fruit

Roasted Nectarines or Peaches with Oat-Almond Crumbles

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Mistakes happen. Sometimes it works out well.

Take this dessert, for example. I wanted to grill peach halves and serve them with whipped cream and some sort of crunchy topping. But I couldn't find good peaches, so I bought nectarines. But they weren't freestone, and when I tried to cut the fruit in half the flesh clung to the pit.

No halves.

I had to cut the nectarines into pieces.

That meant no grilling. So I roasted the pieces instead.

All I can say is I wish I had more of this dessert. It was so good that a recipe that is supposed enough servings to feed 8 people only served 4.

But maybe you will all be more abstemious.

 

Roasted Nectarines with Oat-Almond Crumbles

Oat-Almond Crumbles:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix the flour, almonds, oats, brown sugar, salt and melted butter. Spoon the mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Roasted Nectarines and Cream:

  • 8 firm, but ripe nectarines or peaches
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the nectarines into chunks and discard the pits. Place the chunks in a bowl. Add the melted butter and all but one teaspoon of the sugar. Place the fruit on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes to caramelize the fruit. Place equal quantities of the baked fruit on serving dishes. Whip the cream with the remaining teaspoon sugar and the vanilla extract until it is thick. Top the fruit with equal amounts of whipped cream. Scatter the crumbles equally on top.

Makes 8 servings (unless you can't control yourself, in which case, maybe 4-6)

Blueberry Yogurt Pie

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When life gives you blueberries you make pie. Also crisp, cake, muffins, jam, soup, tea bread.

The possibilities are awesome.

So recently, when I had lots of extra blueberries hanging around I decided to make cream pie. Sort of. There's no cream in it. This dessert actually began with an old recipe of my Mom's. Her version was made with dairy sour cream. I used plain (non-fat) yogurt. Hers had raspberries, mine was to be blueberries, which are sweeter than raspberries so I cut down on the sugar.

It is still mighty sweet! Enough to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. But also cool, creamy and refreshing and nice for anytime you want a rich dairy dessert.

Blueberry Yogurt Pie

Crust:

  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chilled shortening
  • milk (about 3 tablespoons) orange juice, or water

Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Work the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the ingredients resemble crumbs (use your hands, a pastry blender or the pulse feature of a food processor). Add the liquid and gather the pastry into a soft ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it stand at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough on a floured pastry board and fit into a 9-inch pie pan. 

Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer set at medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until thick, well blended and pale yellow. Add the cooled melted butter and yogurt and mix briefly to blend them into the batter. Add the flour, orange peel and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Place the blueberries inside the unbaked pie crust. Pour the batter over the berries. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and the filling set.

 Makes 8 servings

 

 

 

Buttermilk Pancake Day

One of the first newspaper food articles I ever wrote had to do with Shrove Tuesday (tomorrow, February 28th), a holiday my family doesn't celebrate, so at the time I didn't know that it is also Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and in food circles -- Pancake Day!

Live and learn. It seems that in days gone by, when the Catholic Church imposed stricter rules during Lent, fatty items such as eggs, butter, milk and so on, were forbidden from Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins, until Easter. So the day before Lent everyone tried to eat up all the fats in the house.

Hence, the eating of gras (fat) on that mardi (Tuesday).

What's a delicious, filling, welcome and wondrous way to include eggs, butter, milk and stuff?

Pancakes!

I've made all sorts of pancakes: German Apple, Oatmeal, Lemon-Cottage Cheese and others. But plain old buttermilk pancakes are simple and always fluffy and full of down home pleasure.

Maple syrup goes on top, for sure. But homemade apple sauce is a bit different, less sweet and so easy to make. I like to mix apples and pears for sauce during the winter because there are so many pear varieties available. 

Happy Pancake Day. Mardi Gras. Btw, this also makes a nice dinner on a meatless Monday.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Apple-Pear Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • butter for frying the pancakes
  • Apple-Pear Sauce

Melt the 3 tablespoons butter and set aside to cool. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In a second bowl mix the egg, buttermilk and melted, cooled butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and mix to blend them but do not beat vigorously. Preheat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat. Lightly butter the pan before cooking the pancakes. When the pan butter has melted and looks foamy, slowly pour about 2 tablespoons batter (for small pancakes) or more (for larger pancakes), leaving space between each pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bottom is lightly browned and bubbles form on the top. Flip the pancakes with a rigid spatula and cook for a minute or until the second side is lightly browned. Serve with Apple-Pear Sauce.

Apple-Pear Sauce

  • 4 apples
  • 3 pears
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel, core and slice the apples and pears and place the pieces in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, stir, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Stir occasionally during the cooking process. Puree the ingredients in a food processor with a hand blender. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Plums - as Crisp, not Torte

A few weeks ago I spotted Italian prune plums at Fairway. It was 96 degrees out, in the middle of a heat wave, and here I was looking at the first culinary signs of autumn.

But there they were, the plums, and of course I bought several pounds of them.

My thoughts went immediately to Plum Torte, the iconic Rosh Hashanah dessert. I make one every year.

But those plums are too good to reserve for just one holiday.

So I made these Italian Prune Plum Crisps.

Crisps are a more homey-style dessert than a stately looking Plum Torte. However, I think they are just perfect for the holidays. Easier too.

Or, why not serve both?

 

Plum Crisp with Oat Streusel

Filling:

  • 36 Italian prune plums
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking or rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the plums, brown sugar, lemon juice and flour in a baking dish. Set aside. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and mix ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Place the oat mixture over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is crispy and brown.

Makes 6-8 servings.

 

 

 

Easy Peasy Fuss-Free Blueberry Jam

Things are still blooming in my garden. And I'm not usually so lucky when it comes to my produce plantings, so I only planted tomatoes and herbs.

Next year: going to try berries. Strawberries and blueberries.

In the meantime it's store bought for me (including farmer's markets).

So the other day, when Fairway had a sale on blueberries (each dry pint for $1!!!!)I bought 5 (the limit). Even though I already had some fresh blueberries at home.

And then I had to use them.

I made blueberry cake, blueberry muffins and blueberry soup (so refreshing on a summer day!). And a blueberry crisp.

And also blueberry jam.

I like jam, but don't like fussing with sterilizing jars and putting the jars in one of those water-bath things. So I only make an amount that will be used within a couple of weeks and store it in my fridge. For example, for:

Here's the simple recipe:

Fuss-Free Blueberry Jam

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 cup sugar

Place the blueberries, orange juice, orange peel and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing down on the ingredients with a wooden spoon to crush the berries slightly. When the liquid has thickened to jam-like, remove the pan from the heat. Let cool and spoon into a jar. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

 

Pear and Ginger Crisp

I always buy bananas. They don't get eaten, so then I make a variety of banana breads.

Recently I have been buying pears. They don't get eaten, so I've been making sauce and baked pears and crisps.

What is this? Do Ed and I just not like fresh fruit?

I guess so, when, at night, I see that we are munching on popcorn and nuts instead.

But I keep trying. Meantime, the banana breads and the fruit crisps are very tasty. 

I just bought a lot of grapefruits. Let's see what happens.

Anyway, here's a recipe for a delightful pear crisp.

 

Pear and Ginger Crisp

filling:

  • 6 ripe pears
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

crust:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold margarine or firm coconut oil

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

To make the filling: peel, core and slice the pears and place them in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour and salt. Toss the ingredients gently and place in a baking dish. Set aside.

To make the crust: combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the fat in chunks and work into the dry ingredients with hands or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Scatter over the pear mixture. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving. Best if served warm.

 Makes 6-8 servings

 

Roasted Pears with Orange Maple Sauce

Somehow, even after after a heavy meal, most of us still find room for dessert. Me included! But I don't like feeling overstuffed, so I prefer something lighter, made with fruit, rather than a hunk of cake or pie.

