bittersweetbaker

Fruit Crumbles and Ice Cream

In Fruits, Ice cream, Pastries on July 26, 2011 at 2:58 pm
From Crumble

It takes physically returning to the world that has been strumming on your heartstrings, playing out a melancholy melody peppered with notes of longing, to remember why you miss that world as dearly as you do.

We’ve visited my grandparents in Oregon every summer for as long as I can remember, growing attached, over the course of one month, to the life they welcome us into. In early June, before school lets out, my sister and I begin to plan our vacation to Oregon, excitement fueling our lists of places to visit. We mark the restaurants and shops we want to revisit, unwilling to let go of the traditions established over the years. The plans made so early on are born out of eagerness for the summer to start, though they also serve to prepare myself for the awe sure to come at the realization that after so many months away, we’re finally going back. But despite my preparations, the awe never lessens.

From Crumble

Summers there have always cultured fond memories, each unique, but each stamped with the same seal of continuity. This year was no different. The town my grandparents live in appeared unchanged by our time away, a replica of my memories from previous years. Apart from a wooden patio replacing their aging brick one, their neighborhood remained the same. The trees in the distance were just as I remembered – like strata in sediment. The nearest strips were a mosaic of green, the ones after fading into lighter and lighter shades of laurel, the outline of the pointed treetops blurring against the cloudy sky. And the smell that causes me to bury my face, once back home, into the clothes on which the scent still lingers, was there to greet me as I stepped into the door, inhaling a lungful of air in anticipation. It’s a blend of their laundry detergent, of wood, of the earth after rainfall, and of a smell that is uniquely theirs. Because Proust memories have such a strong effect on me, my mind directly associated the scent with their house, reminding me of the previous summers spent there, and of what was to come.

Sitting at their dining room table with the calendar opened to the month of July, I smiled as I took in the notes scribbled on the tiny squares that represented our days there. We would be attending concerts almost daily for the first two weeks, before taking advantage of Oregon’s far encompassing beauty by driving east, where we would stay with some friends.

S- and I have known each other ever since she was born, and my parents have known hers for far longer. Because they live so relatively close to my grandparents, we’ve made it a habit to visit them every summer in Central Oregon, where we always end up hiking. Together, we walked on trails of packed dirt, stepping over the gnarly tree roots that occasionally broke through the earth’s surface. After an afternoon spent hiking to the roar of the nearby water cascading over rocks, we made plans to go white water rafting the next year. The urge to jump into the river was tempting that day. We ached for the cool relief of water, sweating under the clothes we wore to protect our skin from swarming hordes of mosquitos. Mosquitos I found myself still swatting in my sleep, as their high-pitched drones invaded my dreams.

From Crumble

But now, back home, I realize that we had been spoiled by the cool summers of the Pacific Northwest. That day in Central Oregon had been the single warm day throughout the length of our trip. I’ve finally donned my shorts after weeks of hiding from the cold of the Northwest, in an attempt to escape the unbearable heat here. In Oregon, shirts peeked out from under jackets, and the skirts I had brought along stayed folded neatly within the confines of my suitcase. The tiny green buds forming on blueberry bushes were still unrecognizable. Cherries were just beginning to ripen, blushes of pink spreading across their pale bodies. Summer had arrived later than usual this year in Oregon, and as a result, we returned to my grandparents’ with cartons of marionberries in place of the usual blueberries after a day out picking berries.

The marionberry bushes at the farm weren’t yet sagging with the weight of their ebony jewels, like they would, come August. Though the thorny branches were obviously thriving, spilling into the dirt at our feet, the majority of the berries beaded onto the vines still had prominent patches of red. But this made the process all the more enjoyable. Having to search for the perfect sun-kissed berry to pluck off the bushes had a sort of deep satisfaction rooted to it. Even fewer of the berries would willingly fall of their perch with the slightest touch of my fingertips. But those that did had seemed to absorb the few rays of sunshine that had come with the end of July, the sunshine nearly tangible when eaten right off the bush.

From Crumble

With punnets of marionberries taking up all the counter space in my grandparent’s kitchen, and a crate of tiny, sparkling strawberries and vibrant red stalks of rhubarb in the fridge, making crumbles seemed like the most natural thing to do. The crumble topping came together easily, and the filling even more so. Because the crumbles were so easy to put together, I  spent more time making the ice cream. I made both marionberry crumbles with orange blossom gelato and mango sorbet, and strawberry rhubarb crumbles with honey ice cream.

