Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cobblers, Crisps, Brown Betty, Slumps, Crumbles.....

It's funny when you think about it, all the different types of toppings there are for fruit desserts. I mean where did Brown Betty come from and who is Betty anyway?
Here are some of the answers... Oh and I like all the below with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream when the dessert is still warm.

Crisps, Crumbles & Buckles- These are great with Blackberries, Marionberries or I like a combo with fresh peaches. Usually made with flour, oats, sugar, softened butter, salt and spices (optional). All three have a streusal type topping which gives it a buckled or crumpled appearance. Easy and delicious.

Cobblers- My husbands favorite which is more of a biscuit-like topping. In my recipe I add 1/4 cup cornmeal to 1 1/2 cups flour, whipping cream, baking soda, baking powder,1/2 cup sugar ( I like the evaporated. organic cane sugar in the topping). Add 1/4- 1/2 cup regular sugar to berries, depending on sweetness, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and 2 Tablespoons flour. YUM!

Brown Betty- Anyone with the name Betty can take credit for this recipe! This one dates back to Colonial times and has two different methods:
One of the oldest recipes found is basically like a bread pudding with apples. The other recipe for Brown Betty is when the apples are sprinkled with brown sugar (hence the name), cinnamon, dash of salt and bread crumbs sprinkled over the top and baked. I'd drizzle a little butter over the bread crumbs or toss the bread crumbs with melted butter, then sprinkle over apple mixture. Top with Vanilla ice cream. With the bread pudding version I would add caramel sauce and ice cream.

Slumps and Grunts-"Early attempts to adapt the English steamed pudding to the primitive cooking equipment available to the Colonists in New England resulted in the grunt and the slump, a simple dumpling-like pudding, (basically like a cobbler). Usually covered and cooked on top of the stove. In Massachusettes, they were known as a grunt (referring to the sound that the berries made while cooking). Phew! Always wondered about that one! In Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island, the dessert was referred to as a slump.

Pandowdy-This dough is rolled out, like a pie crust but but ends up being flaky and delicious.

Clafouti- A custard-like French dessert. Reminds me of a thicker version of a Dutch Baby (flour, eggs, milk & butter) Fruit is placed in a buttered baking dish, custard
is made, then poured on top and baked.

Hope you enjoy making the different variations while berries are at their prime right now!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Julie & Julia

My mom and I went to see the sneak preview of Julie & Julia and it was fantastic! Meryl Streep plays a perfect Julia. Her mannerisms, voice and sense of humor was just as I remembered! It is everything I expected and more. It made me laugh, cry and want to eat and cook! My mom who had the great honor of knowing Julia Child and Simone Beck (Simca) said the actresses portrayed them well. You see the personal side of Julia and the sweet relationship she had with her husband, Paul. I'll never forget when I was at a special event for Julia and I went up to her and said "hello", I had met her years before but as soon as I said I was Sharon Kramis' daughter she instantly responded and said "say hello to your mother she's a great cook". I thought wow! My mom has been my mentor all these years and to hear Julia Child speak so highly of her was wonderful.
When my mom was in Provence taking cooking classes from Simone Beck, Julia and Paul lived on the same estate and after one of the classes Julia invited my parents over for hor d'oeuvres and wine. She served parsley ham, olives, thickly sliced french bread, toasted (butter served alongside). Paul served wonderful French wines. When I was a teenager my mom had Simone Beck over for dinner. It was a time I will never forget. It was great to see a movie not just about Julia but also Simca, who was also amazing and changed the way we cook today. We may not live in France but we can sure cook and eat like we do. Julie Powell what a cool woman to take on such an amazing goal and follow through to the end. You are truly inspirational as well and I think Julia would be proud.