KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Crisp Topping: An All Year Round Fruit Dressing
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
La Vie dans un Bateau d'Hommard - Life on a Lobste...
Room for Seconds: Check, Please! Bay Area
Interview with Jacques Pepin Part One
Links Around the Bay
Fig Hunting in Napa
Cold Soup for a Hot Day
Popping the Cherry
Cook by the Book: The New California Cook
Farm Tour: Marin Sun Farms, Part II
Hatch's Fish & Produce, Wellfleet Masachusettes
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Crisp Topping: An All Year Round Fruit Dressing


On the eve of August you may be wondering what to do with all the incredible stone fruits and berries arriving fast and furious at your local farmer's market. The following recipe for crisp topping, easy to assemble and substitution friendly, is baking at it's most streamlined, straightforward and "I can't bake"-proof.

I don't normally take requests, but after my Pie II Crust Revisited post on Eggbeater where I went through making pie dough point by point, a reader asked that I write about crisp topping as her own recipe was not quite up to snuff. My delicious crisp topping stems from working with Claudia Fleming at Gramercy Tavern. We served an exceptional apple and cranberry crisp that, although it was created to serve two, was one of our most popular desserts on chilly fall nights.



If you've had a chance to pick up the Spring 2006 issue of Edible San Francisco, you know that the crisp recipe resides in there as well. But for the requester, who lives in Australia, and those of you unable to pick up this new local mag, here's the recipe again.

CRISP TOPPING

3 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Dark Brown Sugar
1/2-3/4 C Nuts, lightly toasted and rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground or Crushed Cardamon
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

8 oz. Unsalted Butter, melted

1. Put all ingredients, except butter, in a large bowl.
2. Stir with hands to mix, breaking apart clumps of brown sugar with fingers.
3. Melt butter.
4. Make "well" in center of bowl and pour butter in while it's still hot.
5. Stir in butter with wooden spoon or spatula.
6. Finish incorporating butter into all of the drys with hands.
7. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, lay out raw crisp topping and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
8. When you are ready to make the crisp, preheat oven to 400F.
9. Assemble filling, sprinkle on as much or as little crisp topping as you like, set baking dish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (your "dish-washer" will thank you later!)
10. Bake until topping has browned and filling is bubbling up. If you are making a large crisp I suggest you check in on it about 15-20 minutes into the baking time. If you're topping is gaining more color than you'd prefer, turn the pan around and turn the heat down to 350F.

Crisp topping can be kept in a tightly covered container for upwards of a month refrigerated. (I have even kept it longer.) This recipe can be doubled, tripled or more.



The filling is completely up to you! I picked up rhubarb, plums, nectarines, blackberries and raspberries at the market Friday and whipped up a fabulous filling. I add the sugar to taste, as it depends on the sweet or puckeriness of the fruits on hand, and sometimes a dash of lemon zest shavings. I tend to like my fruit to taste like itself, not like the sweetener, so I err on the bright side. I rely on the topping to carry in the sweet crispy layer.

I'm a big fan of walnuts in the crisp topping and I pre-toast them so as to add an extra dimension to the crisp topping besides texture. If you have them, hazelnuts would be gorgeous, especially with stone fruits, and I've not tried peanuts or pecans, but I can only imagine what great choices they would make.

Sometimes I brown my butter slightly, toss in a bit of mace for deepened spiciness, or omit the ubiquitous cinnamon altogether in favor of secret ground toasted coriander. Suffice to say light brown sugar could be substituted for the dark and the sugar in the filling could be any sort you desired as well. I don't much use whole wheat flour but it might be a new take, and I always love me some flavorful corn meal!



The signature difference in this recipe is that the butter is melted. What this means is that the crisp topping actually crisps in the oven because the fat source has permeated every grain of flour and sugar. The preparation of cutting cold butter into flour, as is the case in many crisp topping recipes, creates a topping that melts into the fruit juices, therefore producing a gooey, unbaked layer of flour-butter-sugar lumps between hot fruit and still tender topping.

In this recipe you bake the crisp is a fairly hot oven because all you are really baking is the topping. In a crisp or cobbler there's no need for a starch thickener as one eats these desserts in a bowl, hence no pressure for them to stand upright.

Have fun with your seasonal fresh fruit crisp. Make too much topping to always have some on hand. Try it with different spices, intriguing nuts, alternative sweeteners, and please report back and let us all know how it went!




 
 

6 Comments:

Anonymous deccanheffalump said...

This has been a great morning catching up on all my blog reading.. the find of the day has been your pie crust post and this one with a recipe very close to the topping I used to make for my famous Apple Crumble (which was once actually marketed in Pune, India, during very enthusiatic times.)
Thanks..Darn the dal...I just have to make a pie today.

7/31/2006 2:25 AM

 
Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

you saved me again. i have a huge bag of blueberries that i've been staring at for a few days. and cardamon, what a delicious idea! i'll let you know how it turns out since i am pastrily-challenged. i think i need a pie crust lesson when i am back.

7/31/2006 4:05 AM

 
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/31/2006 9:27 AM

 
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Pastrily challenged, I like that! I just posted about my first successful pie attempt. Fruit crisp and cobbler have been my fall-back positions for a long time.

7/31/2006 9:28 AM

 
Blogger christine said...

I've just recently made an Apple Crisp for the first time. (http://gypsysoul73.blogspot.com/2006/09/glorious-apple-crisp.html) It was heaven. Now that I've read your post, I learned how to make it even better and to make different variations of it (using melted butter instead, trying it with different nuts etc). Thank you so much for sharing your baking wisdom with us! :)

9/03/2006 12:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rhubarb crisp goes particularly well with pistachios in the topping - i think i got this idea from nigella - it's yum-o!

5/01/2007 8:22 PM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.