The tartness of the rhubarb was perfectly mellowed by the sweetness of the honey ice cream, and the strawberries’ texture once cooked was similar to that of jam. The marionberry crumbles had a less textured filling, but the combination of crisp topping and smooth ice cream was contrast enough. Eaten right out of the oven, the ice cream melts between the crevices of the topping, pooling into sweet orange blossom perfumed cream. The mango sorbet lent the crumbles a lighter, more refreshing taste, and paired with aromatic berries, they were the perfect summer dessert.

From Crumble

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Slightly adapted from Desserts for Breakfast

for filling:
9 oz. rhubarb, peeled and chopped into small, 1/2″ chunks
12 oz. strawberries, hulled and halved (or quartered, if you have bigger strawberries)
freshly grated zest of 1/2 a large orange
1 Tbspn freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbspn corn starch

for crumb topping:
1 cup flour
3/4 tspn salt
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
freshly grated zest of 1/2 an orange
1 stick butter, cold
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Make the filling first.  Toss and combine all of the filling ingredients in a bowl.  Spoon into the baking ramekins and set aside.

Make the crumb topping. Combine all of the ingredients except the butter in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture.  Continue until the butter is the size of small peas and evenly distributed throughout the mixture.Top the prepared ramekins generously with the crumb topping, patting it down if you need to pile on more.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and the tops are golden brown. Consider putting a thin cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil on the oven rack underneath the one the crumbles are baking on to catch any spills if the juices bubble over. It makes it much easier to clean up.

Remove and let cool briefly before serving. Serve with ice cream or a splash of sweetened cream.  You can reheat the crumbles if you don’t plan to eat them right away: 375 degrees F oven for 8-10 minutes.

From Crumble

Honey Ice Cream
makes one quart

Adapted from David Lebovitz

6 tablespoons (120 gr) honey
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
4 large egg yolks

In a small saucepan warm the honey, then set aside. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk.

Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

Whisk together the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Over medium heat, stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the cream, then stir in the honey.Chill custard thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Boysenberry Crumble 

To make the boysenberry filling, substitute the rhubarb and strawberries with 21 oz. of boysenberries. Leave out the ground cinnamon from the crumble topping, leaving the remainder of the recipe as is.

Mango Sorbet

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz
Makes 1 pint, serves 3-4

2 ripe Champagne mangoes {about 9 ounces prepared}, peeled & chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon tequila

Add the chopped mango, sugar, water, lime juice, salt & tequila to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. If you have difficultly getting all the bits of mango to puree, try pulsing instead.
Add the mixture to a previously frozen bowl of your ice cream maker & run for 20-25 minutes, or until it’s thickened to the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Transfer to a storage container, freeze until firm & serve.

From Crumble

Fleur de Lait Orange Blossom Gelato
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz
Makes about about 3 cups

2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons orange blossom water

Put the milk,  sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan, and warm over low heat. Whisk the cold heavy cream and cornstarch together in a measuring cup until the cornstarch is dissolved, then stir this into the milk. (To avoid lumps of cornstarch, I usually mix a little of the cream into the cornstarch to make a smooth paste, then gradually add the rest of the cream).

Heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble up. Remove from the heat and stir for two minutes, then pour into a large bowl. Add the 4 tablespoons of orange blossom water, or to taste. Stir frequently for 5 minutes more, to release the steam and cool it down, then refrigerate the mixture for several hours or overnight. Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers’ instructions.

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  1. That looks so good. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! You’re photos are always so beautiful, and your recipes are even better (if that’s possible)1

  2. You visiting our grandparents in Oregon is pretty much the equivalent of me visiting my grandparents in Hong Kong- it’s like the one thing I look forward to all year, and it always exceeds my expectations ;) I’ve never heard of a marionberry before…let alone seen a marionberry bush- berry picking sounds so fun- I wish there was somewhere I could do it! This crumble looks delicious! And I love how you made your ice cream and sorbet- I want some now!

  3. The crumble is divine – I want to eat every serving in every picture – your photography is beautiful
    And the colour of that ice cream is so vivid and lovely!

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