I’ve been watching a lot of great cooking shows lately. Has anyone seen the American Baking Competition show on CBS? It takes ordinary household bakers and tasks them with creating extraordinarily difficult to create desserts – ranging from chocolate soufflés to tarte tatins. Up front, the show seems slightly more gimmicky than typical reality cooking shows. Jeff Foxworthy (who has what experience in cooking exactly?) hosts, while the contestants labor away in a tent literally situated in the middle of a field. That’s all the background they give. I guess it’s supposed to represent the “great American frontier” or something like that? Regardless, I buy into the gimmicky stuff easily, and I really enjoy watching the show. My favorite contestant just got booted off though, so I guess I’ll have to pick a new one to root for.
Another great show is Chopped, but not just regular Chopped, Chopped: Teenagers. I watched the episode last night, which featured four teenagers, just like me, ranging from 14-17 years old and facing the same daunting baskets that adult chefs face every Chopped episode, along with the typical 30-minute timeframe. The producers did not hold back just because these contestants were so young – in the appetizer round alone they had to find a way to pair a tuna steak with graham cracker cereal. Other difficult ingredients included Japanese mayonnaise, hen of the woods mushrooms, an un-butchered leg of a lamb and kettle-style potato chips. Along with the judges, I was amazed by what these kids could come up with so quickly with such foreign ingredients.
So this crisp…I must confess that I did not actually make it. Nonetheless, it was delicious and glorious and definitely worth sharing as an introduction to berry month! There’s a sort of paradox that goes along with many summer desserts. Despite the astounding heat, many are best served hot…with a side of vanilla ice cream that is. This crisp exemplifies this contrast.
Peach, Blueberry and Basil Crisp
From How Sweet It Is
- 4 ripe peaches, peeled and cubed
- 1 pint of blueberries
- 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons softened butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a 9×9 baking dish, mix peaches, blueberries and basil with sugar, flour and salt. Toss well and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Use your fingers to add in the softened butter, crumbling it together until it’s evenly distributed. Sprinkle the crisp over the peaches and berries. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until crisp is golden and fruit is bubbly.
- Serve immediately with ice cream and more fresh basil if desired.