Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Peach cobbler and cinnamon roll in Chicago

We were only in Chicago for a few days this past weekend, but of course, we were sure to sample a few desserts.

The ice cream we had was sub-par, so I'm not bothering to look up the name of the place where we got it.

The peach cobbler at Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop in Hyde Park, on the other hand, was pretty good. It had a little too much nutmeg for my taste, but the hefty serving of whipped cream served on the side made up for it.

I also sampled a cinnamon roll from Medici on 57th. I usually prefer cinnamon rolls with icing, but this lightly glazed, icing-free roll was a treat. Lots of cinnamon, nice buttery flavor, and just the right balance of flaky and chewy. Yum.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Homemade Apple Crisp

I enjoy almost any dessert containing apples, so long as it isn't too heavy on raisins or nutmeg. Because I went apple picking last week at Honey-Pot Hill Orchards, I figured I'd pull out one of my mom's simple but tasty recipes: apple crisp.

This is not a complex apple crisp with toasted oats, ground walnuts, or other ingredients in the topping. It is a simple, butter-flour-sugar topping sprinkled over fresh fruit and baked until golden brown. It won't win any prizes in a baking contest, but it tastes good and doesn't take very long to prepare. It can easily be adapted to use fresh peaches or other orchard fruits, as well. (Canned peaches can be used, too, but they must be very well drained and possibly even patted dry to avoid too much moisture bubbling up during cooking.)

Recipe for Simple Apple Crisp

6 apples, peeled and cored
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp lemon juice
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

Slice each apple into about 16 pieces. Place evenly in an ungreased 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt.

Beat the egg in a small bowl until combined. Gradually pour egg into sugar-flour-salt mixture, mixing (with spoon or hands) to combine. Mix until flour and some of the sugar are combined and the texture is crumbly.

Spread the crumble mixture over the apples in the pan. Drizzle melted butter evenly over the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Ricotta Pie at Arthur's Pastry Shop

Here in Medford, Massachusetts, there is a large population of Italian-Americans. It should therefore be no surprise that Italian bakeries are easy to come by. One such place is Arthur's Pastry Shop. The ricotta pie, made fresh by Arthur himself, is so good that it's almost hard to describe. It has a slightly fruity or maybe almondy taste, plus the rich, creamy sweet ricotta taste that is usually found within cannolis. Like New York cheesecake, it's hard to eat a large amount at one sitting, as it's very rich. Bring it to a party, though, as I did the other day, and it makes a big hit. And, more importantly, you get to have just as much as you want without having leftovers calling to you from the refrigerator.