~ Take it Easy: Cherry-Berry & Triple-Ginger Crisps ~
This luscious, easy-to-make dessert turns a gloomy, cold, wet, end-of-February day into a bright taste of sunny, hot, Summer. Made with frozen tart pie cherries, sweet blueberries and ingredients I keep on-hand in my pantry, it didn't require a trip to the grocery store or more than about twenty minutes of my time. FYI: A "crisp" is an American heritage dessert consisting of a fruit mixture topped with a crispy streusel usually made with oats. I happen to love gingersnap cookies (and all things ginger), which, when used in place of oats, gives it an extra-crunchy top.
Why don't I call it a "crunch" instead of a "crisp"?
Our forefathers' wives invented a lot of amusing words to define American heritage fruit desserts that do not fall under the category of pie. A crisp is a fruit mixture topped with a crispy crumb or streusel (a streusel contains oats, a crumb does not, which makes it crumbly). If a crisp has a bottom crust, it's a crunch. To turn a crisp or a crunch into a betty, the fruit gets layered between slices of buttered bread or bread crumbs and spices. To turn a crisp into a cobbler, mix up a rough, "cobbled up" biscuit-like topping and plop/drop it on top of the fruit. For a grunt or a slump (very similar to a cobbler), cook berries on the stovetop and listen to them make a grunting sound while they cook, then watch them slump under the weight of the topping. To bake a buckle, you need to stir fruit into a buttery-rich, coffeecake-type batter and top it with streusel, then, bake it and watch it buckle (sink down) in the center as it cools due to the liquid in the fruit. It's a sinking feeling.
Memorize these words:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar (10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
8 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small cubes, kept chilled
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies ( 7-ounces)
1/4 cup minced, crystallized (candied) ginger
For the berry filling:
3/4 pound each: frozen pie cherries and blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon each: cherry and blueberry extract (optional)
2 tablespoons ginger brandy (optional)
Using a pastry blender and a paring knife (or two knives if you don't have a pastry blender), cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
~ Step 4. Add the crushed ginger-snaps, the cooled almonds and the minced ginger. Using a large spoon, stir until thoroughly combined. You now have a tasty all-purpose streusel topping. Set aside and prepare the cherry-berry filling as follows:
~Step 5. In a large bowl, place the frozen pie cherries and blueberries. Add the sugar, cornstarch and optional extracts and ginger brandy. Add a generous half cup of the streusel topping too. Using a large spoon, stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
~Step 6. Portion the cherry-berry mixture into 6, 1-cup ramekins that have been placed on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Using a large spoon, portion and spread the streusel topping evenly over all (about a generous 1/2 cup on each). Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes. The topping will be golden brown and the berry juices will be just beginning to bubble up through the topping in spots.
Remove from oven & allow to cool 20-30 minutes...
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; food storage bag; rolling pin; pastry blender; paring knife; large spoon; 6, 1-cup size ramekins; parchment paper; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan
Cook's Note: For another one of my seriously easy fruit desserts, which can be made with fresh or canned fruit, check of my recipe for ~ A Simple, Summertime Treat: Pineapple Cobbler ~ in Categories 6, 10 or 20.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)