Apple-Pomegranate Crisp

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When I wrote the post about Summer Berry Crisp, I told you all just how easy fruit crisp desserts are.  Believe me, they are.  Another great thing about a crisp is that you can make them with any fruit and combination of fruit.  You can adapt it to any fruit that’s in season.  Case in point…Apple Pomegranate Crisp.  The recipe is exactly the same as the Summer Berry Crisp, except I replaced the berries with Granny Smith apples and tossed in some pomegranate seeds.

My friend Sandy invited us for break-the-fast on Saturday night. I offered to make dessert.  She requested a fruit crisp (no surprise there, she was the one who requested a crisp when I made the berry one for her Memorial Day party.)  I wanted to do something Fall-ish.  In the back of my mind, I was going to do an Apple Cranberry Crisp, but it’s a little early for fresh cranberries (and though I usually buy extra fresh cranberries when they are in season, throw them in a Ziploc bag,  put them in the freezer, so I have them on hand, but there were none).  I looked in the fridge and saw that I had a container of pomegranate seeds (you may have noticed lately my new found obsession with said seeds…sprinkled on my Everyday Granola and yogurt in the morning, added to Pomegranate Margaritas, baked into oatmeal-white chocolate chip cookies…), so I decided I’d try them.  And we were all glad I did!  They added just a little tartness to the apples and it was delicious.

And then I got super motivated and decided to make a Honey-Vanilla ice cream to go with it.  Yum!  Until I remembered that we were picnicking at the beach (DUHHHH!), so how could I bring ice cream?! What a dork.  I ended up whipping a little cream and bringing that.  Now I have a container of Honey-Vanilla ice cream in the freezer!  I may just bake another batch of the oatmeal cookies and make ice cream sandwiches.  Mmmmmmm….

 Apple-Pomegranate Crisp

INGREDIENTS

5 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin

1/2 cup pomegranate arils (seeds)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Crisp Topping:

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°.  Butter a 9×13″ baking dish.

Gently combine the apples with the sugar, flour and lemon juice.  Gently mix in the pomegranate arils.

Prepare the topping:  Combine the oats, flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.  Use a pastry blender or two knives to work the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. (Fold in pecans if using.)  Sprinkle evenly over the berries.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.  Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly.  Serve in dessert bowls, warm or at room temperature, with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Summer Berry Crisp

Summer Berry Crisp.  And look how beautiful it is sitting on Sandy's adorable Memorial Day "tablescape"!!!

Summer Berry Crisp. And look how beautiful it is sitting on Sandy’s adorable Memorial Day “tablescape”!!!

Juicy berries beneath a crispy, crumbly crust of oats, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Summer Berry Crisp.  Crisps are hands down one of the easiest desserts to make. You can even make this one with frozen (gasp!) berries to simplify even further.  But with the abundance of fresh berries in the market right now, you’ll want to use fresh.  And the colors of the red (strawberries and raspberries), white (vanilla ice cream) and blue (blueberries) make this Summer Berry Crisp the perfect dessert for your Memorial Day or Fourth of July cookout.  (In fact, I made it just yesterday to bring to our friends Sandy and Joel’s BBQ!  Great time, great food and Sandy always does the best job of decorating!!)

OR you can use this recipe as a guide and play with any combination of fruits and/or berries you like…mix it up!  Peach/Blueberry…Strawberry/Rhubarb…Nectarine/Blackberry…what’s your favorite?

SUMMER BERRY CRISP

(adapted slightly from Sheila Lukins in PARADE, via Epicurious)

INGREDIENTS

Berry filling:

2 cups each strawberries (cut in half or thirds if large), blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (or, two 12-oz. bags of frozen berries; no need to thaw!)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Crisp Topping:

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°.  Butter a 9×13″ baking dish.

Gently combine the berries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice.

Prepare the topping:  Combine the oats, flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.  Use a pastry blender or two knives to work the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. (Fold in pecans if using.)  Sprinkle evenly over the berries.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.  Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly.  Serve in dessert bowls, warm or at room temperature, with ice cream or whipped cream.

Chocolate and Mixed Nut Tart in a Cookie Crust

Chocolate and Mixed Nut Tart in a Cookie Crust, Cranberry-Pecan Bread Pudding w/Bourbon-Caramel Sauce and Pumpkin Roll

This is one of my favorite desserts of all time.  Another from the Bon Appétit “bible”. This will remind you of pecan pie, only with a whole mélange of nuts, melty chocolate chips and in a delicious shortbread crust.  It’s almost candy bar-ish. And with a little dollop of whipped cream?  Heaven.  And a wonderful twist on the Thanksgiving pecan pie tradition.

The recipe calls for almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, but you can use any combination of your favorite nuts.  (I’m partial to almonds, pecans, walnuts and macadamias.)

And please…whip your own whipped cream.  Don’t use that stuff that squirts out of the can!  Directions follow.  It’s easy.  Really.

Chocolate and Mixed Nut Tart in a Cookie Crust

INGREDIENTS

Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon chilled salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (or more) chilled whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Filling
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted, cooled
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, cooled
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted, cooled
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream)

For crust:
Combine flour and sugar in processor. Add butter and cut in, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons cream and vanilla extract. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more cream by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together. Press dough over bottom and up sides of 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before filling.)

For filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all nuts in processor; chop coarsely, using on/off turns. Whisk corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter in large bowl to blend. Whisk in eggs and vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in chocolate chips, then nuts. Transfer filling to prepared crust.

Bake tart until firmly set in center and top is deep golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack 30 minutes. Push up pan bottom to release tart. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Whipped Cream:

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Hint:  it works best if beaters, bowl and cream are cold.

In a large bowl, whip cream until it starts to thicken and stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.