Monday, March 4, 2013

"A Little Bit of Everything" Dessert!

We haven't baked in awhile, so maybe it's time to get out the measuring cups and create something fresh and sweet for Spring!

"They" say that rhubarb is a spring fruit, but my plant doesn't bear stalks until late summer.  But I'll go with what "they" say, because I like rhubarb and I couldn't help but buy a few of those ruby-red stalks on a whim while grocery shopping last week!  I bought enough to make two recipes, one a tried-and-true rhubarb coffee cake.  The second was my "a little bit of everything" dessert.

I needed a dessert for Sunday dinner, and also I had a few things in the fridge that needed to be used.  Now that doesn't sound very appetizing at all...left-overs for dessert?  Ahhh, but sweet left-overs can be very good!  Just read on, and you'll see!

In my fridge and cupboards was the rest of the rhubarb just starting to go soft, an opened package of cream cheese, 2 packages of lady fingers, amaretto, apple crisp topping that I had mixed a couple weeks ago and actually made too much of, and half a bottle of Bing cherry syrup.  Hmmm, there was a theme here...cherry, almond, amaretto.  And there were some common denominators like lady fingers, cream and amaretto as well as rhubarb and crisp topping.  So I concocted a Cherry-Rhubarb Creamy Crumble!  I think it was pretty yummy!

So now you can go to the store and buy what I had left over and make it for your next dessert!

My first thoughts were either a rhubarb crisp or a spin-off on tiramisu.  But I wanted to use all the ingredients, not just half of them, so I diced the rhubarb and simmered it in a pan with the cherry syrup until it was thick and saucy and then chilled it. 

While that was simmering and cooling, I laid one package of lady fingers in a 9x13 dish and brushed them with the amaretto. 

Then I sweetened the cream cheese and added a bit of almond extract (here is where I would make a change...I would use marscapone cheese mixed with freshly whipped whipping cream instead of cream cheese for a lighter, creamier taste and texture) and spread that on top of the amaretto-soaked lady fingers. 

Then I spread half the chilled cherry-rhubarb sauce over that.  I repeated those layers with the second package of lady fingers brushed with amaretto, the other half of the cream mixture, and the other half of the rhubarb sauce. 

Then I sprinkled the crisp topping over the dessert and refrigerated it over night. 

The next day I preheated the oven to broil and then popped the chilled dessert into the oven just to "crisp" the crisp.  I served it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, just as I would for crisp.  I think whipped cream with almond extract or amaretto would be even better, but I was using what I had.  And there it was...creamy, sweet, cold and warm, with a crunchy top.  An incredible contrast of texture and temperature.  Next time I might do strawberry-rhubarb, which I think would be even better!

This is not an accurate actually had beautiful
red and white stripes with the crumb topping adding contrast.

So give it a try!  Here is the recipe in a format that you can copy and print.

Happy spring!

Cherry-Rhubarb Creamy Crumble

Rhubarb sauce:
3 to 4 stalks of rhubarb
1 cup cherry/berry syrup or fresh strawberries or raspberries
Simmer over medium heat until soft and saucy.  Chill.

Cake layer:
2  pkg. lady fingers
1/4 c. Amaretto
Lay one package of lady fingers in a 9x13 baking dish.  Brush with half the Amaretto.  Spread with cream filling then sauce mixture and repeat.

Cream filling:
8 oz. marscapone cheese
1 cup whipped cream (sweetened to taste)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Whip the cream with sugar and extract, then fold it into the marscapone cheese.

Crisp topping:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. oats
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. slivered almonds
dash salt
Sprinkle topping evenly over dessert.

Chill the dessert a few hours or overnight.  Preheat broiler, then broil a few minutes to crisp the topping.  Watch carefully so top doesn't burn.  Serve with fresh whipped cream lightly sweetened and flavored with either Amaretto or almond extract.