Monday, March 29, 2010

Apple Amaretti Almond Crisp

My mother, Joan, gave me a cookbook last year, The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, which includes 160 recipes from the Union Square Cafe, a well-known Danny Meyer restaurant on 16th Street in Manhattan.

This weekend I made and adapted the Pear-Almond Crisp recipe.  The recipe calls for Amaretti cookies, which I had never tasted before, but found at Rosarios, the best Italian food store and deli in Astoria.  Amaratti Cookies have four ingredients: sugar, egg whites, apricot kernels, and wheat flour.  They are light, fluffy, and have, as you would expect, an Amaretto flavor, which is derived from apricot kernels.

My adaptation of the recipe substitutes apples for pears, honey for white sugar, and rum for Poire Williams (pear) brandy.

Apple Amaretti Almond Crisp

4 lbs granny smith apples, cored
1/2 cup rum (or Poire Williams Brandy)
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup blanched almonds
3/4 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
11 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup crushed amaretti cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the apples into 1/4 inch wide slices.  Place the pear slices in a bowl, drizzle with rum and honey.  Stir with a wooden spoon to coat evenly.  Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 7 to 10 minutes, or until evenly toasted.  Remove and cool.  Finely chop the almonds and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and the cinnamon.  Mix in the butter, working with your fingers until the mixture holds together and is crumbly.  Stir in the chopped almonds and set aside.

Place the pears and their juice in a 12 inch round porcelain tart pan.  As an alternative,  I used one 9-inch glass pie pan and one 9 inch round pyrex bowl.   Spread the almond/flour mixture evenly over the apples.  Bake for 1 hour, or until the apples are bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

To serve, scoop the hot crisp into individual dessert bowls or plates.  The original recipe recommends drizzling chilled heavy cream evenly over each portion.  I offered plain whole-milk yogurt as an accompaniment.

This recipe serves 12.

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