Monday, February 2, 2009

deconstructed blackberry crumble

I have to share the dessert Megan made when she had us over the other week. Weren't you curious when you read "deconstructed blackberry crumble"? Not wanting to sound pretentious, Megan explained that she's no Ferran AdriĆ , but that she didn't know what else to call it. Because the dessert is made of several separate, layered parts, she considered just saying it was a parfait, but that just makes me think of those granola-topped yogurts at Starbucks. This dessert was way more exciting: a thickened mixture of blackberries, topped with a tangy, lightly spiced marscapone cream and showered with a crunchy topping of sweet ground almonds and oats. The topping had a sand-like consistency that actually reminded me of AdriĆ 's edible "soils," but Megan doesn't want to sound high-falutin' so I won't go on about that.

Most impressive, she created this dish herself. Like a lot of food bloggers cribbing recipes from this blog or that blog, I always get a little thrill when I actually invent something good. Or at least make something that's based on my own creativity and whims rather than something I've read. It's just as exciting to try something someone else created--even better, actually, because I don't have to do the dishes.

A special note to the gluten-averse, this recipe contains no flour of any kind. Megan's not only original, she's also very thoughtful, creating a special dessert that I could enjoy without any regrets.

Deconstructed blackberry crumble

This recipe is made of three parts: blackberry compote, almond-oat streusel, and a mascarpone-ricotta cream. If you don't like blackberries, I think blueberries or raspberries or any combination of berries would be equally delicious.

For the compote:
1 pint basket blackberries
1/4 cup blackberry jam
4 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice

For the almond-oat streusel:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

For the mascarpone cream:
8 oz. mascarpone
6 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice

Lightly mash the blackberries or break them apart with your fingers. Pour the berries into a saucepan with the jam, water, and sugar. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes or until berries are slightly broken down and the liquid is slightly reduced. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate for an hour and a half until gelled. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

In a spice grinder or food processor, grind the oats until they resemble a course wheat flour. Do the same with the almonds. Combine oats, almonds, and sugar in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the melted butter and combine with a fork or with your fingers until the mixture separates into pea-sized bits. Sprinkle onto a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Can be stored in Tupperware for a week if necessary.

Combine mascarpone and ricotta in a medium bowl. You can whip the mixture with an egg beater on medium speed for a few minutes to make it fluffier, but Megan says she didn't bother and it was fine. Add the confectioner's sugar and spices and stir to mix thoroughly. Keeps for 3 days in refrigerator.

In bowl or parfait glass, scoop 1/4 cup streusel. Add 1/3 cup blackberry compote and then 1/3 cup mascarpone cream. Top with 2 Tbsp. streusel and serve. You can also play around with the order you want to layer them in.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Kudos to the Ferran Adria of Sunnyside.

I further deconstructed this crumble in my gullet.


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