19
Aug
12

Desserts that bid adieu to summer

As August draws to a close, time’s running out to make desserts using summer fruits. So for the past few weekends, I experimented with a couple of recipes that were summer-fruit-centric.

Mixing the strawberries and rhubarb for Barefoot Contessa's strawberry rhubarb crisp.

The orange zest (plus a dash of Grand Marnier that I added at the last minute) added a strong citrus flavor.

The first was this strawberry-rhubarb crisp from the Barefoot Contessa. Fresh rhubarb isn’t available year-round, and winter strawberries are about as flavorful as winter tomatoes. So it seemed like a good recipe to try before the season’s out.

However, I didn’t want to make the full 11″x8″ pan, so I modified it for a square 8″x8″ pan, going easy with the sugar. The fruit came out pretty tart. (I’d forgotten how mouth-puckering rhubarb is.) The crumble topping was awesome, though, and I laid it on thick. Fruit crisps are like pies —I can never get enough crust/crumbled topping, because otherwise it feels like I’m scooping mouthfuls of jam into my mouth.

Besides the simplicity of this recipe, there’s another benefit: you can trick yourself into thinking this is health food, thanks to the rolled oats in the topping, and fresh fruit underneath.

Barefoot Contessa's strawberry rhubarb crisp

This blueberry coffee cake muffin recipe also comes by way of the Contessa and was highly rated. Not sure why they’re called “coffee cake” muffins–that makes it sound like they have a crumb topping.

Anyway, these were perfect straight from the oven: light, fluffy, and moist with blueberries (I did take the liberty of adding at least 1 cup more fruit than the recipe calls for and extending the baking time). After a couple days stored in the fridge, though, the grease from the sour cream and butter gets more pronounced. The lesson here is that you want to plan on eating these right away.

Barefoot Contessa's blueberry coffee cake muffins, straight from the oven.

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