Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fruit Cobblers Plain and Fancy; Plum Good!

This post is in response to a recipe request from a friend.  A fruit cobbler is a dessert that can be made in a flash with almost any fruit or combonation of fruits.  These 2 recipes are especially easy as the topping is dropped on and doesn't have to be rolled out.  It comes out light and fluffy, buttery and mildly sweet.  The marzipan crust has a crisp top and an elegant flavor. 

Fruit Cobbler

4 1/2 Cups Flour (1 1/2)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar (1/2)
6 Tsp. Baking Powder (2)
3/4 Tsp. Salt (1/4)
1/2 Almond Extract (1/4)
1 1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter, cold, cut into cubes (1/2)
3 Eggs (1)
1 1/2 Cup Milk (1/2)

Use numbers in parentheses for 8" x 8" pan or 9" pie plate. Full recipe fills 9" x 13" or 12"x 16" pan.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add almond extract. In bowl of Cuisinart or with 2 knives, cut in butter until it is the size of peas.

Beat eggs and milk together. Mix with dry ingredients until wet. Do not overmix.

Fill 12" x 16" pan or 9" pie plate with sliced fruit. Add 3/4-cup sugar (1/4 cup), 3/4-cup flour (1/4 cup), mix all together and dot with 1/4 (2 Tbsp.) butter.
Pour topping over fruit mix. Sprinkle with almond slices.

Bake at 350 degrees until crust is done. It will take at least an hour, maybe 1 1/2 hours or 2 for the large pan. The smaller cobbler should take 50-55 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream or Vanilla ice cream.

Plum Cobbler with Marzipan-Biscuit Topping
The marzipan topping adds a dimension of richness and flavor.Yield: 8 servings

For the Filling:

6 cups pitted sliced plums, cut in pieces (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

For the Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup marzipan or almond paste, broken into pieces
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter 8-inch square baking dish. Combine first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to baking dish. Dot fruit with butter pieces. Bake until fruit mixture bubbles in center, about 1 hour. Cool while preparing topping.


Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in processor. Pulse to blend. Add marzipan and process until marzipan is incorporated into flour. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and process just until combined. Drop cobbler dough by teaspoonfuls over surface of fruit. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over dough.

Bake until topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Olive Oil Cake experiments

I haven't made this, but it got 5 star reviews.  I would use a compote of whatever fruit is in season and not the citrus at this time of year.  I like the inclusion of almonds; almonds always make desserts extra yummy.

Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

 Cook Time:35 min or 50-55 if using bundt pan

Yield: 8 servings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
Powdered sugar, for sifting

Citrus Compote:
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional
3 oranges, segmented
2 pink grapefruits, segmented


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8-inch-diameter cake pan or a Bundt pan (alot of recommendations for this). Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the milk. Gradually beat in the oil. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the almonds. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Place cake pan on baking pan to collect any possible spills. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes (50-55 for Bundt). Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up. Sift powdered sugar over the cake.

To make the citrus compote: Stir the orange peel, blossom water, and 2 tablespoons of accumulated juices from the segmented fruit in a small bowl to blend. Arrange the orange and grapefruit segments decoratively in a wide shallow bowl. Pour the blossom water mixture over. Cover and let stand 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Cut the cake into wedges and spoon the citrus compote alongside.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crumble of Zucchini and Mushrooms (Crumble de Courgette aux Champignons)

Now is the time zucchini is in abundance, in home gardens and at the farmer's market. I used a large one
that almost got away in this recipe.

This came out great, and it was even better reheated lightly for breakfast the next AM. Despite all the
chopping and sauteeing, it was quite easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. It is an adaptation
of a recipe from the food blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. There are recipes that use them both. I have made chocolate zucchini cupcakes, and they were fabulous.

Sorry there is no picture. We ate it all before the camera came out; it was that good.

Crumble of Zucchini and Mushrooms

 6 medium zucchinis
1 lb. mixed mushrooms
1/2 of an onion
1 tsp flour
olive oil
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. butter, diced
1/4 cup grated cheese, I think I put in a bit more (parmesan, comté...)
thyme and dried basil, or other herbs of your choice
salt, pepper
chopped fresh parsley

Wash the mushrooms under clear water, dry on a towel, and cut the large ones in smaller pieces. Dice up
the onion quarter finely. In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil, and put the onion in to cook for a
few minutes over medium heat, until it starts to get translucent. Add the mushrooms, season with dried herbs, and cook for about ten minutes, until the mushrooms have shrunk and they have released their water.

Add the flour and stir to thicken the mixture a little.

Cut the zucchinis in small pieces or batons, about the size of your pinky finger. In a large skillet, heat
up a little olive oil over high heat, put the zucchinis in, toss to coat, season with thyme, salt and
pepper, and lower the heat. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes, until the zucchinis are tender, but
not limp.

Prepare the crumble : put the oatmeal, breadcrumbs, butter and cheese in a medium bowl. Blend this all
together using the tips of your fingers, until it resembles coarse sand. Season with salt, pepper and

The vegetables and the crumble can be prepared the day before.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a 9" 13" pan, spread out a layer of zucchinis, then a layer of mushrooms.
Distribute the crumble mixture evenly on top. Put in the oven to bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the
crumble is golden. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.