Mon 27 Jul 2009 11:02 pm
Fellow dessert lovers, who among us has not wondered about the technical differences between a crisp and a crumble, a galette or a buckle? Enter Rustic Fruit Desserts, a collaboration between James Beard winner Cory Schreiber and Portland baker Julie Richardson, a book whose usefulness is clear straight from the introduction, where the authors describe each pastry-fruit iteration. (A galette? It’s a free-form tart that does not require a pan. A buckle has cake batter poured in a single layer, with berries added to the batter.)
In summer’s heat, flipping through the pages of their seasonal desserts makes me want to load up on ingredients for Raspberry-Red Currant Cobbler or Stone Fruit Slump. The recipes are straightforward, but irresistable– a bite of ginger here, candied rhubarb ribbons there, flavor combinations like plum and vanilla, peach and caramel.
The pair will be in town Wednesday, July 29, for a Cooks & Books event, with the exceptional Neil Robertson cooking up their recipes. They answered some questions in advance via e-mail, including my unusually impolite inquiry about whether the “rustic” of their title could properly be considered a code word for “ugly”. (Read about that in my Christian Science Monitor post here.)
Here’s what they had to say. And if you want to nibble on more than just their words, tickets to the event are online here:
Q: Tell me how the book came about. I pictured it as an idea you had long championed… but Ten Speed Press came to you?
Cory: Some terms are loose and some are region specific. For example, in general when the difference is a biscuit dough baked on the top of the fruit (cobbler) vs. the biscuit topping being baked on top of the stove ( grunt/slump), or, is the biscuit crumbled and pushed down into the fruit or on the bottom of the pan (pandowdy), we found the language was universal and have not received any notifications of disagreement as of yet. Julie’s creative twist to these classic desserts, I think, shows them in a new light.
Julie: We enjoyed this process because we got to talk with friends from all over the states and get their interpretation of the definitions. I also have a lot of old cookbooks that had great definitions.
Q: The book did make me want to run straight to the farmers market, and then straight to the kitchen. Is that just the nature of fruit desserts, or were you aiming for that effect? (And if it was the latter, I’d like to know how you did it.)
Julie: By using a season for each chapter it allowed the reader to become aware of “what’s in season” and want to run out and get it. I love fruit desserts; I opt for something fruited over something not almost any time…Understanding what to look for in ripeness or the names of fruit allows the reader to feel more comfortable in purchasing something they might not have in the past.