Baking With Dorie Greenspan: Fruit crisps, biscotti and more

Mixed Berry Crisp.
Jun 18, 2015

Beloved cookbook author Dorie Greenspan ("Baking Chez Moi," "Baking: From My Home To Yours," "Around My French Table" and more) answers your questions about baking, her "Everyday Dorie" column and everything else she's cooking.
This week's recipe: Mixed Berry Crisp
This week's column: Whether it's crisp or crumble, three steps will make it better

Almost summer and almost time to have the best ingredients to cook and bake with.  It was fun to kick the season off with the Mixed Berry Crisp.  If you made it, hope you liked it.

What's on your mind today?  Let's talk!

Mixed Berry Crisp

RECIPE: Mixed Berry Crisp

Hi Dorie, I have Bosc pears, nectarines and grapes that are a bit bruised and too mushy for the kids to bite into. Can I turn that lot into a crisp or is there something else I can use that fruit for as a dessert. Don't want to waste any of it. Thanks!

Pears, nectarines and grapes would make a terrific crisp!  I think grapes are under-appreciated as a fruit that can be baked - go for it!  And you're right not to want any of it to go to waste.

Hi Dorie-- Can you please recommend a breakfast-appropriate baked good that can be made a couple days in advance? I'm supposed to bring something to a breakfast potluck at work next Wednesday, but I'll be out Tuesday evening so I need to make it on Sunday or Monday. Any ideas on what won't dry out or otherwise deteriorate in that time? Thanks, and I always love your chats!

How about making biscotti?  They're meant to be dry (so drying out is never a problem:) and who doesn't love having something delicious to dunk in their morning coffee?

And thank you - I'm so glad you like the chats. I love having the chance to talk to everyone.

Here are some possibilities from The Post's Recipe Finder:

Croquets

RECIPE: Croquets (one of my recipes)

 

Cranberry-Orange-Walnut Biscotti

RECIPE: Cranberry-Orange-Walnut Biscotti

 

Almond and Chocolate Biscotti

RECIPE: Almond and Chocolate Biscotti

 

Chocolate Ginger Biscotti

RECIPE: Chocolate Ginger Biscotti

Have you tried the English Pea Cake from Rose's Luxury? It's wonderfully moist and wonderfully green. Until then I didn't even know that Pea Cake was a thing! Have you ever made one? Do you have any favorite recipes? Thanks!

No, I have never tried the English Pea Cake from Rose's Luxury, but I'm intrigued.  I've never made one and, like you, hadn't heard of it.  You can be sure that after this chat, I'm going to do a little research.

Hi Dorie, I have been meaning to make your Double Strawberry and Rose Shortcakes, but I can't find a place that sells unsprayed roses. Are there any alternatives? Thanks!

Double Strawberry and Rose Shortcakes

RECIPE: Double Strawberry and Rose Shortcakes

The rose petals are purely decorative - they add a little crunch, but they're really a fillip.  If you skip them, you'll still have beautiful and very delicious shortcakes.  You can buy candied roses in some specialty shops or, I don't know where you live, but maybe you've got neighbors whose (unsprayed) roses are still in bloom.  Make a trade - shortcakes for rose petals.  It would be a good deal all around.

Does a fruit crisp or crumble always have the oatmeal type topping? My late grandmother's very old crisp recipe has a batter that is poured over the fruit filling. I'm wondering if it's really some twist of a claofutis.

As I wrote in my column, the distinctions between crisps and crumbles are iffy, but usually those desserts have a topping and pretty much just sweetened fruit beneath the topping.  Pouring a batter over fruit sounds very much like what you do for a clafoutis.  Was your grandmother French?  Or European?  Batter-covered fruit desserts and fruits covered with cream and then baked, so that they're like gratins, were and still are very popular in Europe.

I am wondering if you have a favorite potato salad/macaroni salad/other type of side dish that might go well at a standard backyard BBQ.

One of the things that I like to make for BBQs are roasted tomatoes - cherry tomatoes, cut in half, seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil, strewn with herb and unpeeled cloves of garlic and roasted in a 225F oven for about 3 hours.  I serve them at room temperature or put them in a jar with more olive oil and let people spoon them out.  They're great next to and over almost any grilled foods from fish to steaks.  

Dorie, thank you for answering my question of "what do I make for Father's Day dessert?" I am definitely making the mixed berry crisp! I also love that you always include "make-ahead" notes but I had one additional question: How far in advance of eating can I bake the dish? I am concerned about the crisp becoming soggy if I bake it too far in advance. (Ideally I would finish baking it at 2 for a 6 p.m. eating time. But I can delay baking it if that is the best thing to do.) Thanks!

I'm so glad that you're making the crisp for Father's Day!  I think that your crisp will be fine if you bake it 4 hours ahead - especially if you do the bake-half-of-the-filling-and-mix-it-with-the-unbaked-half trick.  If you want, you can have the fruit in the pie plate and the topping mixed and ready to go and then you can just combine the two and bake them closer to serving time, if you've got free oven space.  Happy Father's Day!

