A couple of fun announcements before we get down to crispy business:
1) The Bojon Gourmet turned four yesterday!
2) This Saturday, I'm giving my first ever cooking demonstration in collaboration with yogini Kimberly Hu. We're calling it YOGA+YUM. It will be a morning of delicious poses followed by a demonstration of some of my favorite (vegan, gluten-free) recipes, and then eating and drinking said recipes. Read more and register (by 5pm this Friday) here. Nom-maste.
And now, on to the crisps...
For the past month, our kitchen has been an Atkin's dieter's worst nightmare. Faced with the end of summer, I seem to have decided to Bake All The Things in a frenzy to enjoy the last of summer produce. Blackberry crisps, pink pearl apple tarte tatins, ricotta-fig cheesecakes, nectarine upside-down cakes, pumpkin muffins, fig tarts, apricot galettes – these have all featured in the nonstop parade of desserts marching through the Bojon kitchen. (Not to mention the truffles I'm making for this Saturday's cooking demonstration, and the mint chip ice cream sandwiches from my blogiversary party.) The other night I counted five different sweets in the house. Five.
Admittedly, if this is my biggest problem, I'm a very lucky person.
It's a good thing we're leaving town next weekend for a week-long road trip to Portland. Although a major reason for going is to visit Bakeshop, Bakery Bar, and Salt and Straw, so that might not do us much good...
The blackberry gods eluded me this year, so I finally broke down and bought some ridiculously expensive ones from our co-op. Luckily, the berries have such intense flavor that a little goes a long way. In this case, two 6-ounce containers became 8 crisps; not too shabby.
Inspired by this pie, I added a big splash of balsamic vinegar and some lemon zest to the filling. I thought rye flour's deep flavor would play well with the berries, so I used it in the crumble topping along with quick oats, a good grind of black pepper, a dash of cinnamon, and a few flecks of flaky salt on top.
Craig Lee, food photographer for the chronicle, kindly took pictures of my hands, and fed me words of encouragement as I struggled to shoot the crisps before the crème fraîche ice cream could melt.
As for the crisps, they have a woodsy flavor, deep and dark from the berries. The balsamic adds a tart complexity that you can't quite put your finger on, but it heightens and intensifies the berries. The crisp streusel gets hearty notes from the rye and oats, while the black pepper and flakes of Maldon salt play off the sweet-tart filling.
No crisp is complete without ice cream; the tang of the crème fraîche here plays the creamy foil to the deep, dark flavors going on down below and seems to draw out the savory notes. I've eaten them with vanilla ice cream, too, which makes them taste more conventionally dessert-like. The choice is yours.
If you can't find blackberries, try these with blueberries, huckles, or a mix of different summer berries; all play well with balsamic vinegar. I'd like to try a gluten-free version of these made with buckwheat flour, though I know that this gluten-free crumble topping will work for sure.
Another thing on my blackberry wishlist? Carey's Honey-Thyme and Blackberry Goat Cheese Swirl Ice Cream. In fact, I think thyme could be a lovely addition to this dessert.
Wishing everyone a delicious transition into fall that's full of gooey, warm desserts.
Crazy for Crisps:
One year ago:
Two years ago:
Three years ago:
Four years ago:
Blackberry Balsamic Crisps with Rye-Oat Crumble
I baked these crisps in eight 6-ounce ramekins. You can also use 1-cup wide-mouth mason jars, or bake one large crisp in a 9-10" round baking pan, pie pan, or oven-safe skillet. Use regular rye flour here; dark rye flour is coarser and sometimes labeled as "pumpernickel flour." These crisps are wheat-free, but not gluten-free; for a gluten-free version, try this crumble topping. My berries were on the tart side; if yours are ripe and sweet, you may want to decrease the sugar in the filling to 1/4 or 1/3 cup. Serve these warm from the oven with Dreamy Vanilla or Crème Fraîche Ice Cream.
Blackberry Balsamic Filling:
4-5 cups blackberries (two 6-ounce containers), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup white, brown, or unrefined sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Rye-Oat Crumble Topping:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rye flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown or unrefined sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
flaky salt and coarse sugar, for sprinkling
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Place eight 6-8 ounce ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Divide the berries and their juices among the ramekins, and pack them down a bit to make room for the topping.
In another large bowl (or the same one, scraped clean) combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Add the butter and work with your fingertips or a pasty blender until the mixture forms large clumps. Divide the topping among the ramekins, squeezing some into hazelnut-sized chunks. Sprinkle each crisp with a bit of coarse sugar, and a few flecks of flaky salt.
Bake the crisps until the juices are bubbling furiously and the topping is golden, 30-35 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes, then serve the crisps warm, topped with ice cream.
Extra crisps can be covered and refrigerated for up to a week, then reheated in a hot oven or toaster oven before serving.