I came into a TON of apricots over the last week or so (Thanks, Cindy!!!), so I’ve been having fun with all kinds of things made with apricots. These apricots were really small (because they had not been pruned on the trees when they first started growing). They were still super tasty.
This bucket of apricots was about 2 feet deep. The boys and I were loving just eating them right out of the bucket. You can see a regular sized one there with the minis. They had no taste difference. Sam declared that he likes “baby apricops” the most. Picking through the most ripe ones, I made apricot sorbet (I’ll post that soon—it’s delicious!). I also pitted and halved a bunch of them and froze them.
Then I remembered an apricot crisp I had the pleasure of eating at one of Chef Paige's classes I had back in Kansas. So I looked through my BIG binder full of her recipes from all the classes I took and found it. I made the crisp (along with an apple crisp, using the same recipe with minor adjustments) on Sunday and we had some family over for dessert. The crisps were great with the homemade vanilla ice cream I’d also made.
Crisps are so simple to make. I got the simple ingredients for the topping ready. I have really learned to love mise en place (French term roughly meaning “everything in its place”). Before starting a recipe, have everything you need already measured and ready to go. I also love to measure everything with a kitchen scale as much as I can for perfect measuring.
You might see the almonds in there, I accidentally mixed them in with all the ingredients when they should be stirred in after the topping looks like this---
I’m pretty sure the only thing it might have changed was it broke the almond slices in to smaller pieces. You can make the crumb topping ahead of time and put it in the freezer days ahead if you’d like. Make a bunch of them and store them in the freezer for a month or two. You’ll always have an even easier dessert ready to put together when company is coming. While the topping was taking a little snooze in the refrigerator, I worked on preparing the fruit.
I quickly and easily pitted the cherries with this cherry pitter I found at Bed Bath & Beyond for $15. It pits four cherries at a time. Perfect for the amount of cherries I do during their season, which isn’t a ton, but enough that the one-cherry-at-a-time pitter just takes too long.
The smaller holes are for tart cherries, which would fall through the larger holes.
Then I covered all the pretty fruit up with the topping and baked it in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Here it is cooling next to the apple crisp I made right after the apricot one.
Ahh, smelled so good. (I know, that’s a lot of crisp. Why do you think I invited people over? ;))
Apricot & Bing Cherry Crisp with Almond Crumb Topping, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Chef Paige Vandegrift (www.acookinglifeblog.blogspot.com)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Combine the sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl. Rub in the butter until the ingredients are combined and have a crumbly appearance. Stir in the almonds and set aside.
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ pounds apricots, halved and pitted (about 8 cups)
1 pound Bing cherries, halved and pitted
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice (I used half a lemon)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
In a small bowl, stir together the flour and sugar; set aside. Depending on the size of the apricots, cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges and cut each wedge in half cross-wise. The goal is to have the chunks of apricot the same size as the cherry halves. In a large bowl, toss the apricots and cherries with the lemon juice and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir until all of the flour-sugar mixture is moistened.
Turn the fruit mixture into a shallow 2 ½ to 3 quart glass, ceramic or earthenware baking dish. Spread the crumb topping over all. Bake in a 375 degree oven until the topping is golden and crisp and the fruit is bubbling—about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Note: Use this recipe as a template for any fruit crisp. Substitute 7 to 8 cups of fruit for the apricots and cherries and adjust the sugar to taste.
For the apple crisp, I used the same recipe for the topping, but used whole wheat flour just for the fun of it, half a cup of walnuts in place of the almonds and added one teaspoon ground cinnamon. And for the fruit, I used 8 cups (2 pounds) of Granny Smith apples (I had a bag of them that needed used up). I used 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup dried tart cherries (chopped), juice of half a lemon and again 2 tablespoon of whole wheat flour. (You couldn’t even tell it was whole wheat flour in this crisp!)
Thanks to Paige for the great crisp recipe. It will certainly be my go-to for all crisps (the crumb topping is the best!).