Friday, May 29, 2009

Apple Crisp

I have a dear friend, Liz, who has been an inspiration to me for 33 years-yes, I counted them! We had our babies together, together watched them grow, traded recipes (some over more than a few cocktails) and learned to be the homemakers we are today-together.
Although we live far from each other now, I treasure our phone conversations, some lengthy, some punctuated by the day's activities. I spoke with her the other day and she shared a secret ingredient on her "fruit" crisp. We had a long chat about the virtues of "crisp" as a summer dessert. It's easy to make, easy to take, love the oatmeal flavor, and it makes up "in a jiffy". The other good thing about a "fruit crisp" is you can use any fruit, apples, rhubarb, mixed berries, whatever is in season. Liz told me she found a new way to make the "crisp" and I loved the idea, couldn't wait to try it. She substitutes a portion of the butter with cream cheese. What a great idea! She used rhubarb and strawberries, which I LOVE, but are not readily available in AZ. I opted for apples and dried cranberries. I have to chuckle as we both know how to cook now and don't share quantities, so here I am, having my own chemistry experiment in the kitchen.
Fruit crisp, whatever the fruit you are using, is a lot easier than making a pie, and really yummy!

Jene's Apple Crisp
6-8 apples-peeled and sliced
1/3 cup craisins (optional)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon corn starch
Mix together and set aside

2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
5 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons cream cheese

In a separate mixing bowl,cut the butter/cream cheese in with the dry ingredients. You can use two forks or an electric mixer. Stop when they are a coarse "crumb" texture. (In high school home ec we always used to say, "When the pieces got to be the size of peas.")
Pat 1/2 crumb mixture on the bottom of a 9 x 12 glass baking dish (or you can use 9x9 if you like a thicker crust). Evenly distribute the apple mixture. Top with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream. This is the perfect summer dessert!

*Substitute 3-4 cups of any other fruit. When it is more tart, like rhubarb, add up to 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 2 Tablespoons of sugar used in the apple mixture here.

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