Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: update – a visit to NYC

If you live in New York City, as I do, you put up with a number of negatives, but these are more than offset by a lot of positives…otherwise why would we choose to live here? When I want to crawl into a hole and hide from subway riders who think a subway car is the appropriate place to clip their nails or apply their make-up (sure, I’d love to have some of your face powder all over me…NOT) or I want to run from the garbage bags outside Starbucks in the summer months (milk cartons plus 95 degree temperature does not remind one of roses), I remind myself that for every challenging incident, there are numerous world class museums, restaurants, shops, and parks, and they in turn, drawn visits from friends who live far away.

A recent visit from Jeni Britton Bauer, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream fame, is another reminder of what a draw New York City can be.  The timing could not have better, as I had blogged about Jeni’s only a week before, not having any idea that Jeni herself, along with her ice cream, would soon be visiting my home town. [See previous post, dated September 2, 2012.]

Last week, Jeni and some of her employees, drove an ice cream truck from Ohio to New York City to promote her ice cream.  Over a one week period, her adorable truck was parked outside various specialty food stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn who carry the Jeni’s Splendid brand, and ice cream (or frozen yogurt) was offered at no charge.  I was fortunate to be able to use my lunch break one day to take a short subway ride to one of those locales, and was soon meeting Jeni (delightful), and eating Lemon Blueberry Frozen Yogurt (delicious).   A very productive lunch break indeed.

I offer you photos from that day:

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Splendid Customer Service

My Dad had a milestone birthday recently, and in addition to getting him some gifts that I knew he wanted, I wanted to get him something that would truly be unexpected.  On that note, I ordered seven pints of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and arranged for them to shipped to him in time for the big day.

I decided to post about Jeni’s initially to rave about their excellent customer service, but other reasons to post include:

  1. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream offers some of the most luscious ice cream I have ever tasted.
  2. Many of us will want to buy a gift at least once in our life for that person who says they do not need anything.
  3. Even if you never order directly from Jeni’s, you should not miss out on the experience of trying their ice cream.  Luckily for us, Jeni’s came out with a cookbook in 2011 and you can try making their ice cream at home.  [I have the cookbook and started with their signature Salty Caramel.]
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is a Columbus, Ohio based company, and is the brainchild of founder Jeni Britton Bauer, who uses grass-fed milk and cream and other locally sourced ingredients as much as possible.  The first Jeni’s opened ten years ago and now there are nine locations in Ohio and two in Nashville, Tennessee.  In NYC, where I live, there are even a number of upmarket specialty food stores that carry some of Jeni’s flavors.

Having made the ice cream at home last year, and being very impressed by the unique method which allows for a a very creamy textured product, not to mention delicious flavor combinations, I was thrilled when I discovered this summer that Jeni’s has a mail order option.

I called Jeni’s customer service number a few weeks before my Dad’s birthday and spoke with the most delightful woman.  She was friendly and very helpful in guiding me in my flavor selection.  We ended up deciding on a variety that included signature ice cream flavors, a perennial flavor, and a sorbet.  I was able to select the exact date that I wanted the order to be delivered on.  Added bonus: the shipment would be sent with dry ice and by choosing UPS Ground, they could guarantee two day delivery for the zip code I provided, all for shipping fees that were less than $13.  The ice cream itself, at $12 per pint, is not inexpensive, but the shipping fees certainly were.  For those of you who might be thinking that $12 per pint is steep, having made the ice cream myself, and also using top quality ingredients, and knowing the steps involved to get it just right, the price does not seem unreasonable.  [Note: if you need overnight delivery, shipping costs will naturally be higher than with Ground.}

My Dad’s package arrived as promised, in a well-packed box, that included an attractive ice cream-themed watercolor print.  The dry ice kept the ice cream very hard…even after two days on the road.  In fact, your home freezer is not as cold as the dry ice.  Luckily for me, I went to visit my Dad, and was able to try all seven flavors (well, someone had to do it, I was doing research after all): Ugandan Vanilla Bean, Salty Caramel, Black Coffee, Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk, Cherry Lambic Sorbet, Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry, and Juniper and Lemon Curd.  I loved them all, but if I had to choose my top three, it would be the Cherry Lambic, Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry, and the Juniper and Lemon Curd.  In addition to the creamy, smooth texture found for all flavors, the intense natural fruit flavors were especially exciting to my palate.

Here’s a photo of my sampler bowl:

When I ordered the pints, knowing I would be visiting my Dad, I also ordered some empty containers (and labels) for myself to be included in the same shipment, to use when I make ice cream at home.  Unfortunately, the containers did not make it into my Dad’s shipment.  When I contacted Jeni’s customer service, they were very apologetic.  I explained that I would need for the containers to be sent to my NYC address as I would no longer be visiting my Dad when the new shipment arrived.  That was not a problem and a few days later I received my shipment.

To sum it up, if you ever need to give a special gift to someone, or if that special person is yourself, know that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is an option…a splendid one indeed.


Hummus made with fresh chickpeas (or not)

I’m including two simple recipes for hummus in this post, but quite frankly, I really just want to share with you some photos of fresh chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or ceci beans and tell you the story of how I accidentally discovered them.

As most of you are likely to be familiar with canned or dry chickpeas, but less likely to have ever come across fresh ones,  I thought you might enjoy seeing this rather cute legume in its “natural state”.

Last year I was reading a recipe called Stupendous Hummus in Melissa Clark’s cookbook “Cook This Now” and she was advocating the use of “freshly cooked chickpeas instead of canned”.   Someone who was thinking properly might have looked at the list of ingredients, and noticed that dried chickpeas were called for, but I just glanced at the rest of the recipe and continued to look through the remainder of the cookbook.

A few days later, I entered a fruit and vegetable market in Chelsea Market in New York City, and the first thing I noticed were some very pretty light green pods and a sign that said “Chickpeas”.   Naturally, I immediately thought of the recipe I had seen a few days prior and could not believe my eyes that I had come across the previously-never-seen-before fresh legume.  I bought some and that night made hummus loosely based on Ms. Clark’s recipe which, in addition to chickpeas, includes lemon juice, salt, cumin, black pepper, garlic, cayenne, tahini, and extra virgin olive oil.  The beautiful green color of the fresh chickpeas was retained in the final product, and the texture was smoother and rather mousse-like compared to hummus I have had before.

More recently, I was in a speciality Italian foods market in Greenwich Village and perched amongst the cheeses and cured meats, was a platter of fresh chickpeas.  Of course, I had to purchase them again.  When I got home, I whipped up a batch of hummus.  I did not refer to any specific recipe, but kept it simple and in addition to the chickpeas, added lemon juice, tahini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt.  The fresh chickpeas yielded me an amount slightly less than the equivalent of a 15 oz can (425 grams) and I ended up with with 1-1/3 cups of hummus.  As most of you will not be able to find fresh chickpeas, I’ve made some minor adjustments in my Quick and Easy Hummus recipe below.  Please note that the aside from the chickpeas, the amounts for the other ingredients are a starting point; you may wish to add more of some of the other ingredients depending upon your taste.

Hummus 1: Quick and Easy Hummus (Yield 1-1/2 cups, 300 ml – feel free to double the recipe)

  • 1-1/2 cups chickpeas (15 oz can, 425 grams), drained***
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1-1/2 lemons
  • 2 TBL tahini
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Large pinch of salt
In the bowl of a food processor, add the chickpeas and the garlic cloves and process until a smooth paste.  Add the remaining ingredients – lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and salt – and process until well-blended.  Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly.  For example, you may wish to add more lemon juice and/or more tahini and/or more olive oil and/or more salt.  There is no right or wrong way…let your taste buds be your guide.

***If you prefer to use dried chickpeas, one cup of dried chickpeas will yield 3 cups of cooked chickpeas, or the equivalent of two 15 oz cans.

Hummus 2: based on Melissa Clark’s Stupendous Hummus (Yield 3-1/2 cups, 830 ml)

  • Juice of 1 lemon (plus more for serving)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Pinch cayenne (plus more for serving)
  • 1/3 cup (2-3/4 fluid oz, 80 ml) tahini
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz, 120 ml) cold water
  • 3 cups (Two 15 oz cans, 850 grams) cooked chickpeas (Melissa prefers using dried chickpeas over canned; 1 cup dried will yield 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz, 120 ml) extra virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
  • Sea salt
In the bowl of a food processor, add the lemon juice, salt, cumin, black pepper garlic, and cayenne.  Pulse until just blended and add the tahini and water.  Pulse until smooth and then add the chickpeas and process until smooth and creamy.  While the motor is running, pour the olive oil slowly and process until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly if you like.  When ready to serve, transfer to a plate and top with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh lemon juice, a dash of cayenne, and a little sea salt.



