Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

Nectarine, Raspberry, Blueberry Crumble tf

I confess to being a glutton when it comes to stone fruit. There is a window of time when peaches, nectarines and plums run rampant at the market. Vibrantly hued and mottled in purples, oranges, fuscias and crimson, their flesh is a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, winey, and tart.  I could eat them all day long, but then my stomach would hurt.  At this time when these gifts are abundant, I tend to overshop.  (It’s no secret that I have indulgence issues at farmers’ markets.)  My kitchen counters are lined with bowls and baskets brimming with fruit.  So, it’s no surprise that even in our home, all of this fruit cannot be eaten at the peak of ripeness.  Some start to get a little too ripe, buried at the bottom of the bowl, or even passed over for the newest batch from the market.  As I said, I have indulgence issues.

This is the moment when a crumble or crisp comes in handy.  It’s desserts’ equivalent to a homey vegetable soup.  Gather up all the ripe, somewhat passed fruit (as you might with vegetables for a soup), cut and chop and pile them in a baking dish.  Garnish with berries and pile on the topping.  The tartness of the berries balances the sweetness of the stone fruit, and with little added sugar the result is a rich, murky, sweet – but not cloying – perfumed stew of summer fruit. It’s best served warm, but not piping hot, since that will mask the flavor of the fruit. A dollop of high quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream adds a cool foil to the warm, more-ish fruit.

Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

You can use any stone fruit for the crisp. Try any combination of plums, peaches and nectarines. The addition of raspberries and blueberries adds tartness and color.

Serves 8

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups (170 g.) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 g.) brown sugar
1/4 cup (55 g.) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170 g.) unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

For the fruit:
2 lbs.(1 kg.) nectarines (or use a combination of nectarines, plums, peaches), halved and pitted, cut in 1″ chunks
1 cup (150 g.) raspberries
1 cup (150 g.) blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare topping:
Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix well to combine.  Add butter, and work in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Topping can be prepared one day in advance.  Cover and refrigerate until use.)

Prepare crisp:
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Arrange nectarines in rectangular baking dish.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.  Arrange raspberries and blueberries over nectarines.  Cover fruit evenly with topping. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool briefly.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Summer Solstice Danish-Style

Denmark is the land of the (nearly) midnight sun. The sun sets just before 11:00 in the evening, only to begin its ascent again in the wee hours of the morning. In a land where the winters are long and very dark, it is no wonder that celebrations, and even a God or two, have been delegated to give thanks and perhaps curry favor with the fiery powers that be. Summer Solstice, or Sankt Hans Aften (which means the eve of St. John the Baptist Day), is the height of these jubilations, as it celebrates the longest day of the year. Bonfires are lit, and food and drink are plentiful, as the Vikings of yesteryear, and in spirit, party and feast until dawn.

This year we will attempt our own celebration on a nearby beach.  We will light a bonfire and have a picnic dinner as the sun sets.  It is likely that we will forego the authentic tradition of burning an effigy over the fire, as that may not go over too well with the local residents and could quite possibly get us arrested.  (Proper solstice tradition would have a straw witch burned over the fire.  This symbolizes the riddance of problems, worries, and threats from people’s lives.)

Food typically associated with the solstice celebration is simple picnic fare: grilled fish or meat, fresh boiled local crayfish (which can be a party unto itself) and remoulade sauce, potato salad, green salad.  All of this would be accompanied, Viking-style, by beer, shnapps and wine throughout the evening.

Krebs

For dessert, something making use of the fleeting yet prolific Danish strawberry season would be appropriate and always welcome.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Serves 8-10

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Cut in the butter, and work it with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Refrigerate until use.

For the fruit:
4 large or 6 small rhubarb stalks, washed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and cut in half
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Gently toss rhubarb, strawberries and sugar together in a large bowl.
Arrange evenly in a rectangular baking dish.
Cover the fruit with topping.
Bake in oven until rhubarb is tender and the topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.