Monday, April 1, 2013

Comfort Crisp

by Lucy Arlington

Sometimes the most simple dishes are the most delicious. Oh, I love a gourmet meal, in which a chef has carefully considered all the flavour palettes and different textures. But there’s something irresistible about home cooked comfort food, don't you think?

In our family, one of those comfort desserts is a fruit crisp. Tart and juicy fruits, enhanced with a hint of cinnamon, and topped with a buttery oatmeal crumble hot out of the oven—my mouth waters just thinking about it. It’s almost like having a warm oatmeal cookie with cooked fruit. It's always been a hit in our house.

Not too long ago, my adult daughter phoned me for the recipe. She was having people over for dinner and wanted to make an apple crisp. She remembered the method, she said, but she wasn’t sure about the proportions. Her question had me thinking hard, because I don’t actually measure when I make a fruit crisp. I just combine until it looks right.

So the next time I made a fruit crisp, using trial and error I measured and recorded, just in case someone else asks for the recipe. And now I can share it with you! In this particular apple crisp, I used tart Granny Smith apples and dried cherries, which plumped up during baking to become soft and juicy (although fresh cherries would be delicious too). You can make a fruit crisp with any fruit. I’ve made them with pears, peaches, all kinds of berries, and different fruits combined. Just remember, if the fruit is very juicy, toss it in some flour before putting it in the dish so the crisp doesn’t get too runny.

I still make a big crisp, even though now there is only my husband and me at home, because we love leftovers. We’ve even had it for breakfast! What other dessert could you eat first thing in the morning?

Apple Cherry Crisp

6 Granny Smith apples
¾ cup dried cherries
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup butter
¾  cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup large flake oats
½ cup sliced almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Toss them in the cinnamon and place in an 8-cup casserole dish.
3. Add the cherries, distributing them throughout the apple slices.
4. In a medium size bowl, heat the butter in the microwave until just melted, not bubbling. Add the brown sugar and mix well.
5. Add the flour and oats, and stir until well mixed. You may want to break apart large clumps with your hands so that you can get a crumbly mixture.
6. Distribute the crumb mixture evenly over the fruit. Sprinkle the sliced almonds overtop, pressing them down a bit.
7. Bake 30-45 minutes, until the fruit bubbles around the edges and the almonds are toasted.

This is delicious served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting over it.