Avocado Oil, Lime, and Almond Cake (Dairy-free)

Apologies for the length of time since my last post, but I promise this recipe will not disappoint.   A number of you might be thinking “what, avocado OIL?”…yes, avocado oil. I have eyed it in the grocery store for awhile now, and I finally got around to purchasing a bottle.  The brand I bought is La Tourangelle, a California producer of specialty oils, including various nut and seed oils.

I’ve wanted to bake with avocado oil as it is heart-healthy and I was curious as to what I could come up with.  In addition to being high in monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce cholesterol levels, avocados contain polyunsaturated fats, vitamins C, E, K, and various B vitamins (including B-6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin), as well potassium, magnesium, and lutein, an antioxidant which is good for your eyes and skin.  Avocados are one of the few fruits that contains healthy fats. In case you’re curious, grapeseed oil and olive oil are other oils derived from fruits that contain healthy fats.

That’s enough science…let’s get to the cake.

When I think about avocados, limes also come to mind.  The creamy, sweet richness of the avocado pairs very well with the tartness of the lime. (I guess my mind might also go to chips, salsa, and a margarita, but that’s a recipe perhaps for another time!).  I knew I wanted to incorporate heart-healthy almonds in this recipe as well, and have done so by incorporating almond meal into the batter as well as decorating the top of the finished cake with sliced almonds.   The result is a super moist cake…not too sweet, not too tart.

I must disclose that when I first came up with this idea, I searched through my cookbooks and the internet to see what else was out there.  Could not find anything in any of my cookbooks and only one recipe on the internet in a blog called alice in bakingland (cute) provided by a self-proclaimed “stay-at-home mum” from New Zealand who was a contestant on a reality show called “Chelsea New Zealand Hottest Home Baker”, and who incorporates lime-infused avocado oil into her lovely looking bundt cake.

And finally, onto the recipe…

Avocado Oil, Lime, and Almond Cake (Dairy-free)(serves 8-10)


  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (2-7/8 oz, 81 grams) (If you prefer to use regular pastry flour or even all-purpose flour, that is fine.)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup blanched almond meal (3 oz, 84 grams)
  • 1 cup superfine (caster) sugar (6-3/4 oz, 190 grams) (If you do not have this, put granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs (separated)***
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (4 fluid oz, 120 ml)
  • Zest of two medium limes
  • Juice of two medium limes [the limes I used yielded 3-1/2 TBL; if your limes are larger or yield more juice, do not use more than 1/4 cup (2 fluid oz, 59 ml)]
Topping (glaze and almonds):
  • Juice of half medium lime (keep the other half; you made need it)
  • 5 TBL confectioner’s (powdered) sugar  (have a little extra on hand)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (1 oz, 28 grams)
Preheat oven to 325°F (162°C, Gas Mark 3).  Grease a 8″ or 9″ (22 cm or 23 cm ) springform pan and set aside.  If you are keeping the recipe dairy-free, do not use butter. I used spray canola oil, but you can use regular canola oil, sunflower, or grape seed oil, for example.

Prepare the cake:

Dry ingredients: Sift the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Just to give you an idea, the bowl I use is 3 quarts (a little less than 3 liters.  Sift the almond meal into the same bowl (sifting helps get rid of any clumps in the meal). Mix the flour mixture and almond meal together with a whisk or fork.  Set aside.

Wet ingredients – part 1
: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg yolks and sugar and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes.  If you do not have a stand mixer, you may use an electric hand mixer.  Add the vanilla and lime juice and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes until well-incorporated.  Slowly add the avocado oil, beating well.  This step should take 2-3 minutes.  Lastly, add the lime zest and mix for a few seconds until the zest is blended throughout.

