Sunday, October 27, 2019

Pink Pearl Apple Crisp - a perfect autumn recipe from Chef Serge Madikians

One of my favorite restaurants is Serevan in Amenia, NY. Chef-owner Serge Madikians can transform locally sourced ingredients into works of art for the eyes, palette, and soul.
For my birthday last August, my husband, daughter and son-in-law treated me to a memorable dinner at Serevan. It was a meal to behold!

When I came across Chef Serge’s apple crisp recipe recently, I contacted him to ask if I might share it with all of you, after all, it is apple season. He graciously said ‘yes’.
Thank you, Chef!
Pink Pearl Apple Crisp by Chef Serge Madikians
Pink Pearl Apple Crisp
Chef/Owner Serge Madikians, Serevan


For the apples:
8 medium to large Pink Pearl apples (peeled, cored and sliced in sixths) Note: If Pink Pearl apples are unavailable, substitute with any apple with a sweet-tart flavor, such as Honey Crisp.)
8 Medjool dates (pitted and sliced in sixths)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/4 cup Calvados or other apple brandy
1/2 teaspoon cardamom, ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash Cayenne pepper
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1/2 orange (juice and zest) (optional)

For the crisp:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed well)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts or pistachios, chopped
20 tablespoons (2 ½ sticks) chilled butter, cut into thin sheets

For the apples:
Toss the apples with all the ingredients except the melted butter. Make sure each slice of the apple is coated evenly.
Add the butter and toss well to combine.
Place in the prepared crisp containers and refrigerate for 15 minutes while you make the crisp batter.
For the crisp:
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Using a low-speed setting, combine all the ingredients except the nuts and the butter in a bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment.

Add the chilled butter slices and mix until the crisp becomes crumbly, then add the finely chopped nuts and mix just until it combines evenly.

Place an ample amount of the crisp batter (we like ours with a lot of crisp) on top of each apple mixture and bake in the oven for at least 30 minutes, or until the apples begin to bubble a bit.

Raise the temperature to 375°F and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the crisp has taken on a light brown color.

Serve hot with whipped cream or ice cream

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dried Fruit Compote - a Quick and Easy Dessert!

Looking for a dessert that can be prepared in a jiffy? Try this quick and easy Dried Fruit Compote.
The culinary definition of compote states that it is "served as a chilled dish made up of fresh or dried fruit that’s been slowly cooked in a sugar syrup - and - could contain liquor or liqueur and sometimes spices."

You might be wondering why I'm sharing this recipe in October if a compote is to be served chilled. Answer: because there are no fixed rules. The good news is that a compote can also be served hot or at room temperature during cooler months to ward-off the chill and warm your heart!

This simple version uses dried fruit, is cooked in a microwave oven, and is sweetened with a bit of local honey rather than sugar syrup. There is no alcohol, but the flavor is enhanced with cinnamon bark, whole cloves and lemon peel.

Dried Fruit Compote topped with plain Greek yogurt, ground cinnamon, and chopped pistachios.
Quick and Easy Dried Fruit Compote
Serves 6

1 cup pitted dried prunes (cut in half)
1 cup dried apricots, cut into bite-sized pieces 
1 cup raisins
1 to 2 Tbsp. good quality local honey
¼ stick cinnamon
4-5 strips lemon peel
2 whole cloves
Enough cold water to cover the ingredients
Garnishes: ½ cup to 1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (pistachio nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans work well) – and/or – plain or vanilla yogurt and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon

Spices & Cheesecloth
Place the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth (cut into about a 6-inch square) and tie shut with kitchen twine. 
(*Note: If cooking this on the stovetop, the spices can be placed in a tea strainer with a screw-on lid. See directions below.)
Left - tea strainer; Right - spices wrapped in cheesecloth and tied
In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix the dried fruit along with the honey and tied spices/lemon peel. Add enough water to cover the ingredients.

Cook on high power for 4 to 5 minutes until the ingredients reach a boil. Remove and discard the spices. Stir compote.

Compote - cooked and ready to serve - or -refrigerate until serving time.
Serve hot or at room temperature - or - cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, place compote in individual bowls. Garnish with a dollop of plain or vanilla yogurt and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon and chopped nuts.

**Stovetop Directions:
Using a large enough pot to hold the ingredients, combine dried fruit, honey or 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar, and spices that are in a tea strainer or wrapped in cheesecloth. Add enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until fruit is tender. Remove and discard spices. Serve hot or at room temperature -or- cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish as mentioned above, if desired.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Pumpkin-Yogurt Fluff - and - other Pumpkin recipes re-visited!

It’s October and pumpkin decorations are everywhere. I love a good Jack-o'-Lantern, but, personally, I’d rather eat pumpkin than decorate with it.
That’s why this post will revisit some of The Armenian Kitchen’s pumpkin recipes as well as share a new favorite dessert, Pumpkin-Yogurt Fluff. It's easy to prepare, tasty and is sure to please. Think of this as a lighter, fluffier version of pumpkin pie without the crust!  

Pumpkin-Yogurt Fluff topped with chopped pistachios and Maple Guild Syrup

Pumpkin - Yogurt Fluff
Serves 4 -5

Main Ingredients:
1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp. low-fat cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. good quality maple syrup (such as Maple Guild brand) plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
GARNISHES: Chopped nuts (pecans or pistachios work well) -or- top with crumbled graham crackers for a modified Pumpkin Pie! 

Ingredients used for the recipe
Place the canned pumpkin, Greek yogurt and the rest of the main ingredients, in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, vigorously whip until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Pumpkin mixture whipped and ready to chill.
Taste the mixture and adjust flavorings/sweetness, if needed. Mix again to combine.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight - until ready to serve.

To serve: Place desired amount of pumpkin mixture in individual bowls. Drizzle with a bit more syrup, if you wish.
Garnish with chopped nuts or crushed graham crackers.

Here’s a list of previously-posted pumpkin recipes on The Armenian Kitchen(Click on the name to view the recipe.)

GHAPAMA - Photo credit: Pam Aghababian,