Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Apple Crisp/Crumble...and savoury fritters made from leftovers

Apple crisp served warm is a lovely and simple winter dessert. Crumble is how the British describe this comely duo of juicy apples and a candied, spiked-with-cinnamon, buttery topping while the Americans refer to it as crisp. Since no rolling out of pastry is required, this treat is really easy to do compared to tarts and pies.

Saucy crumble splashed with heavy cream

  • Apples, tart and firm, (I used Granny Smiths) 870 gms (about 5 medium apples)
  • Flour, plain 160 gms
  • Sugar, 300 gms
  • Butter, sweet, 170 gms
  • Cinnamon, 3/4 tsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Lemon juice, fresh, 1 T diluted with 1 T of water (total of 2 T liquid)
  • Cream or ice cream for topping
A square oven dish measuring about 20 cm by 20 cm by 5 cm will give a nice proportion of topping to filling. If it comes with a lid, all the better.  If not, then fit some foil over the top.

Wash the apples. Quarter them, core the quarters, peel, and then slice thinly, putting them into an oven-proof dish as you work. The thinner they are, the more like apple sauce they will become.

Toss the apple slices with the diluted lemon juice. Even out the slices as much as possible.

Preheat oven to 177 degrees C. Mix the the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon together.

Cut the cold butter into small chunks, about 2.5 cm square and put them in the mixing bowl.

Using with your finger tips (or ingredients can be put into a processor for a minute or so), work the butter and flour mixture until it is mostly coarse sand with a few pea-sized pieces here and there. It should take about five minutes.

Pile the contents of the mixing bowl on top of the sliced apples in the oven dish and spread it out to fill all four corners of the casserole. Place on the lid and put the crumble/crisp in the oven.

To guard against any messy spills, the dish is placed on a parchment-lined cookie sheet

After a half hour, remove the lid and let bake for another thirty minutes. It is essential to uncover the crumble at this time or else there will be no crisp topping as it will mostly dissolve into the juicy apples. When done, the topping will be nicely browned and crusty with apple-juice rivulets bubbling up through it. Test by inserting a knife in the centre which will slice right through if the apples are soft enough.

Wait about ten minutes before serving to give the juices time to congeal a bit.

The next day we served the crumble cold with a wedge of coffee ice cream, and our lunch guest said that the two accompanied each other superbly.  We eagerly agreed, especially The Calm One who came up with the pairing idea!

The marinated roast loin of pork I made a few weeks back yielded several meals, but there was still a couple of slices remaining. Leftover peas, mashed potatoes, and minced pork were combined to make an easy, delicious make-over with an Asian accent. I added an egg, about a half teaspoon of baking powder, a few tablespoons of flour, a minced flake or so of red pepper, a minced garlic glove, a bit of minced fresh ginger, and some salt. More thorough directions for making fritters can be found here. I doused the whole lot with soy sauce and really enjoyed them. Leftovers can be yummy!

One of the present garden tasks is to start pruning which means tools need to be clean and sharp. Last week the asparagus and raspberry beds got their trimming. The one-year old asparagus plants were cut down to the ground. In order to put all their energy into making roots strong enough to generate good cropping, we will wait another year before harvesting them. However, during this waiting period, it is important to keep the bed free from weeds as they will become entangled with the roots.

The raspberry canes got trimmed to about fifteen centimetres above the ground.

The warm, wet winter continues, slowing down the planting preparation for early potatoes, onions, peas, and spinach. But I am not too miffed because the weather can present some fantastic skies at dusk. One twilight, I walked out from the sous sol to see what I thought was a billowy, smokey blaze.

Mummified fruit was left on the fig tree for the birds.

It turned out to be a fantastic, back-lit rack of huge, fluffy clouds.

À la prochaine!


Planting asparagus