Years ago cooks created or adjusted recipes to accommodate what they had on hand. A bounty of fruit, or a little bit of this and a little bit of that often inspired uniquely wonderful dishes. The following two recipes are for using fresh, under-ripe fruit. Both of the crisp and the pandowdy are designed to use firm, fresh fruit in delicious ways. For soft fruits like plums, peaches and apricots, it is best if they are slightly under-ripe. Berries & rhubarb can also be used.
Apricot-Apple Crisp with Maple Cream
5 whole fresh apples and 5 firm apricots (not over-ripe)
1 c. flour
½ c. sugar
½ c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ tsp. each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick butter (½ c.)
½ whole lemon
½ c. real maple syrup, divided
1½ cup whipping cream
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt using a fork. Cut butter into small pieces and gradually add to flour mixture until evenly mixed.
Peel fruit into a bowl. Add the zest from half a lemon. Squeeze juice from lemon half and stir in with fruit and zest. Add 2 tbsps real maple syrup to fruit, stir well.
Pour fruit mixture into a small pan (8” or 9” square) and cover evenly with crumb topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.
Maple Cream Sauce:
Pour whipping cream into a saucepan. Add 5 tbsps real maple syrup, 3 tbsps corn syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third, approximately 15 minutes. Refrigerate mixture until it is cold and thick, or set the saucepan into a small bowl of ice (the ice will melt and turn into ice water). Stirring your mixture, it will cool and thicken in about 15 minutes. Drizzle sauce over crisp. Serve warm.
Caramel Peachy-Pear Pandowdy
Sauce: 1 c. brown sugar, ¼ cup flour, ¼ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, 1 cup water, 2 tbsps butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. lemon juice.
Blend brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan, then stir in water and cook on medium heat until sauce mixture thickens slightly, then stir in butter, vanilla, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Batter: 1 c. raw quick-cooking oatmeal, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, 3 tbsps butter, 1 beaten egg, 1/3 c. milk.
Prepare the drop batter by blending oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then cut in the butter until all is finely mixed, add egg and milk, and stir with a fork to make a drop batter, but do not over mix. Set aside.
Peel and slice enough peaches & pears (or tart apples, or firm plums) to make 6 cups, arrange fruit slices in a buttered 9-inch square baking pan, and pour sauce over the fruit.
Drop spoonfuls of batter over the fruit/sauce mixture. Do not stir. Bake in oven at 375°F for about 35 minutes or so. Serve warm plain, or garnish with freshly whipped cream.