Boy this is a Fun Friday! It is for me anyway because I have guest author Annie Stiles on the site today, and she is speaking my language. Dessert!
I think me and this author are going to become the best of pen pals!
Ah, at long last it is finally spring! The change of seasons always makes me think of…dessert.
I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like. This is not a statement to be made lightly, as you fellow sweet-toothed folks can attest. I firmly subscribe to the notion that there is a second stomach in my mid-section completely and solely dedicated to desserts. Other people chuckle at the axiom “there’s always room for dessert” and yet I find it to be no laughing matter. For me, it is more of a mission statement. If you are the kind of gal or guy that plans a meal in reverse, or hones in like a heat-seeking missile on the dessert menu before most people have gotten a napkin placed in their lap, well then, you are my people. And, you are just plain smart.
People often share a favorite recipe, but in this spring season of rebirth, renewal, and freshness, I’m going to share a recipe that I’ve been meaning to try. I’m making it this weekend and maybe you might like to try it in your kitchen. I’ve had it scribbled down on a piece of notebook paper for quite some time, and I confess that I put it together from a combination of recipes I read online, which is something I love to do. I have no idea if it will turn out well enough to earn a place in the regular dessert rotation at our house (oh, yes, there is a rotation), but that is half the fun. Spring is all about possibilities. It is quite possible that I will get around to repainting the kitchen. See? Ripe with possibilities. Ahem.
I love comfort foods. I love fancy foods. This recipe definitely falls into the former category. It really is easy as pie. Or crisp.
* 6 good-sized, firm apples peeled and sliced (I’m going to use Pink Lady or Jazz apples this weekend. Gala, Braeburn, etc., would be great, too. Granny Smith would cut the sweetness, if you prefer. Nothing too autumnal, so skip the Macs, Cortlands, Empires.)
* 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (Yes, fresh. It will be zingier.)
* 1 ½ pints fresh strawberries, cut into quarters, tops removed
* 1-2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I’ve been using white, whole-wheat flour for any hearty baking.)
* 2 Tbsp. white sugar
* 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
* 1 cup chopped nuts (I’m going with pecans this time, but I will try walnuts next time. Research, you know, is very important in desserts. Lots of research.)
* 1 cup flour (All-purpose is fine; but give the white, whole-wheat variety a try.)
* ½ cup dark brown sugar
* 2 Tbsp. white sugar
* 1/3 cup oatmeal
* 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
* ½ cup cold butter, cubed or chunked into workable pieces
Coat the apple slices and chunks of strawberries with the lemon juice. Set aside. Mix the vanilla, sugar, and flour together and then gently mix in your fruit so as not to turn the berries to mush. Set aside.
Combine the flour, sugars, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Add the chopped nuts and stir. Work the butter into the mixture to get a crumbly, well-mixed topping with the butter the size of small peas. Pastry cutter, food processor – whatever works for you.
Butter the bottom and sides of a deep-dish pie pan. Pour in your fruit filling. Next, press and pack the topping on top of the fruit mixture. It will brown and melt and ooze down into the fruit, but also create a nice little crispy bonnet for all that fruity goodness.
Bake at 350 for about 40 to 45 minutes. Watch the top for over-browning.
I see this in big, generous bowls, eaten on a porch or deck with people you love, who will also tell you if it gets a grade of B instead of an A. Serve warm with ice cream. (And whipped cream.)
I’m planning to make this again later in the season with blueberries and raspberries in place of the strawberries. I’m going to try it without the oatmeal and just a bit more flour, for more of a caramel flavor. Then, I’m going to switch it up with peaches in place of the apples. I’ll do light brown sugar instead of the dark with the peaches. Peaches and blueberries, peaches and raspberries and, ooh, how about blackberries? I can see that I’m never going to get around to painting the kitchen. But, you know… research. Lots of research.
Annie Stiles was practically born with a book in her hand, but the writing came later. A daydreamer by nature, Annie always secretly wanted to be a romance novelist. It wasn’t until her youngest child started kindergarten that she buckled down and turned that dream into reality. She is fascinated by characters on the page and in real life, and talks with her hands so much that people have been known to duck.
When not on her laptop, she likes to putter in her garden. Annie lives in the beautiful Capital-Saratoga region of New York State with her college sweetheart husband and their two children. They are all owned by two cats.
Annie writes satisfying, character-driven contemporary romance. Rose-colored glasses are standard issue.