Tuesday, May 17, 2011

almond strawberry crisp

I have never quite understood the difference between a cobbler, a crumble and a crisp. A quick google search tells me that I am not alone. My humble understanding has always been that the difference is in the topping. A cobbler is fruit baked with layer of biscuits on top; a crumble is a combination of butter, brown sugar and flour crumbled over fruit and baked; and a crisp, as seen above (and, in my opinion, the hands down winner of all three) is similar to a crumble, but with the addition of oats to give the topping more texture. I have no real history or facts to base this on, and it is most certainly wrong. It's just that my mom always made "crisp" and it always had oats in it. Does anybody have the definitive answer, or is it just one of those things that nobody really knows the answer to, like the chicken and the egg?

Whatever it is - a crisp, a crumble or a cobbler - this recipe was inspired by my nemesis, Nigella Lawson.  I call her my nemesis because she hypnotized me in the bookstore with her food-porn-laden Kitchen for which I instantly and excitedly laid down $60 (idiot), only to be disappointed once I actually started using it. The experience actually led me to look at photo-heavy cookbooks with suspicion and to shun them (thankfully, since then they have been un-shunned, to use a Dwightism).

I made Nigella's version of this and it was virtually inedible. It called for four teaspoons of vanilla (?!) but, I chose to trust and accept - a mistake! It was so sweet it made my teeth hurt. The ratio of topping to fruit left me scratching my head. However, I really did like the idea of an almond strawberry crisp crumble cobbler, so I attempted my own recipe and here it is.  It was lovely, fruit heavy and not too sweet. Perfect!

almond strawberry crisp

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup large flake oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds 

4 cups fresh strawberries (or one 600g of frozen unsweetened strawberries, partially thawed)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 375ºF.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the flour and incorporate well. Then throw in your oats and your almonds, scrunch with your hands until evenly distributed.

In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and ground almonds. Toss this in a medium bowl with the strawberries and vanilla.

Dump the fruit mixture into an eight or nine inch baking dish, then evenly distribute the topping over it. Pop it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until you can see juice bubbling up around the sides. It's pretty juicy and it isn't very sweet, so it would be lovely with some vanilla ice cream.

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