The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crisp Topping ~ Use on Desserts, Muffins, Oatmeal!

I made my first peach pie last summer.  I had purchased a half bushel of peaches at our local farmers market because I wanted to try making peach preserves with agar instead of pectin (I've read too much negative stuff about pectin and agar powder/flakes is a healthy alternative).  The preserves turned out beautifully (will post in the near future!), but I also ended up with some extra peaches and figured I'd try my hand at a peach pie (recipe also in the near future!).  Sorry--I'm rambling on about peaches here...

The peach pie recipe I found had a crumble topping.  That was something I had made before.  In fact, I had already created my own crumble topping recipe, since I make apple and other fruit crisps, and French apple pie, and coffee cakes, and muffins on which crumble topping tastes so dee-lish.  The list goes on.

So I created one universal crisp topping recipe to be used for all those different recipes!  I usually quadruple it, divide it up evenly, and freeze it in quart-size freezer bags.  That way, when I'm in the mood for a crisp, or other dessert, I don't have to worry about the topping.  I pull it out of the freezer when I start my recipe to let it thaw a bit (30 minutes to an hour seems sufficient).  Or, if you're a super-duper plan-ahead person, you can pull it out and store it in your fridge for a day, or even two.  Don't get me wrong--I'm one of those planner-ahead-ers.  But sometimes you just need a dessert right then, and you didn't plan it.  :)

Finally, when I'm done paring, coring, and chopping apples, for instance, and am wondering why it takes so long to make whatever I'm making, I brighten up, open the bag of crisp, dump it on and spread it, and it's ready for the oven!  Woot!

Apple Crisp with my versatile Crisp Topping.  Super yum!

Crisp Topping on a blueberry pie ~ Joseph's fave!

First, a few pictures for you:

Penzeys spices are fresh and strong.

Here's what a good consistency of "crumble" looks like.

Finally, how 'bout a close-up of the Crisp Topping on that blueberry pie again?  Let's get real close.

Oh, yeah; that's what I'm talkin' about!

Crisp Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour (I use an organic whole-grain white-wheat from our food buying co-op)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (also organic, regular-cut)
  • 1/4 cup cane juice crystals (or sugar)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I use half sucanat, half brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I'm generous with this!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 grates of fresh nutmeg (there's nothing like it--please go out and buy some fresh whole nutmeg along with a microplane grater--it's so worth it!)
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter

Combine everything but the butter in a bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  For large (quadruple) batches, I make this in my Bosch Universal Mixer, and use the flat paddles.  I used to make large batches in my old KitchenAid 6-quart stand mixer, too.  (Use the flat paddle in that.)

I quadruple this recipe, divide it up, and store it in quart-size freezer bags.  Freezes very well!

Fruit crisp -- Peel, core, and slice fruit (or use berries, or do whatever it is you need to do with that particular fruit!).  Hey--use some frozen berries or something--all you have to do with those is dump them (no need to thaw!)  Dump your prepared berries in an oven dish--a 1 1/2-quart casserole is a great size dish for a small dessert.  Spread the topping on, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until crisp, golden, and bubbly.

Muffins -- Spoon a little crisp on top of the batter once it's in your muffin tin.  Or mix a cup or so in a muffin recipe.  Bake normally.

Oatmeal -- Simply spoon it on top when you're ready to eat!

Crisp Topping on top of my peach pie.

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