Well, summer officially ends next week. We should be thinking about apples and pears and pomegranates--but before we do, let's say goodbye to stone fruit.
With the prices going down, I stocked up. Then the question was what to do with them. A number of friends suggested canning them. But I just don't see myself craving a white peach in January. My appetites tend to run with the seasons. So, what would it be? A pie? A galette? A buckle or cobbler or ice cream?
Well, my intent was a pie. Actually a pie crust on the bottom with my oatmeal crisp on top. I even had a wonderful pie dough at the ready. But we've had this sticky heat wave and, to be honest, baking was not on my agenda. I didn't tell this to the fruit, however, which were showing signs of age. The day of reckoning came today. One more and into the trash they'd have to go. Fortunately, the temps did lower a bit. But today? Well, it it's Rosh Hashanah. The quintessential apples and honey celebration. Plus, despite my feelings about working on the High Holidays, I had a full plate of projects on my desk. And dinner with my parents.
If I was going to bring dessert to them, it would have be something with stone fruit. And it would have to be something I could pull together quickly because I didn't finish up until about 2 p.m.
The dough went back into the freezer for another day. I quickly made my crisp recipe. Then I started slicing up the fruit. I had been dipping into this wonderful gem of a little cookbook, Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, and picked up a new way to treat fruit in a pie. Instead of just tossing the fruit with sugar and flour, I followed their lead and made a mixture of cornstarch, salt, and sugar that I added to the raw fruit slices. Then I stirred in lemon juice. It had occurred to me yesterday that pairing the fruit with ginger would add a nice jolt of spice to the flavors so I added a tablespoon of ginger--the ginger I had grated and stored in the freezer just a few weeks ago.
Everything was ready quite quickly. The oven was already preheated to 350. I sprayed the pie plate with baking spray, emptied the gingery fruit into the pie plate and covered up the fruit with the crisp. In it went for 40 minutes. Out it came with the fruit juicy and bubbling beneath a crispy crust of oats, walnuts, and butter, scented with cinnamon and my favorite "secret" pie ingredient, fennel pollen. When I served it at dinner tonight, cutting into the crisp revealed the lightest aroma of ginger and the sweet fragrance of peaches and plums, beautifully paired. The flavor was sweet summer, just on its way out to make way for fall.
Okay, I'm finally ready for apples.
Ginger Stone Fruit Crisp
Serves 8 to 10
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 ½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon fennel pollen
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 pounds stone fruit (I used white and yellow peaches along with plums), pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon freshly grated (or grated and frozen/defrosted) ginger
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crisp mixture combine all the ingredients, adding the butter last, and mix well. Reserve.
To make the filling, slice the fruit over a bowl to collect the juices. Add the ginger. Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt, and then stir into the sliced fruit. Add the lemon juice and mix well.
Spray a pie plate with baking spray. Pour the fruit mixture into the pie plate. Top with crisp mixture--about 1 to 1 1/2 cups, depending on how thick you like the crisp layer. You'll have plenty of crisp mixture left over so put it in a freezer bag and store in the freezer to pull out whenever you have a last-minute craving for a fruit crisp.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is browned. Perfect served with vanilla bean ice cream.