all honesty, I haven't been trying as hard as I said I would to cook and explore recipes.  And coincidentally, I have been looking at a lot of cobbler, crisp and crumble recipes (someone please explain to me the differences) involving peaches, plums, and a variety of berries.  So it is with these coinciding events that I decided, "Well, I'll just go ahead and get to baking."

Before I settled on a recipe I did some research.  Some of the delicious recipes that I found included some really unique ingredients like lavender blossoms and orange blossom water (like in the recipe that inspired my version of the crisp).  Being a rookie, I thought it might be a good idea to go for something a little simpler, something that didn't intimidate me--a recipe that in my hands, wouldn't be bound for doom.

101 Cookbooks is probably my recipes blog bible.  For someone like me, who is not an avid baker nor a fan of messy cooking aftermaths, Heidi has several recipes that have yet to fail me in either department.  If you remember a few years back, I made some holiday cookies from recipes that I found on 101 Cookbooks which turned out, in my opinion, spectacular!

In any case, when I cook, and especially when I bake, I try to modify the recipe so that I buy as few ingredients as possible.  There's nothing wrong with Heidi's recipe or any recipe that I follow, it's just more convenient to work with what I have.  It's also great when whatever I'm making turns out delicious because then it becomes my own recipe.

Inspired by 101 Cookbooks:
You will need an 8x8 baking dish or something of an equivalent size
Generously serves 6

1 pound ripe yellow peaches
2  6 oz containers of blackberries 
1/4 cup of wildflower honey (or your favorite kind)
1Tbs + 1 tsp cornstarch (or arrowroot if you prefer)
1 Tbs lemon juice
the zest of one lemon

3/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cups rye flour (or all-purpose/ whole wheat flour if that's what you have on hand)
1/4 cup of wildflower honey (or your favorite kind)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
generous pinch of salt
1/3 cup sweet cream butter (or unsalted), melted
1/3 cup fage (or any plain yogurt) 

Optional: top with homemade vanilla bean ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees

Cut the peaches into 1 inch bite size pieces (Heidi says she cuts them into relatively chubby slices and then cut them again into quarters or thirds, that sounded good to me so I did the same) Place the chopped fruit in a medium-sized bowl.

Pour the cornstarch,honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest over the fruit and toss gently until all the fruit is coated.

Transfer the fruit to an 8 inch square baking dish (or a dish of an equivalent size--preferably something deep sided or a solid bottomed tart pan)

Now for the topping.  Combine the oats, flour, and cinnamon.  Add the honey, the yogurt, and the warm melted butter and mix well until it becomes a dough-like texture (It's going to be soft and sticky, it might look a little strange, but it's very tasty)

Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the fruit mixture.

Place the baking dish on the middle rack of  your oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature. 

Is it bad that I can't have pie, cobbler, crisp, or crumble without ice cream?  Whenever I do, I'm reminded of the scene from When Harry Met Sally, when Meg Ryan goes to the diner to ask for warm apple pie with ice cream on the side, not on top.  I'm similar, but I don't care if the ice cream is on the top or on the side just as long as it's there.

Sally Albright: But I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it's real; if it's out of the can then nothing. 
Waitress: Not even the pie? 
Sally Albright: No, I want the pie, but then not heated. 

Warm peach and blackberry crisp (straight out of the oven) with vanilla bean ice cream.  I think this is going in my slim collection of recipes.  It has definitely restored my faith in cooking after the whole honey panna cotta mess.  

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