By Cat, Feb 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
There is nothing like a fruit crisp as dessert, any time of the year; simply use whatever fruit is in season: apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, berries, or even a combination of these. I don’t like my crisp too sweet, as the sweetness takes away from the pleasant tartness of the fruit.
- Includes: 1. Apple varieties (chart); 2. Using lemon water; 3. Cooking time; 4. Flavor with spices, herbs; 5. Topping considerations
- See also: 1. Fruity Desserts Menu; 2. Basic Apple Crisp (or Other Fruit); 3. Rosemary or Thyme Pear Crisp; 4. Spelt-Yogurt Crumble; 5. Rhubarb Crisp
Fruit Tricks & Other Tips/Ideas
Apple varieties: Some apples are great for baking, others are great for eating but mush-out when cooked. In the Apple Variety Chart, below:
KEY: N/A = Info Not Available; E = Excellent, G = Good, F = Fair, N = Not Recommended; also indicates the number of months each variety will last in cold storage.
Lemon water: When using pears or apples, a bit of lemon juice will keep the fruit from turning brown (rusting) before baking. I fill a bowl halfway with cold filtered water and add a tablespoon of lemon juice; as I work with the peeled or cut fruit, I immerse it in the lemony water until I’m ready to mix it into the final product. To remove the fruit, use a slotted spoon or pour everything through a colander; then pat dry with a cotton kitchen towel or paper towel, just before incorporating into the recipe. This trick also works with bananas.
Cooking time: Pears will cook faster than apples. To avoid scorching/burning the topping when using apples, try covering your crisp with a sheet of waxed paper covered by a sheet of aluminum foil (the waxed paper protects the acidic fruit from absorbing aluminum from the foil) for 30 minutes of baking, then remove the cover for 20 – 30 minutes of browning.
- Traditionally, white or brown cane sugar is used to sweeten both the fruit and toping.
- I avoid sugar because of my insulin resistance; instead, I use a bit of raw, local honey, molasses, or maple syrup to sweeten the fruit, and powdered stevia extract (substitute ⅛ tsp stevia per ¼ cup sugar) plus a 1 – 2 tsp honey or molasses to sweeten the topping.
Flavor with spices: The fruit for the filling is traditionally tossed with a bit of flour, sugar and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg; I like to add a bit of cardamom, especially with apples. Ginger is especially nice with peaches, nectarines and/or berries.
Or herbs:It sounds weird, but it really is a nice combination. See Rosemary or Thyme Pear Crisp.
Topping Considerations: Traditionally, a crisp topping is made from flour, sugar and butter, as in my Basic Apple (Or other fruit) Crisp. For a change-up, I like to add a bit of rolled oats, chopped nuts, and/or desiccated unsweetened coconut in the crisp topping for more crunch; adding coconut is especially nice when using tropical fruits like mangos or papaya.
When I can get it, I prefer using sprouted grain flour; alternately, you could use regular whole wheat flour presoaked in yogurt-water overnight (see Spelt-Yogurt Crumble (on Basic Apple or Other Fruit Crips recipe page). Another alternative (as suggested by Edward Espe Brown in his 25th Anniversary edition of the Tassajara Bread Book), is to use granola or muesli for the topping. If you want gluten-free or grain free (as for a Paleo-diet), try my Almond Meal & Pecan Topping (which I have tested favorably in an apple crisp).
- Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Epse Brown (see Beloved Cookbooks for more about this cookbook)