By Kim Dannies
For happy people, the word “problem” is rarely part of the vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task or a dare. In other words, it’s not what happens, it is how we interpret what happens. How does this relate to cooking? Read on.
I decided to treat my pals to a simple fruit crostata. I have made this crust a hundred times—no brainer. But, when I rolled out the dough, something was funky—too hard and dry. Pressed for time, I turned to plan ‘B’ and coaxed the naughty stuff into a baking dish. I filled it with fresh cherries, rhubarb and strawberries and baked it open-faced. When I pulled it from the oven, the pie was U-G-L-Y! Humbled, I moved on to plan ‘C’ (for Crumble). Butter, sugar, flour, oats and another 15 minutes bake time did the trick, and the maple-glazed walnuts didn’t hurt, either.
It takes guts and good ingredients to turn a disaster into something tasty, so whenever you face a cooking obstacle, try seeing at it as a challenge. I was humbled until some simple crumble (and really good maple ice cream) saved my day.
Humble Crumble Pie
When moderation won’t do, this is the dessert for you
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse together 3.5 cups white pastry flour and 1 stick Crisco. Add a pinch of salt and just enough water to form the dough. Wrap in plastic and chill. Coat 2 cups of walnuts with 1/2 cup maple syrup; bake on a covered cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle nuts with a bit of sea salt.
Pit 2 cups fresh cherries; dice 3 cups fresh rhubarb and strawberries each. Combine fruit in a prep bowl; toss with two egg yolks and 1/2 cup cornstarch and sugar each.
Press dough into a 14 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish (up the sides). Add fruit and bake 45 minutes.
In a mini-processor, pulse 4 ounces of cold butter with 1/2 cup sugar and flour each; combine this with 2 cups oats to make the crumble. Top pie with crumble and some walnuts; bake 15-20 minutes.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. Kim@kimdannies.com