Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts

04 February 2008

Green Grapes with Walnuts in a Sour Cream Dressing


In winter we eat our share of of hearty and savory dishes and we begin to crave fruit in no time.

Topping fresh strawberries and blueberries with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of brown sugar makes an easy and elegant summer dessert and it's a favorite on our menu.

But never thought about pairing green grapes with sour cream. My sister introduced me to this a few years ago, and has also become a staple at our house.

You will need
  • 2 large bunches green grapes, washed, with stems removed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Blend sour cream and cream cheese. Add grapes. Toss. Top with brown sugar and walnuts.

I've lately taken to dropping a few grains of sea salt on top for contrast.

08 April 2007

Apricot-Pistachio Crisp: A Dessert in Progress

Saturday has always been pizza night in my family and it’s a tradition my husband and I have continued.

When I was a child, my mother made her pizzas from scratch, using leftovers for toppings. Meatloaf, sloppy joe mix and even wieners were used and we kids loved it. It was pizza!

We invited my mother for pizza on Saturday. It was a busy day with errands, laundry, housework and my 30-minute stint reading Easter stories to a group of children at the local mall.

Yes, we used store-bought pizzas and enhanced them with additional tomatoes, peppers, olives and sausage. I made a Caesar salad and we cracked open a bottle of shiraz.

It was a simple meal, to be sure, but that does not matter. What matters was that we all sat down together and enjoyed each other’s company.

I’m not here to write about pizzas. I’m talking dessert today.

My mother has a sweet tooth. When she is a guest at my house, my practice is to make a low-carb dessert and send most of it home with her.

I surveyed by cupboards and came up with this makeshift dessert, which I consider a work in progress. It was pretty good, but it needs more.

Apricot-Pistachio Crisp


  • 2 cups dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can apricots in light syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar-free apricot spread
  • ½ cup syrup from canned apricots
  • 1 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped salted mixed nuts, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oat or whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat chopped apricots in flour, cinnamon and fructose (see photo above). Set aside. Drain, reserving liquid. Chop or even puree canned apricots. Pour into bowl of dried apricots and toss.

Empty this mix into greased bar pan. Blend apricot spread with 1/cup apricot syrup and spread over dried-canned apricot mix. My thought was that this would help bind apricots.

Mix chopped nuts, flour and fructose. Cut in Smart Balance or butter and blend with nut mix. Spread atop apricots. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping turns golden.

The Verdict? Not bad. It was even better the next day. But it needs something else: More cinnamon and perhaps a dash of ground cloves, perhaps. The topping should have included oatmeal, to make it lighter. And I think next time I will up the amount of pistachios and reduce the other nuts (I used pecans, walnuts and cashews).

Your suggestions are welcome. This is very much a work in progress.

04 February 2007

Gingery Pear Crisp with Salted Almond Topping

























Tarte Tatin and Cherry Clafoutis not withstanding, pears are the fruit I have always associated with a true French kitchen.

When Grandma Annie wanted fruit, she usually chose a juicy pear. Her mother, Mémére, loved them, too. It took me years to develop a taste for pears, as I found them too metallic.

I like them now, and they are second only to apple desserts in my repertoire.

This dessert was created from odds and ends and leftovers on a winter night in 2007. It was better than I expected, and I've made it a time or two since

I've update the recipe a bit, as I no longer rely heavily on artificial sweeteners. I have also tried this with mixed nuts, with good results.

Here is my original recipe, updated:

Pear-Ginger Crisp with Salted Almond Topping
  • 6 D'Anjou pears, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cold cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the pears and candied ginger and combine with sweetener, cinnamon and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Toss to ensure each piece is well coated. Set aside.

Chop nuts, and blend with flour, butter and sugar. You may start out with a pastry tool, but I find there is nothing like plunging your hands into the mix until it is coarse and grainy.

Pour the fruit into a greased 8-by-8 inch baking pan. Press down with a spoon or spatula. Spread the crust mix evenly over the top; again tamping down. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Garnish with more candied ginger, if you like.

Note: The crust smelled so good while I was making it, and I sampled a fair amount before I put the crisp in the oven. I love the mix of sweet and salty.

The flavors here are subtle and delicate. That was my intention. I really did not want any single taste to overpower the others.

This light dessert passed the Ultimate Taste Test (that's when leftovers taste equally delicious), and I ate it for breakfast with a hunk of low-fat cheddar cheese.