I was out of town for several days at the end of last week to visit with family and friends, and took my new laptop with me so I could post and read while away. Woe was me when I found that I couldn’t “connect” from where I was due to spotty internet service and no wi-fi available yet. Ah, technology, it’s great when it works…
I’m back home now and I’d like to share a couple of very tasty items I made before I left town. One was the lovely dessert above. The other was a dish from blogger friends Katherine and Greg over at Rufus’—a wonderful Kale, Spinach and Bread Casserole that we enjoyed oh-so-very-much and that I highly recommend. Katherine’s recipe, which you can find here, immediately got my attention because I’m such a fan of savory bread puddings and greens. She used gruyere and blue cheeses in hers, which sounds divine and I would have, too, except for the fact that I was leaving town and only had fontina and parmesan on hand. I’m happy to say that it was terrific with these two cheeses, so I know it must be outstanding with the other two…especially since gruyere and blue are two of my favorite cheeses. I’ll be making this one again, and thanks, Katherine, for the recipe!
And now for the dessert. I had lots of fresh Florida strawberries on hand, and I wanted to try something I’d never had or seen, a fruit crisp made with strawberries only. I’ve often wondered why you never seem to see a strawberry crisp even though you do see pies occasionally—I guess it’s because it takes a lot of strawberries to make one—but I have to say, it’s really a terrific thing! My recipe, which pairs the flavor of orange and some almonds with tart berries, is really a delicious way to enjoy this spring fruit treat. It’s not an overly sweet dessert and can be made more so when topped with vanilla ice cream, or more complex by enhancing the natural sweetness of the berries by topping it with crème fraiche. The first time we had it, ice cream was on hand, but I can tell you that the next day, using the crème fraiche just took it into the stratosphere! And of course, you could use whipped cream flavored with Grand Marnier…or whatever you like.
I hope you’ll check out Katherine’s recipe above for yourself and give it a try. It’s a great way to use and enjoy greens even if you aren’t a fan of them. And, I hope you’ll “live with passion” and buy, procure, or even better…pick, enough berries to try this little dessert while the berries are plentiful.
Me, I’m off to the market for more berries, and I’ll be back shortly!
Strawberry Orange Almond Crisp
For the berries:
2 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced
zest of one orange
1/3 cup sugar, preferably cane sugar
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 Tablespoon flour
For the topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup rolled (not quick cooking) oats
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 lb. (I stick) unsalted butter, cold and diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a glass or other rectangular casserole dish, about 8 x 11 inches and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the berries, zest, sugar, Grand Marnier and flour, stirring to mix well and set aside while you make the topping.
In a small bowl combine the flour, both sugars, salt, oats, almonds and the butter, and use your hands to lightly work the butter into the dry ingredients until it just becomes crumbly with pea-sized pieces of butter.
Transfer the berries and their juices to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Top evenly with the crumble topping. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees until the filling is bubbling and the topping is a light golden brown and crisp. (It’s never a bad idea to put a sheet of aluminum foil underneath to catch any drips.) Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla bean ice cream, crème fraiche or whipped cream with another little splash of Grand Marnier if you feel particularly wicked.