Summers lasted forever when we were kids. Maybe it was because there weren't any real responsibilities beyond the paper route, doing our daily chores, and husking corn before dinner. We didn't know what day it was, because, honestly - why did it matter? We were little, and when you're little, the days of the week don't have much significance.
We often asked our mother, “Mom, what day is it today?” because we knew that Sunday was our day to ride our bikes to Woods Hole. It was the one day a week we were allowed to have candy. She was probably asked that question multiple times a day, by four busy children looking for a sweet tooth fix. I don't think she ever actually held out on us all week. She knew that summers went by fast, that you have to pack as much fun and relaxation as you can in to ten short weeks. But I also think she would go to any lengths to try and regulate the amount of sugar that was smuggled in and out of our household. My sister Emily and I basically ran an underground candy-trading business. Life was good, summers were long, and the candy flowed like wine.
I have since learned that summers do indeed fly by. The days are long, but the months are short. Here in New England, we need to relish our summers because they come and go so quickly. As we grow older, we learn the importance that each day holds. We realize that in order to make our lives the fullest that they can be, we need to take the opportunities that the days present to us. Enjoy the rainy days, the days of sipping coffee on the front porch, talking about nothing at all. The wet Fourth of July spent laughing in the barn, surrounded by your family. Your nephew who just turned one, seeing sparklers for the first time, dancing in the down pour. As grown ups, every day holds significance. Ride your bike and eat candy whenever you get the chance.
This crisp was made as a farewell to this summers strawberries and rhubarb. See what I mean?! The summer has already bid adieu to some of my favorite flavors. I also had some cherries and blueberries that were going to turn if I didn't use them up. I decided that a splash of whiskey might punch up the flavor, and it really did. I used the crumble recipe that my mother uses on her apple crisp in the fall (one of my all time favorites growing up) and it worked really nicely on this summer fruit crisp. The topping is sugary and crunchy, and it compliments the tartness of the fruit. The maple whiskey whipped cream highlights the flavors of the crisp, and adds a boozy note at the end. Perfect for a lazy summer day.
Because strawberry and rhubarb season is coming to a close, you can always use blackberries, currants, raspberries, peaches, plums, nectarines...the possibilities are endless!
• Whiskey Summer Fruit Crisp •
makes one 9"x 11" pan
for the fruit filling
• 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced (from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA)
• 2 cups blueberries
• 1 cup cherries, pitted
• 2 cups rhubarb, chopped
• 1/2 cup corn starch
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup whiskey (I used Bully Boy American Whiskey- it is made in Boston, and so tasty!)
Make sure all of your fruit is rinsed, and prepped. Combine all fruit in a large bowl, and add the sugar, corn starch and whiskey. Mix thoroughly, being sure to incorporate all of the corn starch.
Spoon all of your fruit into the bottom of a 9" x 11" baking dish. Set aside.
for the crisp
• 3/4 cup all purpose flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 lb unsalted butter, cut in to small pieces (from Appleton Farm in Ipswich, MA)
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl. Crumble the butter in with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Spread the crumb topping evenly over your fruit. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the edges being to bubble, and the crumb topping has begun to crisp and brown slightly.
Let cool for a little bit, while you make the whipped cream.
for the maple whiskey whipped cream
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used some I had from Zeb's General Store in North Conway, NH)
• 1 tablespoon whiskey
Pour all of the ingredients into a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. You can also use a handheld mixer and a stainless steel bowl, chilled.
Whisk slowly at first, on a low setting, gradually increasing speed as the cream begins to thicken.
Once the cream is starting to form bubbles, turn the mixer up to full speed and whisk for about 30 seconds, or until stiff peaks form.
Serve on warm or room temperature crisp. Or eat with a spoon... or fingers, or straight off the whisk.