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28 July 2005

gluten-free apricot-cherry crisp

apricot-cherry crisp, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.
Ah, the joys of summer.

Seattle hot today (mid-80s, and everyone talking about it). After two hours of kayaking on Lake Union with my friend Julie, looking at that open sky, I knew I needed to cook tonight. I've been reading nothing but food blogs lately, and my mouth has been watering for days. It may be hot, but it was time to turn on the oven.

I'm especially blessed to live in Seattle on these summer days. We have the most incredible produce in the world. The farmers' markets are filled with such fresh abundance that even the fruit and veg at the gourmet co-op feels a few days old. On days like this, I just don't understand why Americans have a hard time meeting their daily veggie requirements.

So this evening, my friend Meri and I made a meal.

First, we ate a spinach/grapefruit/avocado salad, with pine nuts and a champagne vinegar dressing. Add some hummus and nut crackers on the side, and you're sated for a bit, just enough to cook some more.

We constructed the corn quiche in a tef crust that I had read about here, but I substituted this for the traditional wheat. Gluten-free products, I have discovered, are far more crumbly, less cohesive, and a little more demanding of my time than traditional flour. But that's just the joy of the challenge. I added a bit more butter and about a half cup more water to the crust, and I put it in the freezer for ten minutes to rest, since GF flour seems to behave more when it's cold. Instead of tabasco sauce, I used a wheat-free piquante sauce. *Yikes, it's hot. Beware* And we shaved corn cobs for the kernels, cobs that were so juicy that corn juice showered on us both. There was a flurry of flour on the kitchen floor after I made it, but it was all worth it.

Take a look at this if you want to see it.

Sorry there isn't any left for you to eat, however. We ate it hot, and then we ate some more when Amy came over later. She loved it too. We all agreed that the tef crust is outrageously good. Better than traditional crust. Because it was so crumbly in the making, I had to pat it into the pie pan. It was thick, but still soft. More manageable than traditional crust. Hearty without feeling too healthy. Slightly sweet. And the eggs were a mile high. I used shaved asiago cheese instead of the swiss cheese, and it gave the quiche an extra depth. I'm going on a picnic tomorrow, and I'm sure the leftovers will go fast.

Last, we ate apricot-cherry crisp straight out of the oven. Okay, we waited a few minutes, but it still steamed as we ate it. We couldn't wait. The apricots had been fit-to-burst juicy in their original form. In the crisp, they had exploded and oozed into the rest of the dessert. The cherries stayed intact, which gave the entire crisp a rosy glow. And the crumble topping, made with GF flour again, tasted of brown sugar and nutmeg. We never missed the white flour.

I'll post the recipes tomorrow. Now, I have to tackle the dishes.

Okay, here's the crisp recipe, sort of cobbled together from a lot of sources, so I guess it's mine. Make it with fresh fruit for your company, and there's no way they could complain!

Fruit part:

Slice ripe apricots into quarters. (about a pound) Make sure they are juicy and ripe, not mealy.
Pit bing cherries. (again, about a pound) This is time-consuming, but it's worth it.
Mix the two together, with liberal dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and gluten-free vanilla.
Throw in some chopped, crystallized ginger (Reed's is gluten-free, if they have it where you live.)
Stir in half a cup of sugar, or more to taste. (In summer, the fruit should be sweet enough.)
Let it all sit for a bit and marinate, while you make the crisp.

Crisp part:

I really didn't use a recipe for this, as I went on instinct. So the proportions will change according to the size of the crisp you are making.

1 cup of GF flour (I like the GF pantry French bread and pizza mix.)
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
pinch of salt
one stick of cold butter, cut into tiny pieces

Mix everything together but the butter. Using either a pastry fork or the food processor, blend in the butter until the dough looks like a crumbly jumble of peas. Spread this over the fruit (I used a 9 by 9 pan) and put into a 375 degree oven for about an hour. It's done when the juices are spilling, the fruit is tender, and you just can't wait one more minute to take it out and eat it.

So there you go. I made a blueberry-peach one this past weekend, and it was gorgeous. You really can't go wrong with crisps. I'm starting to enjoy them more than pies!


At 1:36 PM, Blogger Rebekah Benson-Flannery said...

Hi Shauna,
I am sure you are so busy with your upcoming nuptials to look at incoming comments too much, but I wanted to make a suggestion for an alternative recipe for crisps: instead of flour use quinoa flakes. Lacking oats (I have yet to order some,though I love them), I made blueberry (I am not sure I can eat too many blueberries!) crisp for myself, my gluten-eating boyfriend, and our mothers. It was very good--the topping had crunchy, yet blueberry-soaked-tender texture, and the taste was sweet and light--a perfect complement to the tangy, sweet steaming blueberries. I am not a fan of quinoa-flake cereal (a la oatmeal), finding it lacks the chewy, hardiness I like in oatmeal, but I do like how these wispy flakes substitute so nicely for oatmeal in a variety of recipes (and, of course, that they are so readily available).

(I am spending the summer reading over some of your blog entries I missed:)...).

Enjoy your celebrations!

At 12:36 PM, Blogger sarah said...

hi shauna, i have been a dedicated reader for quite some time but have not left a comment for you until now! first of all, congratulations on your beautiful wedding - reading your post brought tears to me eyes! i am so happy for you and your new husband :) next - and this is completely unrelated - i want to make this crisp for a dear friend that has celiac but also can't have dairy - could i substitute the butter with margarine? thanks so much, and congrats, again...

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my search for cherry recipes, I stumbled upon this, and am drooling - you should submit it for the root source challenge!

At 1:27 PM, Blogger havenmaven said...

Incredibly happy with this crisp recipe. I have taken it with me to every bbq, block party, b-day party we've been to this summer and every single time it's gone in a flash and I always catch someone swiping the inside of the empty dish with their greedy fingers!

Thank you so much!

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Stef said...

Delicious! I just made this for our family's father's day get-together and it got rave reviews and was gone way too fast. Served it with a homemade bourbon vanilla bean ice cream!


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