Sunday, September 1, 2013

Peach Amaretti Crisp

When I think of crisps, the oatmeal type is the first that comes to mind.  However, there really are too many other options out there to be limited to one type.  This particular recipe uses amaretti cookies in the topping, something which I had never even tasted until I made this dessert.

While almond is not a flavor that goes with all fruits, this particular topping will be one that I will use when making cherry or peach crisps in the future.  The almond is much more complimentary than any oat topping.

The cookie recipe makes 16 cookies and the crisp is baked in a 2 qt dish and serves about 8 people.

Amaretti Cookies
adapted from Ready for Dessert

1 egg white
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp flour
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and prepare 2 pans by lining with parchment paper.

Place flour, almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor.  Grind the mixture together in the processor until the almonds become a powder.  Set aside.

Using a hand mixer on low speed, whip the egg white until foamy.  Add salt and put the mixer on high and beat until soft peak stage.  Add 1 tbs of granulated sugar and beat for 30 seconds.  Continue with the same process with the additional tbs of granulated sugar, then beat until stiff shiny peaks are formed. Fold in 1/3 of the almond mixture. Add the additional 3rds, beating after each addition. When adding the final measure of the almond mixture, pour in the almond extract before beating.

Then pipe or spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheets.  They should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and be placed about 3/4 inch apart.  Bake for about 10 minutes, rotate pan and then bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Turn oven off and let the cookies sit in oven for 20 minutes.  Remove the pans and let cool until firm and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Peach Amaretti Crisp
adapted from Room for Dessert

1/2 tsp almond extract
3 lbs of peaches
1 tbs flour
2 tbs granulated sugar

crushed amaretti cookies from recipe above (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup toasted almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter (1/2 cubes, chilled)

Prepare the fruit by peeling and pitting the peaches.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and almond extract.  Cut the peaches into 1/2 inch slices and toss in the flour/sugar mixture.  Place slices in a shallow 2 quart baking dish, making sure the slices are even and completely covering the bottom interior of dish. Set aside.

For the topping, set up a food processor with a metal blade in the bowl.  Fill the bowl with all the topping ingredients except the butter cubes.  Pulse the dry mixture until the almonds are in small bits with some larger chunks remaining. Drop in butter cubes and run the food processor until the ingredients can clump together in your hand.  Sprinkle topping evenly over peaches and place pan in oven.

Crisp should take about 40-50 minutes to bake.  When done, the crisp will bubble at the sides and the interior be easy to sink a knife into.  Serve warm with whipped cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Notes and Tips:
1. For the filling, the almond extract can be substituted with 1 tsp vanilla extract.
2. The crisp shown in the picture was baked in a 9x13 size cake pan and it only took about 40 minutes to bake.  Using this type of pan is good in a pinch if you do not have the right size dish.
3. The topping can be made in advance and frozen to save time.
                                    **LAST YEAR: Trucker Cookies**