I made these roasted pears recently -- the recipe is very easy and only has a few ingredients. It's a perfect finale to a Hanukkah meal, which tends to include lots of rich dairy foods and fried everything. You can make the pears a day ahead and stuff the hollows with whipped cream or ice cream, just before serving.

For us, the big Hanukkah meal is always a roasted goose with all the trimmings -- braised red cabbage, potato latkes -- the works! Roasted pears for dessert, for sure! Plain. Maybe with sorbet.

Roasted Pears with Orange-Maple Sauce

  • 3 large ripe Bartlett pears
  • half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ice cream, whipped cream or sorbet

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the inner core and seeds. Rub the surface with the cut half of a lemon. Place the pear halves in a baking dish just large enough to hold them so they don’t tip over. Mix the juice, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract and spoon over the pears. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until the pears are tender. Remove the pears and let them cool. Serve the pears with the pan juices and ice cream, whipped cream or sorbet if desired. (If the pan juices seem too thin, pour the liquid into a small saucepan, cook on high heat for a minute or so or until syrupy. Set aside to cool.)

Makes 6 servings

 

No Easier Cranberry Sauce than this one

Sometimes all you have to do is change one ingredient in a recipe and the entire dish tastes different. Like this one. I've made cranberries the same way for years -- bake them with sugar, let them cool, then add brandy.

This year I added some freshly grated orange peel. Huge difference! If you like the orange-cranberry duo, this recipe is for you. Plus -- this recipe is the next easiest thing after opening a can.

Baked Orange Scented Cranberries

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (or use brandy or rum)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and drain the berries and place them in a single layer in a baking dish. Add the sugar and orange peel and toss to coat all the berries. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove the cover and stir thoroughly. Let the berries cool. Stir in the juice. Chill thoroughly.

Makes 6-8 servings

Remembering my Dad

I'm remembering my Dad today. Remembering the hugs and the "I love yous."

Missing him always but especially on this day, his 20th yahrzeit.

This was one of his favorite desserts.

william vail's favorite Apple Brown Betty

  •  4-5 pie apples such as Granny Smiths, Rhode Island Greenings or Golden Delicious
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups diced homestyle white bread
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the apples and remove the cores. Cut the apples into bite sized pieces. Pour the lemon juice over the apples and place them in a baking dish. Combine the bread dice, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Toss the ingredients to distribute the ingredients evenly. Place the bread mixture on top of the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crusty. Let cool slightly, but best when served warm.

Makes 4 servings

 

Easier Than Pie Fruit Galette

If you're ever in need of a recipe for a gorgeous, fabulous tasting dessert that looks as if you fussed to create a culinary artistic masterpiece when it really was one of the easiest desserts you ever made -- here it is.

Plum galette.

Even the name is fancy. But this one is a cinch to make and guaranteed to please.

President (Empress, Italian-prune) plums are coming to the end of their season, so get them while you can. Use them for lots of recipes, like Plum Tart or  or Clove and Lemongrass Poached Plums.

Or for this easy puff pastry tart. It's a lovely dessert for family, company, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Shabbat or any old time.

Plum Galette with Orange and Rosemary

(If you can’t find frozen dough pastry squares in the frozen section of your supermarket, buy regular puff pastry sheets and cut the sheets into squares.)

  • 6 puff pastry squares (4-inch)
  • 3 peaches or 6 President or Empress (or about 8 Italian prune) plums, cut into wedges (about one pound)
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pastry squares on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Prick the dough in a few places. Arrange equal amounts of the fruit on top of each square, leaving a border of 1/2-inch. Mix the sugar, orange peel and rosemary. Sprinkle equal amounts of the sugar mixture on top of the fruit (using the extra sugar if you have a real sweet tooth). Pinch the dough border to make it slightly higher and closer to the fruit. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Makes 6 servings