Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Berry mixed up

Summertime. Lately, every time I visit the grocery store there are cartons and boxes of jewel-like berries staring at me from the produce section. Strawberries and blackberries and raspberries and blueberries... It was more than I could handle. I just had to DO something with all those berries! Well, easy enough, I suppose. Tracey was coming over for dinner and while she's not a fan of stone fruit desserts she will partake in a mixed berry one.

It should be illegal to eat fruit crisps without vanilla ice cream

Crisps are about the simplest thing one can make while still being quite impressive to one's dinner guests. It appears to be complicated, what with all the rich flavors, colors and crispy sweet topping but it's easy as pie...err... no, easier! I sorta did this recipe but added in a splash of lemon juice and did my own topping recipe which looks to be pretty close to this one anyway. To be honest, it's hard to mess it up.

Summer berries = summer's natural jewels

I didn't exactly use equal amounts of berries. I just started throwing berries into a measuring cup until I had what I needed. I was a bit heavier on the black, lighter on the blue and about average on the razz. I think I could just stare at a mixed berry medley for days (ok, maybe not days) - it's so pretty! The colors! Seriously, like jewels!

Toss gently with flour, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice

The main reason crisps are so easy to make (vs. a pie) is that instead of making a crust - which can be very finicky and quite challenging for a non baker - you just mix together some oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in some butter and sprinkle it on top of your fruit. No rolling, no hoping it doesn't rip or tear, no patching crust holes if it does, no crimping or sealing... not to mention: lower in fat. Not LOW-FAT, but lower in fat.

Cutting butter into the dry ingredients for topping

I decided to make individual servings here instead of baking it in a larger dish. It's easier storage for leftovers and most likely causes you to eat less too. Scoop the contents of that 6 oz. ramekin out onto a plate and it'll look like nothing! Keep it in the dish with ice cream on top: humongo! Have you heard how you can lose weight simply by eating dinner off of a smaller plate? Same idea...

Less than 1 cup per person; still plenty of dessert

The fruit cooks down quite a bit

I'm going to make a rule here. I think it should actually be written into California state (or Federal) law: do NOT serve any fruit crisp without vanilla ice cream. Just don't. do. it. A crisp is NOT the same without a dollop of rich vanilla ice cream accompanying the tart, warmness of that cooked, sweet fruit.

Luscious. Really, no other words...

Go buy yourselves some cartons of berries and have at this. Afterall, summer's almost half over. Those brightly colored berries will only be in your grocery stores and farmer's markets for a couple more months. Go crazy and crisp it up!