Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crisp Weather

Summertime is made for dresses. And skirts, and tank tops. In general, summertime is made for light clothing.

Consequently, I wore light clothing to work at the beginning of the week. Nothing strange up to here, right?

That's until I realized my office had American-level air conditioning standards--actually, the whole building does. Goodbye dresses, hello jeans and sweaters. But don't worry, I found where the air comes from, and it comes from little slits on the floor. I've got masking tape, and let me tell you I won't let this rebel AC ruin my Summer closet plans. No siree. 

So, crisp weather it is, in my office at least. But that's not really the kind of crisp I was thinking about.

When strawberries come along, I get so excited I eat them all the time: for breakfast, before and after lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack, as a before-dinner get what I mean. One thing I hardly ever think of doing is making a baked good with these lovely red pieces of goodness--but I finally decided to do it. As the French say, j'ai sauté le pas

All you food bloggers aren't innocent in this situation, you know. I've been reading about blueberry buckles, cobblers and summer berry pies. I just couldn't resist any longer. 

After psychologically preparing myself for cooking down all those luscious strawberries, I decided that my berry dessert needed to bring out the flavor of the fruit, so preferably not in cake form. I thought back, remembering all the great crumbles and crisps I've been seeing online, and settled for a strawberry crisp.

Obviously, my 500g of strawberries didn't really make it into the oven--my cereal was begging for some, and my mid-afternoon snack as well. Those that did, however, were accompanied by a fresh fig and a crisp topping made with almonds and almond flour. Any hints of sadness I had (letting the strawberries go in the oven sure was a difficult life decision) evaporated when I opened the oven door. The aroma of the strawberries, mixed in with the almonds and a hint of cinnamon made me want to jump right into the oven itself and eat the crisp before it was even ready. Mind you, I'm not the reckless kind--the story of how I dropped a very sharp paring knife, blade pointed down, onto my toe this week isn't the subject here--so I waited until it cooled a little to give it a taste.

Give this recipe a go if you're a fan of strawberries in any form. In a few words, this is what happened to me: "Strawberry crisp, meet Lucie. Lucie, strawberry crisp." And we became the best of friends. "The End"--said between two mouthfuls of crisp topped with plain yogurt.

Fig-Strawberry Crisp 
serves 3 to 4

1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 fresh fig, cut into medium-sized pieces
2 TS cornstarch
1/8 c. granulated sugar
1/2 TS vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 c. + 2 TB slivered almonds
1/8 c. almond meal
1/8 c. all-purpose flour
2 TB brown sugar
1 TB granulated sugar
1/8 TS cinnamon
1/8 TS nutmeg
1/8 TS salt
2 TB butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix granulated sugar and cornstarch. Add strawberries and fig, lemon juice and vanilla, and delicately mix. Put mixture in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake 25 minutes until strawberries have released their juice.

Meanwhile, pulse almonds, almond meal, flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a food processor until almonds are finely chopped. Drizzle melted butter on top and pulse until a coarse meal forms.

Place mixture in a medium-sized bowl and pinch fingers together to create some pea-sized chunks.

Remove fruit from the oven and give mixture a stir. Sprinkle topping evenly on the fruit. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling.

Place baking dish on a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm, or cooled with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
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claudia said...

A good "any fruit" crisp is good at any time, regardless of the seasons! Here where I am on vacation, I have access to wild blueberries. I was thinking of getting some at the market and turn them into a warm dessert too!

Paris Pastry said...

I had to wear a jacket today, just to beat the air con! Good timing with this recipe; I just bought some strawberries begging to be baked!

Ingrid said...

The A/C is out of control at my job, too. I keep a sweater there.

Your crisp looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

i came across your blog when you left a comment on another blog. i just wanted to let you know that i have a friend who has a website and she sells all sorts of american goodies. she also sources baking ingredients such as crisco, bisquick, corn syrup and such things if you're interested. the baking aids section is not yet up & running on the site, but you can contact her & she'll try to get it for you. she's great like that. here's her website good luck with the baking !

Y said...

What a delicious looking dessert. Makes me giggle to think that you applied tape to the floor so that you wouldn't have to wear a jumper at work :)

Mary said...

I love the ingredients you've combined in your crisp. That tiny bit of warmth will help fight the cold you feel at work. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

grace said...

yep, i wear winter clothes all summer because of the stinkin' ac. granted, i do appreciate it when it's not there, but it sure does make my toes numb. :)
great crisp, lucie--the strawberries are beautiful!

Juliana said...

Wow, fig and strawberry crisp, it sure not only sound but looks yummie!

Barbara said...

FIGS and strawberries? Haven't seen that before! And it looks marvelous, Lucie.
I love crisps, although our weather won't be crisp again until December, if then. :)

Deeba PAB said...

Gorgeous... I love fruit desserts and can't seem to get enough of them... your crisp looks lovely!