Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Simple is best

Sometime simple is best, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a nasty head cold for the past few days and was feeling self indulgent, or perhaps it was because I was digging around in the deep freeze and realized I still had some frozen Saskatoon berries that needed to be used up. Either way, I wanted to make something that was comfort-foody and summery so decided to make Saskatoon berry crisp with dulce de leche ice cream. Both of which come together in a snap.

I’m sure there are a few people who see a crisp as too plain-jane. But I disagree. It must be one of my all time favourite desserts. It’s so adaptable…and I can’t decide which is my favourite – Saskatoon berry or rhubarb. It’s a toss up!

My earliest memories of crisp were thanks to my grandma Fischer. She had the best crisp recipe and even though the recipe was a simple one, she was still one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. My grandma could rummage around in the fridge and whip up the most amazing dishes. Another favorite was her “health muffins”. It was never the same twice as the muffins were based on what needed to be used up in the fridge.

So I guess a crisp to me is comfort food at its finest… simple, tasty and attached to early childhood memories of spending time with grandma in the kitchen.


1 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

Use about six cups of berries of your choice (if using rhubarb add 1 cup of white sugar and toss prior to topping with the crisp)

Place berries in a casserole dish. Mix rolled oat, flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter. Place mixture on top of berries.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbly and the crisp is a golden brown. (This may take longer if using frozen fruit).

To compliment the crisp, I originally thought of amaretto ice cream. I thought the nutty flavours of the Saskatoon berries would work well with the almond liqueur. But most kids don’t like liqueur flavorings, so I shied away and decided to go with dulce de leche instead.

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream (adapted from Marilyn and Tanya Linton’s “125 Best Ice Cream Recipes” Okay – this recipe isn’t from my grandma, but it’s still amazing!

1 can (10 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook condensed milk, stirring constantly, until thick and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a separate medium saucepan over medium low heat, bring cream and milk to a simmer.

Very slowly and carefully to prevent spattering, pour condensed milk into a clean large bowl. Gradually whisk in cream mixture (watch out the condensed milk is hot!). Whisk in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold or overnight.

Stir cream mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Butter horn rolls

This is the second time I have made these rolls and must say they are definitely a tasty addition to your dinner table, or breakfast table – oh heck, let’s face it – they’re just darn tasty. They are everything fresh from the oven rolls should be: soft doughy goodness that just begs for a slab of butter to melt into the tender crumb. Oh, and did I mention tasty?

Apart from the obligatory rising time, these rolls are relatively quick and easy. I found the recipe in my America's Test Kitchen "Family Baking Book". I've tried many an American Test Kitchen recipe, either from the cookbooks themselves or from "Cooks Country" magazine and must say these recipes hold up. I'm a bit of a recipe junkie (who isn't when they love food?) and let's face it - there are some pretty lackluster cookbooks out there. But these are good "go to" recipes. Okay - enough chatting... time to bake Butter Horn Rolls!


1 cup warm whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing

3 large eggs

- 5 cups all-purpose flour

1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1. Whisk the milk, sugar, melted butter, and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4½ cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

2. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled boil and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, divide into 3 equal pieces, and cover with greased plastic wrap. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each piece into a 10-inch circle and cut into 8 equal wedges. Stretch each wedge until it is 2 to 3 inches longer, brush with melted butter, then roll each wedge up, starting at the wide end.

5. Lay the rolls on the prepared baking sheets with the pointed tip on the bottom, spaced about 2 inches apart. Mist the rolls with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with a knuckle, 45 - 75 minutes.

6. Adjust the over racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the rolls lightly with melted butter, then spray lightly with water. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Let the rolls cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then serve warm.

I'm already planning on making these again, but am thinking these might be good with a filling... perhaps some spinach and feta cheese? Hmmmm... that would be worth trying.