Tuesday, August 18, 2009

183. Fruit Crumble (p. 815)

Greetings from Cape Cod! My wife, son and I are spending the week in Wellfleet on the Outer Cape. When most folks go on vacation, the last thing they want to do is cook. For me, though, I'm always so busy with work and life that I usually only get to cook on the weekends. So, I'm taking advantage of the relaxed pace to do a little mid-week cooking. D0n't worry, we're also making the most of the excellent seafood restaurants here in Wellfleet, too. The other night, I had some great Wellfleet oysters and just about the best fisherman's platter I've ever eaten.

We rented a house right near the center of town and just a short drive from about five different beaches. It wasn't until we got here that we learned that the house we're renting belongs to the captain of the HMS Rose, which played the role of the "HMS Surprise" in the Russell Crowe film, Master and Commander. I feel like I'm staying in a movie star's house! (That's The Rose in the background.)

But even if it is a celebrity's house, it still is someone else's house, which means I don't have my stove, my utensils and my appliances. I did bring a couple of essential pots, pans, bowls, spoons, etc., with me since I didn't know what I'd find waiting for me at the rental house. The good Captain's kitchen is pretty well stocked (he's even got these nifty bowls with little anchors on them, check it out in the photo above). After a little while, I managed to get my bearings. (Get it? That's a nautical joke.)

Before we left home, I picked a few easy but hearty recipes from The Book that I'd make during the week. I knew that we'd also want something sweet to eat, and I also knew that I had a ton of peaches left over from last week's CSA box. So, I picked this recipe for fruit crumble, and packed the peaches along for the trip. The Book says that you could make this with a single fruit, or with "a jumble of fresh, in-season fruits." I liked the sound of that, so I picked up some nectarines and a couple of different kinds of plums to go with the peaches.

By now, you're probably sick of hearing about my son's food sensitivities and my wife's dietary restrictions. Well, there's some good news on that front. It looks like dairy is back on the menu! My wife has been gradually re-introducing it without any ill-effects. That means that butter is A-OK. Gluten is still off-limits, so I tried to make this recipe gluten-free. It worked, more or less.

First, I mixed together some gluten-free baking mix (instead of all-purpose flour) with some sugar, sliced almonds and a little bit of salt. The Book says to pulse it in a food processor with a stick of butter until it clumps. I wasn't about to lug my giant food processor all the way to the Cape. The good Captain doesn't have a food processor, but he does have pastry cutter (go figure!) and so I was able to do it by hand. Once I had the topping made, I move on to the fruit.

I cut the peaches, plums and nectarines into wedges and piled them into a buttered glass pie plate. No need to peel them or anything like that. I crumbled the topping over the fruit and baked it for about a half hour. It turned out pretty good. The fruit was, for the most part, tender, sweet and jammy. I think that one or two of the plums were a little under-ripe, and a few of the slices had a little bitter taste. The topping was sweet and buttery, crisp and crunchy, but it didn't brown totally evenly, and it didn't hold together all that well. I knew that the gluten-free baking mix and all-purpose flour weren't a one-to-one substitution, but I was taking a chance. But heck, with a great big scoop of Brigham's vanilla ice cream on top, just about anything is delicious.

Well, I gotta go ... my son wants to go back to the beach!

Date Cooked: August 16, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: B+

1 comment:

M.Lane said...

Another great effort and an even better photo of your son! What a handsome boy!