Delicious Labor

I had cause to make dessert this weekend–three times. That in itself should be enough to let you know that yes, I did have a good Labor Day weekend. Thanks for asking.

There were many good things about all the desserts I made and ate. First, and most importantly, they tasted great. They were also simple, seasonal, and impressive enough for company. Here are the recipes, reviews, and tips.

Recipe #1: Blackberry Brown Sugar Gratin
from Smitten Kitchen

This recipe wins because it has only three ingredients, and although I didn’t have any of them, it didn’t require a trip to the store. Instead of sour cream, I used plain yogurt. Instead of fresh raspberries, I used frozen blackberries, and instead of dark brown sugar, I used light. A quick broil, and we were in business. (Thanks to my friend Caitlin who recommended substituting blackberries and thawing them beforehand to prevent a soupy dessert. She doesn’t have a blog but really should.)

Deb recommends sifting the brown sugar over the fruit and yogurt so it’s nice and even. My sifter was too fine (as you can see), so I used a colander. It was a little messy for the counter top, but it spread out the sugar perfectly.

Dexter and I took this to our friends’ house for a game night. I was afraid it wouldn’t be sweet enough or that the sweetness from the berries and brown sugar wouldn’t mix into the yogurt and that there would be bitter pockets. But every bite was sweet, and every once in a while there was a piece of crispy sugar in your spoonful. There might have been more of these sugar crisps if I hadn’t over-broiled a little bit. And caught my oven mit on fire taking my pie pan (which shouldn’t have been used under the broiler) out of the oven.

Although this wasn’t too pretty in a bowl or in the pan the morning after, it was definitely worth making. I may or may not have snuck to the refrigerator a time or two and popped a spoonful in my mouth while Dexter wasn’t looking.

Recipe #2: Peach Compote
from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow by Stephanie O’Dea

Another easy recipe. The hardest part was cutting the peaches, which wasn’t hard. I popped all five ingredients in the crockpot (I used apple juice instead of brandy and was plum out of vanilla), turned it on, and went to the store to buy ice cream. I had some gluten-free gingersnaps in the freezer, so I threw them in the food processor and sprinkled the crumbs on top of my peaches and ice cream. I had two bowls. And then I felt sick. But I still found room for another bowl later in the day.

Recipe #3: Peach Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler
again, from Smitten Kitchen

I mixed my fruit, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in the baking dish. I didn’t have any lemon juice, so I left that out. What I really didn’t have was money in my grocery envelope, but I did have lots of organic peaches in my counter, blueberries in my freezer, and most things needed for baking. I also have a little obsession with cornbread. Deb (the cook inside Smitten Kitchen) recommended doubling the cornbread portion of the recipe, so I did. Instead of using my hands or a pastry blender to cut in the butter, I threw the dry ingredients in my food processor–still dirty from gingersnaps–and cut in the butter that way. It worked fine.

Although I usually can’t get enough topping when it comes to fruit-based desserts, this time, a double recipe of cornbread was a little much. It sucked the juice up from the fruit, so the cornbread was a little mushy (and I might have underbaked it) and it seemed like there was barely any fruit. It was still delicious, and I will definitely make it again, but with a single recipe of cornbread.


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