Monday, July 30, 2012

Peach and Raspberry Crisp

BBQs. Flip flops. Beach volleyball. Everybody has that something, that one thing that, for them, epitomizes summer. It's what we dream about in the dead of winter when the warmth of summer seems like a distant memory. Summer isn't truly summer without that special something.

For me, that something is fruit desserts. Beach days are great, and I love sundresses and ice cold lemonade as much as the next girl, but it's not officially summer until I make my favorite dessert, peach and raspberry crisp. It's a dish that will always hold a special place in my heart, in part because it was one of the first recipes I learned to make on my own. And, along with Martha Stewart's Mac & Cheese 101, it's probably the recipe I've made most often over the course of my time in the kitchen. It's seen the countless milestones and celebrations, which inevitably fill up my calendar summer after summer— birthdays, graduations, Father's Days, Memorial Days, Labor Days, lakehouse weekends and beach trips. It's grown up with me over the past 10 years, and I've introduced it to all of the important people in my life. Summer after summer, things change and those people come and go, but I always come back to this dessert.

It know it's sappy to wax poetic about a simple mixture of fruit and sugar, but consider this my ode to summer. Try making it and maybe you'll understand what I mean.

Beautiful peaches from the Green City Market

This year the peach and raspberry crisp made its first appearance in July as I officially kicked off summer. It was time to introduce the dish to someone new. With an extra pair of helping hands in the kitchen, preparation was even quicker than usual and the crisp was in the oven within 20 minutes. We used fresh peaches and raspberries from the Green City Market, which were divine. High quality produce is the key to making this dish fantastic. That and using just the right proportion of fruit filling to strudel topping. The recipe calls for a 3-quart casserole dish, but I like to use a smaller size (2 1/2 or 2 quarts) to get a thicker layer of topping per serving.

As usual, it was delicious- the perfect combination of ripe fruit and buttery strudel goodness. The two of us polished off about a third of the crisp in a single night. The rest of it was gone within several days.

The crisp won over another devotee and another summer was off to a great start.

Bon appetit!

Peach and Raspberry Crisp
Serves 10 
10 to 12 large, ripe, firm peaches
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c plus 2 to 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 tsp salt
1 c old-fashioned oats
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter the inside of a 9x13-inch glass baking dish (or a smaller dish if you like a thick layer of topping).

Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in cold water. Peel peaches and slice into thick wedges and place into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tbsp of flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your fingers. When the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly, sprinkle evenly over the top of the peaches and raspberries.

Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven at 350 °F for 20-30 minutes, until warm.

Peaches, raspberries, oatmeal strudel topping, vanilla ice cream

Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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