I’m afraid your imaginiation will have to insert pretty pictures: today’s recipes come in response to requests, and you’ll have to trust me that they both look as luscious as they taste. Below are recipes from a class I taught to cast and staff from the Broadway show, Wicked. After cooking with them, it was a total kick to see the show again. (And I could see it again and again, and never tire of it). As I watched their glorious talents burst out onto the stage, I have to admit to a moment or two of thoughts like, “…and his knife skills are pretty good, too”.
Below are recipes for the Peach Pistachio Strudel and Blueberry Crisp with Whipped Mascarpone Cream Topping. If everyone in the world had a spoonful of the topping at the same moment, we would have world peace.
Teri’s Peach and Pistachio Strudel
This may be made ahead and frozen—baked or unbaked. And when the seasons tell you, change up the fruit filling—to apples and cinnamon or plums and cardamom or nutmeg for example. Keep filo covered with a damp cloth as you work to keep the sheets pliable.
I created this dessert for the incredible talented Teri Pruitt, who wanted to work with filo dough. The day we made it, the peaches we got were not freestone, which meant taking the pits out was a royal pain. Remember that when cooking with peaches, “freestone” means the stone in the center will easily come free, making easy work of slicing.
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 1/4-inch thick slice ginger root
1 pound ripe peaches, pitted and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
10 12×17-inch sheets thawed filo dough
1/2 cup melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine the honey, 1/4 cup of the sugar, ginger and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Stir in the peaches and let sit, tossing occasionally, until peaches are fork tender but not mushy, and have developed a subtle ginger flavor, 10-30 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the peaches. Transfer peaches to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
3. Pulse remaining 1/4 cup sugar, almonds and pistachios together in a food processor until the mixture resembles sand (but does not turn into a paste).
4. Lay one sheet of filo out on the parchment, brush with butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture. Repeat with remaining filo and all but 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture. Spoon the peaches 2 inches in along one long side. Fold the short edges in and roll lengthwise over the peach mixture. End with the seam facing down. Brush a little of the peach-honey syrup over the strudel and sprinkle with the remaining nut mixture.
5. Bake until the juices bubble at the ends and the strudel is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.
Here’s a photo I took with my phone right before we sliced the strudel in class:
Individual Blueberry Crisps with Whipped Mascarpone Cream Topping
For the filling:
10 cups (5 pints) fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch ground nutmeg
For the crisp topping:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Pinch ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oats
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into bits
1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 8 large ramekins (or an 11 x 7 baking dish) with cooking spray.
- Combine the blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg. Transfer to the prepared ramekins or baking dish.
- Combine the flour, cardamom, salt, brown sugar, and oats. Work the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the pecans and spread the topping over the blueberries, taking care not to compact it.
- Bake until the filling bubbles up on the edges, about 30 minutes (up to 45 for a single baking dish). Allow to cool before serving.
Makes 8 servings
Two Great Toppings for Crisps, Pies, Rich Chocolate Torts… and Spoons
1 cup chilled whipping cream
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Seeds scraped from 1/4th a vanilla bean, or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Using electric mixer, beat cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until peaks form.
Whipped Crème Fraiche
16 ounces crème fraiche
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (optional)
- Whisk crème fraiche and vanilla with an electric beater until it holds stiff peaks, about 4 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar if desired; rewhip just to incorporate and refrigerate until serving.