The perfect way to warm your body and soul in the winter is by spooning into a warm fruit crisp, crumble or tart. These easy to bake treats are also ideal to bring to holiday parties because of their simplicity and their deliciousness upon reheating.
Tips and tricks for crisps and crumbles
Pick the right fruit
To make a crispy and moist crisp, crumble, and tart you need to first choose the right fruit. Berries, apples and peaches are the best choices because they contain a lot of natural moisture and sugars. Be sure to opt for fruit that is ripe – it will be at its sweetest. Frozen fruits can be used if you can't find an in season fruit.
Know the differences
The difference between crisps, crumbles and tarts are essentially the topping. A crisp has a streusel topping usually of oats and butter; a crumble is typically butter, flour, and sugar; and a tart is a pastry with no topping.
Easy to bake
Crisps, crumbles and tarts make great holiday desserts because they are very simple and only require a few ingredients. They typically only bake for 15 to 40 minutes and can easily be reheated if need be. A crisp and a crumble require no bottom whereas a tart has a pastry crust (which can be store bought if you are in a hurry).
Desserts that impress
Crisps, crumbles and tarts also are very pretty desserts which look great on the dinner table – especially around the holidays.
Winter dessert recipes
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients: 4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups) 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg Whipped cream or Ice cream, if desired
Directions: 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Arrange apples in the bottom of the pan. In a bowl, rub together brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined. Sprinkle mixture over apples.
3. Bake crisp for 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to serve.
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients: 2 pints of raspberries 1 large package marshmallows 1 pint whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 cup flour 1 cup chopped nuts 1 cup butter, softened
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine raspberries, marshmallows and whipped cream.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, rub together brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter. Layer berry mixture and flour mixture in baking pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until fruit is soft and topping is lightly browned.
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients: 3 ounces butter, chilled 3/4 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water 1/2 pint heavy cream 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 tablespoons sugar 1 to 2 pints of strawberries, trimmed 1/4 cup currant jelly, heated
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut butter into flour, salt and sugar until crumbly. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and knead until a ball forms. Chill at least 1 hour.
2. Roll out pastry until it is a 1-inch thick disc. Line a 9-inch tart pan with dough. Line the dough with tin foil and fill with dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove foil and dried beans. Let cool until ready to fill.
3. Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla. Spread cream in tart shell and top with strawberries. Use a pastry brush to spread currant jelly on berries.