Getting back to my back-log of recipes from friends who have housed me in the last few months, I introduce you to Noah and his strawberry crisp. This is not boyfriend Noah, but, as he is sometimes known around here, “other Noah.” In fairness to him though, he would be more accurately known as “first Noah.” He certainly should not be known as “second Noah, third wheel,” as he once dubbed himself.
Other Noah, or first Noah, was a mainstay of my final years of college. We wrote together, protested together, and laughed a lot together. We made pie, and empanadas, and stir fries, and noodles. I was curled up in Noah’s double-bowl chair with a 100 degree fever when I read the book that ultimately sent me to graduate school. Noah was the person who put raspberries in banana bread. When I moved to New Hampshire, he painted my bedroom walls. He found what is to this day my favorite lunch place in New Haven. The day after graduation, at the end of a long day of moving, he showed up unasked at my door with my favorite sushi and mango ice tea and we sat in the back of my parents’ truck and ate it. I still get sad when I think about the fact that we no longer live in the same city.
By rights, Noah should have shown up here long ago and this should not be my first Noah-inspired recipe on the site. He wrote a cookbook after all. It’s full of wonderful (but definitely not gluten-free) recipes from a cooperative bakery in Argentina, where Noah moved after college.
But, he did move. Noah moved to Argentina and then Chicago, and now I only get to see him a few times a year, if I’m lucky. I’m still not sure I’ve forgiven him for this.
I did visit him last month, on his birthday no less. True to form, while I was there, we cooked and ate a lot. There were passion fruit curd stuffed cupcakes, pierogies, and delicious Mexican chicken soup. But, the thing I came home determined to make was this strawberry crisp.
When I make crisp usually there are almost equal layers of crisp and fruit. The crisp is weighty with almond meal, brown sugar, and butter. There is nothing wrong with those crisps, but Noah’s was the exact opposite. His crisp was a deep layer of strawberries, only lightly sweetened, and topped with a thin crackly layer of oatmeal. Since this was Chicago, I immediately started thinking of it as deep-dish strawberry crisp, even though it is as light as deep-dish pizza is heavy.
When strawberries finally went on sale here two-weeks ago, I bought a lot of them and set about making my version of the crisp. Inspired by Noah, but unwilling to let go some of my own crisp habits I threw in some pecans. Then, thinking about how to get the top as crispy as possible without gluten I decided to take a cue from this granola and toss the toping with egg whites. Everyone around my table had seconds so I determined it was a success. Sadly, Noah was not one of those people so the success felt incomplete.
Deep Dish Strawberry Crisp
For the fruit base:
– 2 lbs strawberries, cleaned, cored, and roughly sliced
– Juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon tapioca
For the crisp topping:
– 1 1/2 cup oats
– 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled
– 2 egg whites
* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
* Toss together all the ingredients for the fruit base in an eight inch square pan.
* Bake for 20 minutes until the strawberries have begun to bake down and a syrup is starting to form around them.
* Meanwhile, toss dry crisp topping ingredients together and then stir melted butter and egg whites into dry ingredients.
* Remove strawberries from oven and arrange crisp topping in a thin layer over the strawberries.
* Bake for another 15-20 minutes until topping has become quite crisp and browned slightly.
* Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.