Monday, June 15, 2009

My Top Topping

Grocery shopping is so much more fun during the summer months, especially if you are lucky enough to have access to a good farmers' market or produce stand. But even if you only have a Von's or a Met Foods, or a Winn-Dixie or a Tesco (See? I even know the international supermarkets!), it is still pleasurable to take a stroll down the produce aisle and see nature's bounty... abounding. I like to go to the store without a list and pick up whatever fruits and veggies look the freshest or most ripe. That's what makes this dessert recipe such a summer fave- you can make the crisp topping ahead of time, and then use it with whatever fruit strikes your fancy. It's perfect with berries, pit fruits (like peaches, cherries or plums), or just plain old apples- or go ahead and play mad scientist and combine fruits for extra fruity deliciousness. Raspberry-Peach? Apricot-Blueberry? Yes, please!

What you need:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- goes well with apples)
1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional)

About 3 lbs of fruit, sliced and pitted

What to do:
1. Combine the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon (if using), in a medium bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry mixer or two table knives to cut the ingredients together. Add the oats (and almonds, if applicable) and use your fingers to form into moist clumps. Place bowl in freezer until ready to use (up to 3 days, or so).
2. Preheat the oven to 375. Slice up whatever fruits you are using and place them in the bottom of a baking dish. Top generously with the topping. Bake until fruit mixture is bubbly and topping is crisp and golden brown, 45-60.
3. Top with vanilla ice cream (or try the Haagen Dazs Honey flavor), and enjoy the sweet taste of summer.

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