Humble crumble: easy finish to a perfect dinner

Blueberry and Pineapple Crumble DSC01633 When it comes to desserts the world seems to fall into two camps: chocolate lovers and fruit lovers. No one will ever accuse me of short-serving my many chocolate-loving guests, but this one’s for the other half. This simple blueberry and pineapple crumble will delight all fruit lovers at the dinner table, and maybe even win over a choclatier groupie, at least for a night.

Why is a crumble like this always such a universal success?

It’s simply delicious. And multi-seasonal. Of course warm, gooey, and sweet fruits work reliably well on cold winter days, but this dessert is a great stage for the first delightful offerings of the summer harvest. All kinds of berry-fruit combinations will work. I love strawberries with rhubarb for spring; blueberries and peaches in summer. Another summer winner: gooseberries—so good and such a special treat that they are well-worth growing yourself, just for this recipe (as I do!). Back to winter again (though we’re in no rush for that here…), try pineapple, plums, pears… you get the idea.

I recently stumbled upon this combo of blueberry and pineapple, a product of necessity as I was faced one evening with an impromptu dinner party (worse things can happen…) and in need of a dessert. On the hunt, we found two bags of frozen fruit behind the ice maker and underneath some frozen wedding cake.

The outcome was a surprise winner. Until I tasted it, I hadn’t been able to imagine this pastry’s combo flavor in my head. Now the taste is firmly lodged in my personal taste history, happily and with 4 stars. (I always forget; is that memory located in your brain or in your heart?) Let me know if you stumble upon an unlikely winning fruit combination—it’s a fun experiment!

This dessert can be prepared well in advance of dinner. Assemble the portions in 4 oz ramekins and store in the refrigerator. As soon as the main course is on the table, place the crumbles in a 360 degree oven. Fifteen to 20 minutes later goodness will emerge: an elegant steaming bubbling sweet fruity mess. The crumble adds a just-right crunch and the hearty-oats illusion of heart healthiness.

Guten Appetit!

Ingredients for crumble DSC01548

 

Humble crumble: blueberry and pineapple
 
A versatile dessert that is easy to prepare in advance and nicely showcases fruits from all seasons
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of blueberries (I used frozen ones)
  • 3 cups of pineapple chunks (again, I used the frozen variety)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup sugar

  • For the crumble:
  • 1 stick of butter, cubed
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon zest of orange
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
Instructions
  1. Mix the fruit with the sugar and cornstarch until evenly coated.
  2. Distribute into 6-8 4-oz ramekin dishes.
  3. For the crumble, pulse in a food processor the butter, flour, sugar and salt until coarse, pea-sized pieces are formed.
  4. Add the egg and the orange zest. Continue pulsing until the dough comes together.
  5. Finally add the oats, pulse a few times, taking care not to pulverize the oats.
  6. Distribute the crumble into the ramekins.
  7. Eat the leftover dough when nobody's looking.
  8. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan into a 360-degree preheated oven, middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Frozen fruit will take a little longer. The crumble is done when you like the color of your crust--don't remove them too early. You want a nice golden brown crust.
  9. Serve with powdered sugar and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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New video: Cutting orange supremes

My New York Kitchen

In my quest to teach you kitchen skills that you never knew you didn’t have, my massive communications team and I are trying out a little video today that demonstrates the mastery of filleting an orange in order to create the spectacular orange supremes. One moment the orange is just sitting in a nondescript fruit bowl on the counter, and the next, freed from all its mundane orange membranes, it suddenly is granting a very certain elegance to a salad or dessert.

This is what it’s all about, folks. It’s the big league. It’s the difference between semi-homemade and going all the way, proving to your dinner guest friends your commitment to elegant food. And perhaps that you have too much time on your hands.

How can you grant this orange such sublime beauty yourself? Check out the clip below:

Did you try it? Did it work? Now, need a place to use them? Check out my Shaved Fennel and Orange Salad recipe here.

Guten Appetit!

 

Easy Apricot Cake

Easy Apricot Cake Apricot Cake with Almonds This Apricot Cake is a fail-safe dessert. Our dinner guests just love it: the crunchy almonds on top mixing with the slightly caramelized cinnamon sugar, the light and crumbly texture of the cake batter and the delicious moist apricot slices just work so well together. You can assemble the apricot cake in just a few minutes and after 45 min in the oven you are done with your dessert. I also love its versatility: you can choose your favorite fruit and create your own variations of this cake. Apricots work great, but peaches, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, or red currants all do well and each will lend the cake a different and rich flavor profile.

Easy Apricot Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar, plus sugar for the cinnamon mixture
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 oz can of apricot halves, drained and sliced into nice pieces
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter a round 10 inch baking pan
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking powder
  3. In your mixer combine butter and sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Scrape. Mix some some more until batter is smooth
  4. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients. Don't over mix.
  5. Gently fold in the apricot slices
  6. Fill into the baking form. Sprinkle the almonds, cinnamon and sugar mixture on top and bake about 45 mins

 

The base recipe was published by Martha Stewart in her ‘Fresh Flavor Fast’ book. I know you will make this cake a staple in your repertoire. Try it.

Guten Appetit!

Apricot Cake with Almonds Apricot Cake with Almonds

 

Strawberries and Yoghurt Foam

Dessert with Strawberries and Yohurt Fresh Strawberries Ingredients for Strawberries and Yoghurt Foam

Here in New York we are experiencing what we hope are the last days of winter. After this long, cold season with all its rich and comforting foods, I am starting to long for dishes on the lighter side: a fresh salad, maybe some crunchy early-season vegetables. But my strongest urge at the moment is for fresh berries. Our local berries won’t ripen until June, but I can always find some strawberries in the fruit aisle of my trusty food purveyor.

This Strawberries and Yoghurt Foam dessert strikes a nice balance: fresh berries as early ambassadors of spring, yoghurt foam corresponding perfectly with the berries. The light acidity of the yoghurt is enriched by an itsy bitsy tiny amount of heavy cream. And this innovative preparation can be made utilizing your whipped cream maker—but don’t worry if you don’t own one of these; I’ll provide an alternate preparation method.

Strawberries and Yogurt Foam
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A fresh and elegant strawberry dessert that's easy to make. The foam gives this a distinct modern feel that will impress your guests.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 8 oz plain yoghurt
  • 2 oz heavy cream
  • 2 tbls sugar
Instructions
  1. Clean and quarter the strawberries
  2. Mix the yoghurt, cream, and sugar in a bowl
  3. Fill the mixture into the whipped cream maker and load with 2 nitrous cartridges
  4. Cool in refrigerator for about 2 hours
  5. Shake well and dopple generously upon the fruit

In case you don’t own one of these fancy, gleaming, stainless steel, German-engineered iSi whipped cream makers, don’t despair… much. Instead, roll up your sleeves, get out the balloon whisk, and whip away. It won’t be as fluffy, and it won’t be as much fun as my yoghurt foam extravaganza, but the delightful taste will be the same.

The famous Spanish chef Adrian Faran was the inspiration for this wonderful recipe.

Guten Appetit!
Assembling the Strawberry and Yogurt Foam

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