CHEF JEFF: Crisps and cobblers make for tasty dessertsNearly everyone loves a good dessert. But not just anyone can make ’em. I’m a much more accomplished cook than a baker. But there are a couple of desserts that I’ve come to know intimately, which really isn’t surprising, since my mom is — and my grandmother was — a great baker.
Nearly everyone loves a good dessert. But not just anyone can make ’em. At least that’s my experience.
I’ve known a lot of people who can throw together some pretty tasty eats — be it cookout food such as potato salad or veggies with burgers, steaks, fish or kebabs from the backyard grill, or lasagna, stroganoff or fried chicken from the kitchen.
But when it comes to something that’s sweet for an after-meal snack, you’d be better off going to your local bakery or supermarket because baking is a whole different ball game for many a good cook.
Baking is one of those skills that require practice. But just like riding a bicycle, once you get a recipe down, it can as be as easy as pie and, perhaps, one of the most inexpensive skills to master.
I’m a much more accomplished cook than a baker. But there are a couple of desserts that I’ve come to know intimately, which really isn’t surprising, since my mom is — and my grandmother was — a great baker.
One of these is apple crisp, which is a favorite of my grandson, Rakeem, and of Wayne Knain, an old friend who recently passed away. (I was given that recipe by co-worker Marsha Gunderson, who said it was the one school cooks in Northwood, N.D., made for their students.)
Another is a rhubarb crunch, one my family has really come to like. (My granddaughter, Naomi, and her boyfriend raved about it on trip here.) It has a bottom layer of powdered sugar, flour and butter that is topped with a mixture of beaten eggs, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and, of course, rhubarb.
The former is a classic crisp, a deep-dish fruit dessert made with a crumb or streusel topping and baked. In this case, the topping is oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and butter.
I’m not sure how to classify the crunch because it doesn’t fit into one of the well-known categories of fruit desserts that you can find in most cookbooks and on Internet food sites.
Checking out a few of these resources got me to thinking about other types of baked fruit desserts such as crumbles, cobblers, slumps, buckles and grunts — yes, grunts! — and what makes them different.
Regardless, summer is the perfect season for these types of goodies, and I can attest to that.
Therese recently made an upside-down cobbler with some Colorado peaches my mom shared with us. They came from my brother, Kevin, who with his wife, Lynn, lives in Grand Junction, Colo., right in the heart of peach country.
The cobbler recipe came from the autobiography of the late Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. (The chain recently put the book, including 30 recipes, online for free at www.facebook.com/KFC.)
I’m hoping Therese will make another cobbler with some of the peaches we recently purchased as part of a Grand Forks Youth for Christ fundraiser.
Or maybe a crisp or a crumble or a slump or a …
For more info on the Youth For Christ Colorado fresh peach fundraiser, go to www.gfyfc.org/peaches.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.