Arsip Tag: crisps
It has been seven days since I told you about the fennel ice cream I made last week, and indicated that I would be telling you about what I was going to pair it with (actually, I said “pear” it with, because I can never resist the opportunity to make people roll their eyes) within a day or two. And it’s been a week! My nerviness knows no bounds! How do you put up with this teasing? Will there be mutiny on the smittenkitchen bounty?
It’s probably not going to help when I tell you the following:
It’s also not going to help when I stop right here. Because what else is there to say? What words can I add to a dessert that could possible make it more appealing than Vanilla Brown Butter Pear Crisp? Nothing, nada. If you are swooning right now, you’d be correct. If you’re not, well, you should be. Or you would be, if you had tried it. Or leftover in the days that followed, warmed up in the microwave with a scoop of melty fennel ice cream on top. The almond kept the crisp “crispy.” The vanilla bean and brown butter made it extra-prosh. The pears always wanted to be baked, anyway. What more could you need?
One year ago: Chicken Skewers with Dukkah Crust and Balsamic Reduction, Pan-Browned Brussels Sprouts
Update: The big 2020 overhaul: I revisited this recipe recently because I know there had been some concerns about the topping burning before the pears baked through and also about the sandiness of the topping. It was originally published in the October 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine from a restaurant in Kirkland, WA called Cafe Juanita. The creator of the recipe, Holly Smith, herself said that the printed recipe had errors. I tracked down her version but I still had some trouble with the recipe and ended up fully reworking it where I want it to be in hopes that it will delight everyone as much as pears with vanilla bean brown butter should.
Here are a few of the changes: I added lemon to the pears, which really keeps the filling from being too mellow. The topping had lacked brown butter (it was only in the filling) so now I make enough vanilla brown butter for both the topping and filling and use it in both places. I reduced the amount of almonds in the topping, trying to get it to clump more, but it’s still overall a looser topping — a crisp, not a crumble. The ramekin measurement was incorrect — you’ll want to use 7 6-ounce ramekins (if you use 8-ounce, as originally printed, you will only make 4 to 5 and they felt too big for one person). But here’s the biggest change: I now briefly (5 to 10 minutes, depending on how firm your pears are) saute the filling on the stove before baking it. Once it’s in the oven, you’ll only need to bake it for 15 more minutes. This not only makes it faster, but it keeps the topping from burning before the pears bake through.
The result is absolute winter magnificence. You must serve this warm (reheating if needed) to get all of the toasty brown butter, vanilla bean, lemon, pear, and almond notes and please put a little scoop of ice cream on top. It deserves nothing less. You can find the Gourmet version online if you miss the previous version I had printed here.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we had plans to flee this so-called winter we’re having in New York and jet to a place where it’s always summer. It was dreadfully boring, by the way, all silky white sand that was cool under your bare feet, blazing aqua waters that you could walk a full city block into before you were in deeper than your waist and oh so quiet (rumor has it that they don’t even let these on the island!). Blissfully, there was nothing to do but read books, stare at the horizon and not think about life for a while. The most profound conversation we had in three days was whether a spot out on the water where the color slipped from a piercing aquamarine to a deeper cerulean to was due to a change of depth, or just the cast shadow of a cloud. The shadow of a cloud. Man, times were tough.
What I forgot to mention is that we weren’t bringing our son with us. Lest you think I’m immune to Mom Guilt — au contraire, it is the very pitch to which my life is auto-tuned, the backbone, nay, doctrine of my existence, governing all decisions from “Is that my son picking up a stray cheddar bunny from the seat of a random stroller and do I really have to stop him?” to whether or not I should admit that I was late to call yesterday because I was, in actuality, reading with my eyes shut for the 9th time that afternoon. Ahem, so, Mom Guilt in full swing, I decided to leave something special — petite apple crisps — in the fridge that he could have as a treat on the days I’d be away.
Alas, the longer I am a mom, the harder it is for me to not question everything. Why all that butter? I bet he’d like it just as much with a healthful oil! Why all that refined sugar and flour? I know it could be endlessly delicious without it. I haven’t yet reached the Hiding Spinach in the Brownies level of madness and with all due respect, I hope I never do as spinach and brownies are too wonderful apart to mash them into something greater than neither of their parts, and lie to a child at the same time, oh look at that, I’ve digressed again. So, yes, stopping short of what I call the spinach-in-the-brownies line in the (powdery Caribbean) sand, I made him some tiny multigrain apple crisps.
There’s brown sugar, and a little bit of butter. Cinnamon and a solid crumb-to-fruit (by solid, I mean “high”) ratio. But there are also oats a-plenty and oat flour, whole wheat flour and almond meal. And it’s good enough that we’ve already stolen
one two, I mean, made a second batch. You might want to make a habit out of them, too.
One year ago: Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers and The Best Baked Spinach
Two years ago: Arroz Con Leche and Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs
Three years ago: Steak Sandwiches and Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chips Cookies
Four years ago: Big Crumb Coffee Cake, Alex’s Chicken and Mushroom Marsala and Almond Biscotti
Five years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Loaf and Italian Bread
Multigrain Apple Crisps
As for the whole wheat flour, you could also use whole wheat pastry flour here or white whole wheat flour (as I did in one of my test rounds). You can also replace half the flour with the same amount of any pet flour you have. Yes, I said “pet” flour — I mean, whatever you’re currently obsessed with. I used 1/4 cup of barley flour in one batch, which is my current pet, as it’s silky and delightful in baked goods. I don’t think rye flour would be half-bad there either.
It’s not just the flour that you can fiddle with; coconut oil (also good for this toddler-bait) would be delicious in place of the olive oil; you could brown the butter when you melt it for extra flavor. Almonds could be replaced with any nut, etc. Have fun with it. Make it yours.
Makes 8 small crisps
4 large or 5 small-medium apples (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup raw or Turbinado (often sold as Sugar in the Raw) sugar
1/4 cup plus 3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or a mix; see Note up top)
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Two pinches sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange eight 6-ounce ramekins (these are my favorite) on a baking tray. Peel, halve and core apples, then chop them into a small (about 1/2-inch) dice. The smaller the pieces, the faster the crisps will bake and the less they’ll “deflate” as they cool. Toss apples with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons raw sugar until evenly coated, then divide apples between ramekins.
Grind 1/4 cup oats with almonds in a food processor until powdery. (If you have both almond meal and oat flour, you can replace this with 1/4 cup of each.) In a medium bowl, mix oat/almond mixture with remaining rolled oats, wheat flour, remaining 1/4 cup raw sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, sea salt and baking powder. Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in microwave), then stir in olive oil. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir until crumbly. Divide crumbs over each dish of apples, packing them on with your palms if needed to get them all on (don’t worry, the apples will deflate a bit when they bake).
Bake apple crisps for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until you can see the juices from the apples bubbling around the crumbs. If tops brown too quickly, put a sheet of foil over the whole tray for remaining baking time. Let cool on rack and serve when lukewarm. Store remaining crisps in fridge. They are quite excellent with a dollop of plain yogurt.
Sometimes, I think the internet is trying to tell me something. Well, most days, many things, such as why nobody should ever, ever click on a certain VMA performance (which is like begging me to click, only for me to run away with my hands over my eyes. Why would you do that to me, internet?!), why this lady should be all of our new heroes, the effect of mirrors in grocery carts and also maybe where tiramisu comes from? So much stuff, people. But sometimes, the message is a little more pointed, such as the time a few weeks ago I was checking out a tres leches cake recipe for research on a likeminded popsicle and the sidebar suggested that maybe I might consider making zucchini crisps instead?
I was suspicious — ever-mushy and damp zucchini? as chips? without frying but only using a tiny bit of oil? — and so I clicked over. They looked beautiful. People seemed to universally rave about them. It was almost dinnertime and, as usual, fully prepared food had yet materialize on our table, the forces of the universe disappointing me yet again. And of course, because it was August, I had no fewer than four zucchinis withering away in my fridge, waiting to be called upon for a higher purpose.
I hope it goes without saying that we all need some crunchy, slightly salty chips from time to time. Me, I’m partial to the kettle-cooked, skin-on potato variety that fold in on themselves, especially in the oh-so-natural sour cream and onion flavor (mmm, suspicious green flecks…) but rather dubious of all the others. These didn’t work for me on the first round (the oil seemed to keep the crust from sticking, and even when it did, they got soft quickly after they cooled; also, they were hideous.) but they were so delicious, I couldn’t stop eating them. The second time I made them, I used an egg white or two to hold the parmesan-crumb mixture in place, the results were still goofy looking but holy moly, guys: chip city.
Crunch, crunch. Crunch, crunch. [It sounds like this. I think you know what needs to be done.]
Rosh Hashanah: The Jewish new year arrives so early this year, it’s downright perplexing how I’m eating strawberry summer cake in the same week that we’re supposed to indulge in apples and honey. Nevertheless, if you’re at a loss for recipes to get you started, may I suggest: this kale salad, this carrot salad, this one-pan farro with tomatoes, this tangy brisket, an apple-and-honey challah, a fig-olive-and-sea salt challah, or a classic one, my mom’s apple cake, this astoundingly moist honey cake, chocolate babka or even some miniature potato knish? From the cookbook, if you’ve got it, please don’t miss the sweet-and-sour high holiday brisket or the chicken with olives and grapes, which I intended for these very weeks of the year.
Three years ago: Peach Shortbread
Four years ago: Tomato and Corn Pie
Five years ago: Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
Six years ago: Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitake
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
This doesn’t too closely follow the original recipe because I found I needed thinner chips, more crumbs, more parmesan and sometimes less baking time than recommended. I also found that I could only reliably get “crisp” effect, one that lasted for a while, when I used an egg white instead of an olive oil wash. Please don’t take any of the measurements in this recipe as the law; cooking times and required coating will vary by thickness and baking pan heaviness. You’ll want to keep an eye on them and look for a good golden color before removing from the oven, which will ensure that they get and remain crisp. They’re also best on the first day, so you’re going to have to eat them all. I promise, you won’t mind.
Olive oil or cooking spray
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 to 2 egg whites
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain, dry breadcrumbs, such as panko
A couple pinches sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat two baking sheets lightly with cooking spray or thinly with olive oil. Slice zucchini into slightly-less-than 1/4-inch thick rounds; if they feel especially wet, spread them on a towel while you prepare the other ingredients. In a small bowl, lightly beat first egg white with 1 teaspoon water to loosen it. Combine cheese, crumbs, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip each zucchini coin in egg white, letting excess run off before gently dipping them in parmesan mixture. Arrange in single layer on baking sheets. If additional egg white is needed, prepare it the same way, with 1 teaspoon of water. If additional crumb mixture is needed, make a few spoonfuls at a time, matching the volume of crumbs and cheese.
Bake zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping each over halfway through. Please keep an eye on them; they may need to be moved around on the tray so the ones at the edges don’t bake more quickly than the ones in the center. Take them out only when they’re golden all over and let them cool on the tray on a cooling rack or a plate.
Keep at room temperature until needed. Crisps are best on the first day.