Book Review: Rustic Fruit Desserts
Summer in Oregon is a time for picking strawberries and marionberries and eating peaches, plums and pears off the tree. Farmer’s markets are abundant and we become nostalgic about delicious fresh fruit desserts. Two of Portland’s food stars, Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson have written an amazing little book called Rustic Fruit Desserts. It caught my eye at a local market and since I had company coming and fruit in my bag, I picked it up. The index alone set my mouth watering and my creative ideas flowing. It’s organized by season–wonderful spring Rhubarb Buckle with Ginger Crumb, summer Stone Fruit Teacake, fall Grape Galette and winter Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding. I thought I’d found something special to share only to go home & pull the new Gourmet magazine from the mailbox & find they had a review of it! I know “great minds think alike”…
This is a must-have book for cooks and non-cooks–easy directions, unique favor combinations, crowd-pleasing comfort food. One of my favorites is the Lemon Blueberry Buckle. It’s not too sweet, is glorious for breakfast and actually improved in flavor the second day. This is one of those cookbooks that makes you want to do the “Julie/Julia” thing and bake your way through every one of the 70 recipes. I’m doing my best, but I may have to get new clothes if I keep devouring these luscious treats.
Try this recipe and you’ll be ordering this book before you’ve licked your bowl clean.
Gingered Pear and Raspberry Pandowdy
from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julia Richardson (Ten Speed Press, $22)
The combination of pears and raspberries is a definite palate pleaser. You can use any ripe pears in this recipe; if you use Bartletts, you need not peel them. We jazz up this pandowdy by adding candied ginger to the biscuit dough. The effect is a warm and spicy infusion that makes this rustic dessert a comfort food favorite. When you serve this pandowdy with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on a cold autumn evening, you will have everyone “mmm’ing” and asking for more.
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 large pears, peeled, cored, and sliced (2 pounds prepped)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 dry pint (2 cups 9 ounces) raspberries, fresh or frozed
1 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 Tablespoons (5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup (2 ounces) chopped candied ginger
2/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold buttermilk
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400. Butter a 9-inch cast -iron skillet or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.
To make the fruit filling, rub the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl, then add the pears and lemon juice and toss until evenly coated. Gently fold in the rasberries, then transfer the fruit to the prepared pan. Distribute the butter atop the fruit.
To Make the biscuit, whisk the flour, 3 Tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the size of large peas. (Alternatively, you can put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Adfd the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas, then transfer to bowl.) Stir in the candied ginger, then pour in the 2/3 cup buttermilk and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be crumbly, with large pieces of butter still visible.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press the dough together, then press it into a 9-inch circle. Carefully place the dough atop the fruit. Brush the dough with the 1 Tablespoon buttermilk, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar.
Bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the juices are bubbly and thick. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
Storage: Covered with a tea towel, this pandowdy will keep at rroom temperature for up to 3 days.