This is a food, not baking, question. I know you spend a lot of time in Europe - have you been to Copenhagen and, if so, do you have favorite haunts there?

You're right, I do travel a lot, often to France, where I've lived part-time for almost 20 years, but I've not been to Copenhagen.  I hope you have a wonderful time!

Hi Dorie, this is one of my favorite recipes which I might make this weekend. I have some sour pie cherries which I'm considering substituting for the strawberries, mainly because I don't know what else to do with the cherries. That should work, right? I probably have about three cups of cherries. 

I think it will work just fine.  I might make two little tweaks. Because strawberries are juicier than cherries, I'd cut the flour in the recipe from 2 tablespoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons.  Also, I'd mix the filling together, let it sit for a few minutes and then taste it.  Since both the rhubarb and cherries are sour, you might want to add a touch more sugar to the filling.  Bet it's going to be great!

My dad brought me some fresh sour cherries, about 2 cups worth. What would you put them in? Also, just made your Rick Katz brownies; they are so delicious and addictive! Already trying to find an excuse to bake them again.

Hmmm, what would be a good excuse for baking Rick Katz's Brownies (recipe from Baking with Julia) again??? How about whim?  I love those brownies, too.

Two cups of cherries would make a sweet little 2-person crisp, open faced tart or clafoutis.  It would also be nice as a gratin.  Pit the cherries, sugar them, put them in small, low ramekins and top them with French almond cream or pastry cream.  (Almond cream is the classic filling for a baked fruit tart in France.)  If you have Baking Chez Moi, you can follow the recipe for the Pistachio and Berry Gratins, page 345.

Hi, Dorie! I'd love to know what you are having for lunch today. I didn't have classes, so I went to Eataly and bought ingredients to make cannelloni inspired by a recipe from Donna Hay(who I remember you talked to some time ago, love that interview!). Hope you have a nice day! From a big fan from São Paulo :)

Thank you, it's wonderful to know that we're together - so to speak - in Sao Paulo.

When I'm working - and I'm working like mad on the manuscript for my Cookie Book, which is due in a couple of weeks - I always have the same (not very interesting) lunch: cut up apple mixed with plain yogurt and topped with raisins and sunflower seeds.  

I bought the ingredients to make a watermelon and feta salad (with kale from the garden), but that might just have to wait for dinner.

I love what Donna Hay does (you're right - I interviewed her for The Splendid Table) and I'm sure you're going to have a great lunch - enjoy it!

Dorie, I will be traveling to Paris in a few weeks (as well as places in Italy and Barcelona - it will be quite the trip!). I have poured over recommendations for best bakery and best place to get a croissant/macaron/etc - what is your top choice for a bakery to try or possibly a new treat that I might not get to try in the U.S.?

Lucky, lucky you - you're going to have such a great trip.

I am big fan of the pastries of Pierre Hermé and love his macarons and his kouing-amann, a caramelized sugar and yeast dough treat that, done right, is fabulous.  I love the breads at Poilâne, a legendary shop for good reason, as well as those at Du Pain et Des Idées.

And don't forget to eat as much cheese as you can everywhere you go!

My favorite Paris resource is Paris by Mouth.

What is your opinion on whether a baked and cooled Chess Pie can be frozen for a couple of days without doing wonky things to the texture? My search on the google yielded conflicting answers for a myriad of sources. So I thought I'd ask Dorie!

"Wonky!" I'm afraid that that might be the best word for the texture you'll get if you freeze Chess Pie.

Has anybody out there had any experience freezing Chess Pie?

Why don't you have the pie fresh, but freeze a slice, so you'll know for next time?  And I'd love it if you'd come back and tell me how it went.

Sorry I couldn't be more definitive.

Dorie, the savory cookies you've posted on Instagram look great! Are savory cookies meant to be more of an appetizer or a snack? Also, have you transformed any other foods from a sweet dessert into a savory treat? I love your ideas!

Thanks so much!

You're right - savory cookies, or cocktail cookies as I like to call them, are meant to be an appetizer, a snack and, very often, an aperitif, the nibble to have with a glass of wine before dinner.

As for transforming sweets to savories, I do that often with pancakes (see below) and waffles and I've made savory clafoutis and savory rice pudding.  

I find the world of food constantly and endlessly fascinating and I love playing around with ingredients.  I also love that we're living in a moment where we're so open to new ideas that playing is encouraged.

Hummus Pancakes With Tahini Mayo

RECIPE: Hummus Pancakes With Tahini Mayo

Fun, fun, fun and such good questions - as always.  Thank you!

Can't wait for you to see the next recipe I've created for Everyday Dorie!  No, I won't tell you what it is -- what fun would it be if I took away the surprise -- but we can talk about it and anything else that's on your mind when we're together again on July 2 - just before the holiday weekend.

Until then - cheers!

In This Chat
Dorie Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan is the award-winning author of 11 cookbooks, the most recent of which is "Baking Chez Moi." Read more on her Web site, doriegreenspan.com, and follow her on Twitter: @doriegreenspan.
Recent Chats
  • Next: