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.

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