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~ Take it Easy: Cherry-Berry & Triple-Ginger Crisps ~

IMG_2927This luscious, easy-to-make dessert turns a gloomy, cold, wet, end-of-February day into a bright taste of sunny, hot, Summer.  Made with frozen tart pie cherries, sweet blueberries and ingredients I keep on-hand in my pantry, it didn't require a trip to the grocery store or more than about twenty minutes of my time.  FYI:  A "crisp" is an American heritage dessert consisting of a fruit mixture topped with a crispy streusel usually made with oats.  I happen to love gingersnap cookies (and all things ginger), which, when used in place of oats, gives it an extra-crunchy top.  

Why don't I call it a "crunch" instead of a "crisp"?

IMG_2925Our forefathers' wives invented a lot of amusing words to define American heritage fruit desserts that do not fall under the category of pie. A crisp is a fruit mixture topped with a crispy crumb or streusel (a streusel contains oats, a crumb does not, which makes it crumbly). If a crisp has a bottom crust, it's a crunch.  To turn a crisp or a crunch into a betty, the fruit gets layered between slices of buttered bread or bread crumbs and spices. To turn a crisp into a cobbler, mix up a rough, "cobbled up" biscuit-like topping and plop/drop it on top of the fruit.  For a grunt or a slump (very similar to a cobbler), cook berries on the stovetop and listen to them make a grunting sound while they cook, then watch them slump under the weight of the topping.  To bake a buckle, you need to stir fruit into a buttery-rich, coffeecake-type batter and top it with streusel, then, bake it and watch it buckle (sink down) in the center as it cools due to the liquid in the fruit.  It's a sinking feeling.  

Memorize these words:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb079864d5970dThere might be a quiz at the end of this post!

IMG_2832For the topping:

1  cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3  cup sugar (10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons)

1  teaspoon ground ginger

8  tablespoons salted butter, cut into small cubes, kept chilled 

1 1/2  cups crushed gingersnap cookies ( 7-ounces)

1 1/2  cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted and completely cooled (For detailed instructions, read my post, ~ How to:  Roast/Toast Some Nuts & IMG_2885Seeds ~, found in Category 15.)

1/4  cup minced, crystallized (candied) ginger

For the berry filling:

3/4  pound each:  frozen pie cherries and blueberries

1/2  cup sugar

2  tablespoons cornstarch

1/2  teaspoon each:  cherry and blueberry extract (optional)

2  tablespoons ginger brandy (optional)

IMG_2843 IMG_2838~ Step 1. Place the gingersnaps in a food storage bag, close and seal.  Using your hands break them into pieces, then, using a rolling pin, crush them to smaller bits and coarse crumbs.  

IMG_2846~ Step 2. Lightly-toast the sliced almonds in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes, and, mince the candied ginger as directed.

IMG_2854 IMG_2858~ Step 3.  In a large bowl, place the flour, sugar, ground ginger and the cubed, chilled butter.

Using a pastry blender and a paring knife (or two knives if you don't have a pastry blender), cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.

IMG_2878 IMG_2871~ Step 4. Add the crushed ginger-snaps, the cooled almonds and the minced ginger. Using a large spoon, stir until thoroughly combined.  You now have a tasty all-purpose streusel topping.  Set aside and prepare the cherry-berry filling as follows:

IMG_2888 IMG_2890 IMG_2892 IMG_2895~Step 5.  In a large bowl, place the frozen pie cherries and blueberries.  Add the sugar, cornstarch and optional extracts and ginger brandy.  Add a generous half cup of the streusel topping too.  Using a large spoon, stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

IMG_2849 IMG_2898 IMG_2907 IMG_2913~Step 6.  Portion the cherry-berry mixture into 6, 1-cup ramekins that have been placed on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Using a large spoon, portion and spread the streusel topping evenly over all (about a generous 1/2 cup on each). Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes.  The topping will be golden brown and the berry juices will be just beginning to bubble up through the topping in spots.

Remove from oven & allow to cool 20-30 minutes...

IMG_2916... prior to serving warm w/a scoop of French vanilla ice cream!

IMG_2940Take it Easy:  Cherry-Berry & Triple-Ginger Crisps:  Recipe yields 6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; food storage bag; rolling pin; pastry blender; paring knife; large spoon; 6, 1-cup size ramekins; parchment paper; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan

6a0120a8551282970b0168ebb21ba7970cCook's Note:  For another one of my seriously easy fruit desserts, which can be made with fresh or canned fruit, check of my recipe for ~ A Simple, Summertime Treat:  Pineapple Cobbler ~ in Categories 6, 10 or 20.  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)


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