Aaaah…October! The nights are getting cold, the leaves are changing, and this week here in Denver, we had our first snow fall. Boooo (and not the spooky ghost kind). I love fall but I don’t like that it signifies cold weather is around the corner (or already here, apparently). I don’t care for snow or cold. Let’s not worry about that right now and just relish in a month of fall recipes. How about some pumpkin mixed into cheesecake?
These cheesecake bars are a perfect combination of a layer of graham cracker crust, a layer of cheesecake, a layer of pumpkin cheesecake and the best layer on top… streusel!
Today was spent accepting the inevitable – fall has fallen. It was a beautifully sunny (if slightly cool) day here in Seattle, so Brandon and I decided to make the most of it and spend the day in the yard. We pulled tomato plants, raked leaves, and stored the deck furniture. It seems like it was about 12 minutes ago that giddily pulled all of this stuff out. I’m admittedly a little melancholy about the end of summer.
Even as I’m not super enthused about the shorter, chillier days, I *am* excited about all the squash, apples, and cinnamon-flavors foods I get to bake and snack on. At the farmer’s market this past weekend, I picked up the a 1/2 dozen of the best honeycrisp apples I’ve ever eating (which is saying something, since I live in an apple-producing, apple-proud state). I’d write them in to a recipe, but I’d prefer just to put them directly in to my face.
I did get a head start on some fall baking this morning, when I made this yeasted Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread. It’s like an autumnal version of Cinnamon Raisin Bread – the bread has a slightly sweet, mildly earthy taste of spiced pumpkin, and the swirl is a sweet-spicy punch of cinnamon. It’s delicious straight of of the oven (of course), is dreamy when it’s been toasted with butter (crispy, chewy and tender), and though this hasn’t happened in my house yet, this bread would be *amazing* for French toast.
As we wind up our month of defining, testing and tasting our fruit desserts – which Streusel kindly laid out the differences in her last post – I thought I’d go vintage for my final recipe on this topic and make a fall-friendly Apple Betty.
“What’s a Betty?” You (and I) ask. Also, we’re probably filled with curiosity about whether or not we should make it. Happily, after some experimenting this month, I can provide answers to both questions!
Firstly – a Betty is a fruit dessert layered between bread crumbs or bread cubes, with plenty of butter to make the layers crisp and delicious. It falls more in line with a fruit crisp, but without the oat topping (and with the bread crumbs serving that purpose instead).
Is it worth our baking time and energy? Yes! It absolutely is. You can ask my husband, who piled on some ice cream and then gobbled 3/4 of it about 12 seconds after it came out of the oven.
The pears are ripe and I decided to take a break from all of the peaches and demonstrate a cobbler with some fresh Colorado pears!
Let’s recap what we’ve learned so far this month…
Crisp – Fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of sugar and flour and butter and OATS – hence the crisp!
Crumble – Fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of sugar and flour and butter, no oats
Buckle – Typically berries blended into a coffee cake where the batter sinks and the streusel topping and fruit buckle.
Now to the Cobbler, similar to a crisp or crumble but now the topping is a dough. It’s not a full cake like the buckle with eggs and all. This dough is more of a sweet biscuit dough, no eggs, but we do have leavening in the form of baking powder and we have liquid added in! This dough is then cobbled on top of the fruit and baked to a golden brown.
This week I tried my hand at a baking Berry Buckle. In our ongoing quest to define various summertime desserts, a buckle was next on my list.
“What makes a buckle a buckle?” You may ask (or at least, I did!). In my internet perusing, I learned that a buckle is more cake-like, though it’s a cake baked with fresh fruit (just to be clear, just because it’s fruit + cake, it does not make it a fruitcake). The cake is supposed to “buckle” around the large amount of fruit in the cake.
And you know what else?! It has a streusel topping. If that’s not a perfect cake to try in these diminishing days of summer, I don’t know what is!
Well, it’s a little confusing because some would say a crisp has oats and a crumble doesn’t BUT then I easily found recipes where crumbles had oats?! Strudel’s crisp last week definitely had oats! The Kitchn tells me…
Crisps have oats. Crumbles – no oats!
Oats or no oats, this dessert seems to have started during WWII when rationing of flour, fat and sugar turned the pie into this more economical and easy to make dessert! Adding oats into a crisp was a way to use even less flour.
It’s nearing the end of summer (I *refuse* any suggestion that our warm sunny season is over), and I’m working on putting as much summer fruit in my face as possible before the end of season. Streusel and I also decided that while we’re piling in the berries and stone fruits, we should also take the opportunity to define the differences between cobblers, crumbles, crisps and buckles. I’m starting things off this month with this Summer Fruit Crisp.
Before we get to defining our desserts, it’s important that I announce this: this Crisp is a dream. It’s so good – packed with sweet peaches and fragrant ripe strawberries, with a lid of hearty oats, crunchy almonds and warming spices, it tastes like all the best parts of summertime.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t grill up something pie-ish! Not only is it sweet, it’s easy. A simple grilled apple galette.
A galette is basically a free form flat pie. They are easy to put together, easy to please guests, easy to grill up BUT a few words of caution…
Grill it low and slow! If the grill is too warm, it will burn the bottom quickly.
I struggled with what to name this blog post, because there’s so many wonderful and homemade things happening. There’s the naan itself, which is tender and squishy and chewy and buttery and salty; plus the “I can’t believe how quickly I just made cheese” tangy and crumbly paneer. There’s also the hearty, toothy kale that turns this stuffed naan from a snack and into a meal. Also, it was grilled on the barbecue, which gave it a a bit of roastiness.
So, I thought about “Homemade Naan with Kale and Paneer” or “Grilled Naan with Homemade Paneer and Kale” or “Stuffed Naan with Kale and Homemade Paneer” etc. In the end, I figured it would be understood that naan is homemade (this is a baking blog, after all), also that the word “stuffed” sounded weird, and that the grilling part is important. So, I went with “Kale and Paneer Filled Grilled Naan” – it’s sort of the least + most words I could figure out how to fit in to one title.
Nothing in this recipe is difficult, and start-to-finish, it took me about two hours, which I thought was pretty good for making a bread, cheese, and a filling. Also, it’s totally worth the time! The naan is particularly delicious right after it comes off the grill, when the butter and salt hit the charred parts of the squishy dough – uch, divine. I love gluten so much.
One thing I really liked about baking this naan on the grill is that I have much more room to maneuver around – this pita is delicious, but whenever I make it there’s a bit of contorting in in order to get the dough to the back parts of the oven, plus the flipping (oh, the flipping!). It always turns out just fine, but using the grill just felt so roomy!
A friend recently visited Uganda and she came back raving about the Chapati Bread she ate while there. As you’ve read before Strudel and I love both making and eating pita bread. It’s easy but one thing you have to do continually is open the oven to flip and check the bread. It causes heat to be lost from the oven.
So as I thought about making chapati bread and heating up the kitchen I thought what better way to make this bread then on the grill. It worked so well that next time I make pita bread it’s going on the grill too!