Friday, November 11, 2005

Perfecting a Crisp

Until a month ago I had never made an apple crisp or a fruit crisp of any sort, although I have always loved to eat them. My friend Linda has always made to-die-for crisps of apples with sour cherries thrown in. And Rebecca talks about her pear crisps. Yummmm...

My first crisp attempt was for our Sukkot dinner for 35. That turned out to be a lot of apples. I carefully followed a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, since crisps are too funky to be in upscale cookbooks like the Joy of Cooking. That crisp had good cooked apples but the crisp part was so soggy that it didn’t deserve to be called a crisp.

I have always been a better cook when I followed my intuition instead of using a recipe. So I started experimenting. I decided that a lot of the ingredients in the gloppy part were found in granola. So I studied the multiple varieties of granola at Whole Foods and chose one that had the most things that I like in it. I doctored it up with lots of spices – cinnamon, cloves, allspice – some flour, definitely raisins, and some melted margarine (since David is lactose intolerant). I used tiny crisp apples and hard bosc pears. I layered the fruit and the glop and topped it all with some light brown sugar. Tres magnifique!

This crisp just keeps getting better every time I make it and add something new. My third attempt is in the oven now and is starting to smell like aromatic warm fruit and sugar as it bubbles away.

Fruit crisp is really comfort food. I can predict that the second half of my life will make up for a crispless first half. (Do I really think I am going to live to 112?)

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