Roasted Chicken and Pear Crisp

This is such an easy dinner. Season bone-in chicken thighs with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. I gently pull up the skin and sprinkle spices underneath and replace the skin. I brush a bit of olive oil over them and then place them on top of halved potatoes and zucchini, also brushed with a bit of olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees.

Pear Crisp is delicious. It is my basic Apple Crisp recipe (here), added some walnuts and yum!



 

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Fruit Desserts

Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having fun with these Thursday night recipe posts. Thanks for playing.

I love chocolate, so it’s usually my sweet of choice. But a very close second is fruit desserts. Strawberries, apples, oranges, blueberries, citrus anything, I love them all. So I have a wide range of fruit dessert recipes available:

Strawberry Bread, Orange Cookies, Key Lime Pie Bars,  Coconut Lemon Cake (perfect for Easter dinner), pineapple and cranberry upside-down cakes, blueberry oatmeal cookies, the list goes on…and on.

It was hard to narrow down the recipe for tonight, I ended up choosing two, Perfect Apple Crisp and Sour Cream Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake.  One is decadant, one is quick and easy. What fruit desserts make the top of your list? Hit the comments with the recipes. Next week: I’ll be traveling again, but I’m thinking pizza, since JeffreyW has so many varieties and I’m usually hunting perfect pizza places while I travel.

On to tonight’s recipes.

This is one of the most requested birthday cakes at our office:

Sour Cream Lemon-Poppy Seed Pound Cake

You’ll want to prep the lemon juice, lime juice and zests ahead of time. You’ll need 2 lemons and 3 limes to complete the recipe.

  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) melted butter, cooled slightly
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

Bundt or Angel Food pan, greased and floured

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix sugar, eggs, zests, lemon, juice, limejuice, sour cream, butter and salt until well blended. Mix together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture in three sections to egg mixture, mixing until blended, but do not over blend. Fold in poppy seeds. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 75-90 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, or until cool to touch, then remove from pan to cool completely, about 2 hours.

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Whisk together until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake. Let stand about 10 minutes until set.

Next is a different take on apple crisp.  I had seen video of a recipe that pre-cooked the apples in a cast iron skillet. The idea looked really good and since I’m all about cooking in my cast iron skillets, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  And I have to say, that yes it did make the best apple crisp ever.  It allows the apples to fully cook, then you can bake the “crisp” part at a higher temperature for a shorter time, giving it a really crisp top.

Cast Iron Apple Crisp

  • 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (more as desired)
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup flour

10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl

Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary.

Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.

What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.

Alternately, if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.

Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake Crisp..er, cobbler..thing

I just don’t know what to call these things.  I made the full 13×9 pan this time.  I divided most of the leftovers into individual portions, set them out on a silicone mat on a baking tray, and froze them solid.  The cakebergs went into a freezer bag for storage.

I followed the same method as all of the others:  Pour a can of cherry pie filling into the pan followed by a can of pineapple chunks.  Use crushed if you prefer.  Sprinkle old fashioned rolled oats atop that, then empty a box of yellow cake mix onto it.  I like to add chopped hazelnuts-a good cup of those went on top the cake mix.  Finish the assembly by adding 2 sticks of butter, scatter thin slices about or do what I do, freeze the butter then grate it on.  Works great!  Just be sure to get it really cold first!  I also sprinkled some brown sugar as a finishing touch, maybe  a quarter cup.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the top browns and the juices bubble up.

Mmm… apple crisp crunch cobbler dump cake

With nuts!  I’m running out of ideas as to what these creations should properly be called.  They have certain traits in common with dump cakes but the end results are more crispy cobbler than anything.

I started this one with three Granny Smiths peeled and sliced.  I cooked them just a bit with some apple cider, adding a quarter cup or so of brown sugar and a cup and a quarter of golden raisins, and some grated cinnamon and nutmeg.  The fruit went into my 8×8 cake pan, and was topped by a generous layer of rolled oats and chopped hazelnuts.

I used a butter pecan cake mix this time, just because.  I shook out about half of the box for the next layer, and then added one and a half sticks of butter over that.  I chilled the butter in the freezer again and used a grater on it to add the last layer.  Not counting some fresh grated cinnamon onto the butter, that is.   It took 30 minutes at 350 to get to this point:

This one is my favorite of those we’ve done lately.  It is just awesome, the cake mix and the oats and butter make a lovely, crunchy topping for the apples.

So, what’s a good name for this?

Perfect Apple Crisp

apple-crisp-cast iron

So my bowl of McIntosh apples left me wanting apple crisp.  I had seen a recipe that pre-cooked the apples in a cast iron skillet that looked really good and since I’m all about cooking in my cast iron skillets, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  And I have to say, that yes it did make the best apple crisp ever.

Cast Iron Apple Crisp

  • 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (more as desired)
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup flour

10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl

Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary.

Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.

What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.

Alternately, if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.

Nectarine Plum Crumble

This is a great late summer, early fall dessert.  Fill in between peach time and apple time.

Photo from Food and Wine

Nectarine-Plum Crumble

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Santa Rosa plums, peeled, sliced
  • 4 nectarines, sliced
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp ginger

9×9 baking dish, greased

bowl

In bowl, cut together ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, 1 cup flour, oatmeal, cinnamon & butter until crumbly. In greased baking dish, spread crushed nuts on the bottom and drizzle with melted butter. Mix together orange juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp flour and ginger. Toss gently with fruit and spread over nuts. Top with crumbled mixture and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Top should be golden and filling bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving to let fruit set.

 

Blueberry Crisp Parfait

This is a fun way to liven up a blueberry crisp.  Layer it with ice cream to make a beautiful parfait.   Serves 4.

Blueberry Crisp Parfaits

  • 10 oz blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream

8×8 glass baking dish, well buttered, small mixing bowl & 4 parfait style glasses

Set aside 12 blueberries. Place remaining blueberries, lemon juice and ¼ cup sugar in baking dish, mix well.

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, add flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the blueberry mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until top is golden brown. Let cool slightly, so the blueberry mixture can jell.

In parfait glass, layer ¼ cup ice cream, ¼ cup blueberry crisp, until you make 4 layers. Repeat for each glass. Top each with 3 blueberries for that decorative, ‘it looks like I fussed’ appearance.