Friday, September 05, 2008

A Stone Fruit Crisp to Welcome Fall

A few days ago I was headed out to the gym and noticed that the maple tree in the neighbor's yard had red and yellow tinged leaves. On Sunday, while driving to the Farmer's Market, I passed a clump of ferns that had turned bright yellow and brown. And then there was this sign that fall is truly upon us...

First Fall Leaf on Car

One the desserts for me that signifies the bridge between summer and fall is a stone fruit crisp. I was really fortunate this year in having a friend whose sister and brother in law own a cherry and peach orchard on the Western Massachusetts and Connecticut border.

On a trip back from Cambridge earlier this month, I stopped by to see them and they gave me a bushel of peaches and a few quarts of the late season sour cherries. I made freezer jam and spiced peaches with quite a few of the peaches and pitted and froze some of the cherries but I made sure I had enough left over to make on of my favorite and most colorful crisps, peach cherry.

Sour Cherry and Nectarines for Crisp

The combination of the sweet ripe peaches and the zing of the sour cherries under a brown sugary crunchy top just can't be beat.

Sour Cherry and Nectarine Fruit Crisp

Erica and Chris agreed when I served it as dessert a few evenings ago. This crisp can be made in the middle of the winter to with frozen stone fruit. It will bring a bit of late summer to a snowy February stew.

Speaking of Chris, today is his birthday! He's 44 years young. He's throwing a bash for the house and some friends tonight, where he will be serving some of his house famous meat pies along with burgers, dogs, and good late summer grill fare. Go over to his blog, Course Food and wish him joy today!

Sour Cherry and Peach Crisp
Note: This recipe is the perfect recipe to use whole grain flours. I used a combination of whole wheat and multi grain for this batch and the multi grain flour gave a nutty taste to the crisp topping that was perfect for fall.

1 quart pitted sour cherries (frozen or fresh)
2 count dash of balsamic vinegar
4 cups ripe peaches, skinned and cut into chunks
1/4 cup flour (AP or whole wheat works equally well)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup quick cook oats
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into medium sized chunks
1 cup whole wheat or multigrain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
pinch salt

Mix cherries and balsamic vinegar and let sit in fridge overnight or for eight hours. Combine fruit, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/3 cup sugar and line bottom of a 2 quart prepared baking dish with fruit mixture.

In large bowl, whisk quick cook oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, spices and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut into the oat and flour mixture the butter and sprinkle all of crisp topping on top of fruit.

Place baking dish on top of jelly roll pan or baking sheet and bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes until fruit starts to bubble through crisp topping and topping is browned. If topping starts to gets too brown, cover with sheet of foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream