Make Mine Extra Crispy Momma!

Is there ANY way to take an appealing photo of a mish mash of warm fruit? Lol

I’ve mentioned my son Jordan a couple of times. He is my sweetheart and I don’t know what I’ll do when he grows up and moves away, though in all actuality the chances are that he never will though my prayers are for him to enjoy as much self sufficiency as possible. On the other side of the situation, there are times I want to send him to live with a band of roving Gypsies in Budapest. Depends on the day. Today I figured I’d keep him.

Jordan is 16, almost 17 but intellectually he will never be more than about 9 or 10 and some days less than that which is why I say that chances are he will always live with us. He has mild mental retardation, high functioning Autism, ADHD and a scope of other issues. Why? I don’t know. He is who and what he is and I love him dearly. He is getting ready to start his sophomore year of high school. Our hopes are that he can make it through without what are becoming far too frequent hospital stays. He gets overwhelmed in school and lashes out which inevitably leads to a hospital stay to try to get his meds adjusted.

Yet this same boy has inherited his mommas warped sense of humor though in him, it is more likely to come out via the worlds worst knock knock jokes or a high decibel giggle over the everyday strange happenings of life. He can one minute be playing “whee” with Joshie, my two year old son, as they both laugh hysterically at something only they get and the next he can be crying as if the world is ending because I have to throw out a pillow he has grown attached to and loves like, as he put it, “another family member”. Life with him is never boring and I never know what will come out of his mouth next. Like today. I was making a fruit crisp. he asked me what I was making and I told him. He “oooed” and “ahhhed” a bit and then looked at me and said “I like crisps. that’s like when we get KFC. make mine extra crispy momma! Just like chicken”. This led to an explanation where I told him that they weren’t quite the same things. This led to his disappointment and my feelings of guilt that I couldn’t make the fruit crisp extra crispy for him. πŸ˜› After all that, he chose to have for dessert the cookies stuffed with frosting that I got for him and Zach (my 14 year old) at the store rather than have the utterly delicious made with love fruit crisp I made. Sheesh. Kids. πŸ˜€

Oh well. Maybe YOU’LL like the fruit crisp. I used five kinds of Summery fruits, sweetened it up and covered it all in a crispy buttery oatmeal crumb mix. Oh my gosh, this is good! The fruit wasn’t too sweet or too tangy and the crumbly topping just put it over the top. Try this one before all the fresh fruit is out of seasona nd costs more than your utility bills. You’ll love it!

Summer Fruits Oatmeal Crisp

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned or quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine fruits, sugar, tapioca, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss well to combine.
  3. Pour into a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. You’re best off using a glass pan because metal pans can react with acidic fruits and give an off taste and color to cobblers and crisps. If I am making it for someone else, I use the disposable foil ones; they won’t do that.
  4. In another bowl, combine all the other ingredients (from the 1 cup of flour down), using a pastry blender to cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle this over the crisp.
  5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375. Cook for approximately 30 more minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.
  6. I would say let cool before scarfing it down but I would be hypocritical since the serving in the photo was eaten by me in the space of ten minutes. Ummm…oops?

That Bread Pudding Thing Again

I’ve mentioned before my love/hate relationship with bread pudding. I love to hate it. More specifically I love to hate the insipid things that some pass off as bread pudding. Stale white bread from the grocery store mixed with 2%milk (or worse… let’s make bread pudding healthy and use skim. Ummm.. gag?) and a handful of raisins and some cinnamon cooked until it is a hardened pile of gunk. I’ll take Twinkies instead thank you. On that note though, I cringe every time I see recipes for bread pudding that use things like Twinkies or doughnuts. Even I have some health standards (says the woman about to give you a recipe using 3 cups of heavy cream. But hey! If it were also made with Twinkies, it would be even worse! So see? I DO care for your arteries!! I do, I do I do!)

I do though love to play with bread pudding. Not THAT way… get your mind out of the gutter ! I like to take flavors that one typically sees elsewhere (like my apricot white chocolate bread pudding that I more or less based on the idea of white chocolate dipped apricots) and turn them into bread pudding. So many things can be done with a loaf of a sweet bread (or french or Italian in the case of savory bread puddings), some rich custard and simple ingredients. You can take what started out generations ago as a way to use up leftovers and feed people a hearty breakfast (or lunch or dinner or dessert) and turn it into something that even die hard bread pudding haters (such as me) will love.

I decided I wanted to try a take on one of my favorite desserts; Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I didn’t want it inverted though. I wanted the bulk of the pineapple in it as well as the accompanying flavors (brown sugar and butter. YUM!) with the rest of those flavors in a sauce for over the top of it. I think this turned out rather well. I made it in mini spring form pans which technically are big enough for two servings. I say technically because I will stab with my fork anyone who gets near the one I am eating. yes, yes, I AM meek mild and gentle. Why do you ask? Back to the pudding…or…erhmmm, moving on πŸ˜€ The edges of these got all crispy and caramelized and sticky from the brown sugar and the natural sugars in the pineapple and that alone makes these oh so good. Add in the caramelly flavor of the pudding itself with the tang of the pineapple pieces then the creamy custard and rich sauce and I was in heaven. I am so so glad that I usually eat very little of what I make (as I’ve said before, I prefer to NOT weigh 600 pounds thank you very much) because then I won’t feel so guilty if I eat a whole mini cake of this.

Pineapple Upside Down Bread Pudding

With Creamy Pineapple Amaretto Sauce

  • SAUCE-
  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • 1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks in heavy syrup, drained, 1/2 cup syrup reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto liquor
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup amaretto (or sub 2 teaspoons almond extract)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 loaf Kings Hawaiian Bread, cut into small cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 6 mini spring-form pans or a two quart baking dish.
  2. In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine all sauce ingredients other than the cream.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool somewhat while you prepare pudding.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the brown sugar and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla, reserved 1/2 cup pineapple syrup, melted butter, the 2 cups of heavy cream and the amaretto. Mix well.
  5. Add 2 cups of the pineapple mixture, mixing well.
  6. Take the cubed bread and add to the cream mixture, pressing down with a spoon, fork, knife, shovel, whatever makes you happy, making sure to get all the bread submerged in the liquid. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to give the bread time to soak up the custard mix.
  7. Divide mixture between 6 greased mini spring-form pans (or a 2 quart pan, preferably glass, could be used) and bake at 325 for about 60 minutes or until you can stick a knife in the center of the custard and have no liquid custard seep up into the hole.
  8. Set aside to cool, still in the pans, for at least 2 hours (or take one out like I did and eat it piping hot and burn your tongue off. That works too.).
  9. While it is cooling, go back to your sauce. Eat a spoonful and moan cause it’s yummy and just like the stuff on pineapple upside down cake.
  10. Add the 1 cup of heavy cream to the pineapple sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let simmer for ten minutes, still stirring often.  Set aside.
  11. Carefully remove the sides and bottom of the spring-form pans. Put each pudding onto a serving plate and serve with some of the pineapple amaretto cream sauce

Drunk Fruits (*Hicccc…cuppppp*)

I was playing with the editing setting and liked the glowing look here. It fits for drunk fruit πŸ˜€

I like drunk fruits. I like the way they giggle and the way they look at their hands like they have just discovered the most amazing thing since sliced bread (especially since it would be hard to slice said bread w/out the hands). I like the way their cheeks get all red and glowy looking when they have become drunk fruit. I like the way they lose all inhibitions and start talking a mile a minute and are no longer timid and shy.

Wait. Fruits don’t have hands do they? And they can’t slice bread. Nor do they giggle and I’m pretty sure that they have no inhibitions to lose. Sigh. I think…maybe…possibly that what I was describing is what happens when I get a hold of fruits that have been made drunk, i.e., shoved into a bottle of alcohol and left to get pickled… sloshed, tipsy…. totally and completely wasted.

But wouldn’t it be awesome  if fruit could do all of those things?! It would probably be far more entertaining to watch a giggling talkative Apricot than it is when I am the one talking a mile a minute with red cheeks and looking at my hands like they are doing things that a disco ball can only dream of.

So in honor of drunk fruits…or a tipsy me; pick whichever makes you giggle more, I am sharing a recipe for a drunken Apricot. Many many of them as a matter of fact. And these little boogers appreciate it because they start out all dried and shriveled and end up looking like Meg Ryan after more collagen injections (can anyone please explain to me why she did that btw? ICK! She was cute before but now my apricots look better!).

I originally got this recipe off of but have changed it quite a bit over the years. The bottle I have right now (it’s not the first I’ve made) is now over 2 years old and as smooth as a babies bottom. Ok, maybe equating the booze I’m trying to get you to drink with a baby tush isn’t the greatest analogy but you know what I mean πŸ˜€ Give this a try. the longer it sits, the smoother it gets. Just don’t be fooled; this packs a punch. The sweet mild taste can be deceiving. Believe me… I know. πŸ˜›

Apricot Liqueur

  • 4 cups decent quality vodka
  • 1 cup sugar
  • rind from one small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces dried apricots
  1. Mix the sugar with 1/4 cup hot water to dissolve it somewhat.
  2. In a large scrupulously clean bottle (I have used bottles I have found at yard sales, a large glass crock and what actually worked best was an empty gallon wine glass wine jug.), mix together all of your ingredients. Shake well and then cap or put lid on if using a crock.
  3. Store in a dark cool place for at least one week. Remember, the flavor will get more intense and the alcohol bite smoother the longer it sits so if you’d like to make this as say, gifts for Christmas, I’d say to start now to give it time to pick up flavors.
  4. You can strain this through cheesecloth if the little tiny bits of fruit in it annoy you aesthetically but to be honest, I’ve never bothered. There isn’t actual fruit in it and there is not even to notice. You can only see it in bright light like what these photos were taken in.
  5. Serve in SMALL glasses (lol) or use in baking. It goes wonderfully in an apricot pound cake.