Monday, March 19, 2012

The Best Year-Round Fruit Crisp Ever and the Understudy

A Guest Post by Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker)

How I chose this recipe:

Much of what Management says isn't worth twitching my ears about, but when talk turned to the recipe of the week, it was time to cast my vote, so I listened. Salads, soups, even pancakes but nothing grabbed me until I heard the word crisp. I immediately recalled the fragrance of sweet apples baking and a cookie like crust so delicious it might make your head spin. I thumped my tail hard against the floor.

"Did you hear me Finn?" the Lady asked, eyeing me. "Where's the fruit?" I blinked my eyes and gazed towards the laundry room. "In the freezer?" she asked.

I got up slowly, stretched and walked into the laundry room. I stood next to the freezer, gazing from freezer to the Lady. Sister Chloe jumped off her chair and followed. She watched me taking it all in.

"Looks like you know what you want," the Lady said, smiling. I knew my strategy would work because I did it recently when she asked where the carrots were kept. The Lady was so impressed, she gave me a free pass to point them out when the refrigerator door is opened.

FYI-- I do know significantly more commands and phrases than I ever let on, but I learned good to mine that dumb or slow basset concept that humans entertain for all you can get.

Chloe is learning how slow brings more rewards. Maybe we should start handing out rewards publically for slow pokes.

Chloe is my sister who came here a few years ago. At first it irritated me because she immediately became my understudy without asking. Chloe is way too desperate and will do anything to get my job. She's always watching and immitating me, waiting for her turn.

Doesn't matter if I give her the evil eye, she continues to dog me.

The Lady has assured me otherwise, but I know Chloe is trying to horn in on my job after all that's what I did a long time ago to another dog.

It's hard to dislike Chloe because like old Badger (above), Chloe likes me and tolerates my camera hogging nature. And she stays out of my way when we walk and always lets me snap up treats first. I've taught her a lot. We've had some great adventures together. I'll tell you about those someday.

Mostly we mouth wrestle and if you haven't tried it it's probably because your snout is too short. I can't help you with that problem. Mouth wrestling is so entertaining, I no longer even pretend to like toys. Balls are for silly retrievers, and seriously, if you need to rip up anothersqueaky toy, maybe you could squeeze in a bit more exercise. I love mouth wrestling because I am the instigator and I always win. Did I mention I am a sore loser?

She jumps into her rocking chair when she gives up. I love to keep needling her, rubbing it in that I won.

Chloe isn't a sore loser.

She's learning to pose.

I have to admit it's a little creepy with someone following and watching your every move and I definitely don't want her to get ideas about taking my place for even one act of this play. Don't count on me leaving this gig until long after dessert is served.

So close, yet so far away.

We used whole wheat flour from Massa Organics, peaches from Rama Farm and blueberries from Rent's Due Ranch for this recipe. As usual I got stuck with the prewash, and I have to say, I love my jobs.

The Best Year-Round Fruit Crisp Recipe
(Serves 6)
Year after year, and fruit after fruit, for the best crisp recipe I return to this recipe from The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook by Jean Hewitt. I adapt it to whatever fruit I'm using, sometimes I use less flour, sometimes less sugar. If you use fruit from your freezer like blueberries or peaches, thaw before baking so the juices can blend with the arrowroot and thicken.

1 to 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup for a crispy cookie-like crust)
1/2 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance spread

4 to 6 cups fruit (sliced apples, pears, peaches, cherries or berries)
1/2 cup sugar (or a little more, less, or none at all)
1 to 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (less for apples, more for juicy berries)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well, then blend in sugar and butter or Earth Balance. Set aside.

3. Blend the fruit, sugar and arrowroot powder in a casserole dish that will serve as a baking dish. If using thawed frozen fruit, drain the juice off and blend the arrowroot powder into the juice. Then pour over the fruit. Place the flour mixture over the fruit and gently pat down.

4. Bake on a baking sheet (to catch drips) until the top is nicely browned--about 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with coconut sorbet or vanilla ice cream.

I couldn't help myself, but the steal was worth it.

Four paws up for this one!


Joan said...

Too fun! What a great post, thanks for the fun read. Oh and BTW I love crisps too.

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Hi Joan--I welcome any opportunity to sneak a few licks in. The crisp could happen a little more often around here, if you ask me because all I usually get are the empty plates. Where did you say you live?

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra and Finn,
We always look forward to your wonderful post. A Fruit Crisp is a great way to welcome spring, it looks delicious! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
Miz Helen and Jaque