Wet ingredients – part 2
: If you are using a stand mixer and have only one bowl (as I do), transfer the egg yolk/sugar/avocado oil/lime mixture into another bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl to the stand mixture and dry well.  If you are using a hand mixer, you may leave the mixture in the bowl you have been using, but you’ll need to get another medium-large bowl for the egg whites.  Add the egg whites to the new bowl (make sure it is dry), and whip using the whisk attachment, starting on low-medium speed and working up to medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Beat a few more seconds to make the peaks a bit firmer than soft.

Putting it all together
: using a rubber or silicone spatula, fold the egg yolk mixture into the dry ingredients until none of the dry mixture remains dry.  Fold in 1/3rd of the egg whites, being careful not to over mix.  Add another third of the egg whites and fold in. Finish by folding in the last third.  At this point, no ribbons or spots of egg whites should show.

Baking the cake and preparing the sliced almonds
: Add the cake batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until the edges of the cake are golden brown, some areas of the top of the cake are lightly golden brown, and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.  Put the pan on on a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.   Topping: If your oven stays hot for awhile (even when turned off), turn off the oven and place the sliced almonds for the top of the cake in a cast iron pan or on a cookie sheet or other baking pan and let toast for 10 minutes in the hot oven until just barely toasted, but not browned.  If you decide to leave the oven on, you’ll only need about 5 minutes.  Watch them carefully for if the oven is still on, they can easily go from toasted to burnt very quickly.

Using an offset spatula, or another tool that is thin and flat and does not have jagged edges, go around the outside of the cake and make sure none of the cake is sticking to the edge of the pan. Remove the outer ring from the springform pan base and let the cake continue to cool on the wire rack.

Glaze:  Put the lime juice from half a lime in a small bowl.  Over the bowl of lime juice, using a mesh sieve, sift 2 TBLs of confectioner’s sugar through the sieve to make sure there are no lumps of sugar (you might need to use the back of a spoon to help press it through the sieve).  Stir the sugar into the juice.  You want a pourable, green and slightly murky glaze.  Taste it.  if it taste too tart, add more sugar.  if it tastes too sweet or is too thick, just add more lime juice.  I ended up using 4 TBL and a little extra lime juice.  When the glaze is to your liking, spoon it slowly over the cooled cake.  Spread the glaze over the cake using the back of a tablespoon or pastry brush. With your hands, place the toasted almonds over the cake and gently the almonds onto the glaze (which acts as a glue).  Lastly, using the sieve, dust the top of the cake with another tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar.

Pretty, delicious, sweet but not too sweet, tart, but too tart, moist, a nice crumb.  For my taste buds, the combination of avocado oil and lime and the moistness of the cake, reminded me of meyer lemon bars, which is a very good thing indeed.

This cake will keep for at least several days.  I suggest refrigerating it if not eating it right away, but letting it get to room temperature before serving.  If you do this, you might want to sift some additional confectioner’s sugar over the cake just before serving as some of it will have been absorbed into the cake.  Freezes well.

***Separating eggs: always a good idea to have three small bowls on hand: one for the white from the first egg, one for the yolks, and one for the whites for the remaining eggs.   If you only use two bowls, you run the risk of contaminating all of your egg whites with egg yolk should any one of your eggs not separate properly.  Here’s the method: separate the first egg, putting the yolk in one bowl and the white in another bowl.  Be careful not to get any yolk in the white or your egg whites will not whip up properly.   IF there is any yolk in the white, either remove the particles of yolk completely, or if you cannot, toss the egg white and start again with a new egg (remembering you do not need the extra yolk). , For the second egg, put the white in the third not-yet-used bowl, and the yolk in the bowl that already has a yolk in it.  IF there is any yolk in the second bowl of egg whites, as for the first egg, either remove the particles of yolk or toss the egg white and try again with a new egg. If you are sure that your second egg white is yolk-free, add this egg white to the first egg white bowl. Repeat with the third egg, using the now empty third bowl to receive the white.


Eggplant with fresh mint

I’m still in the mindset of “it’s too hot to turn on the oven, but I want to eat something delicious”, so once again inspired by my farmer’s market finds, I offer you this simple, quick, but flavorful dish.  Aside from a little oil for the pan, just two ingredients: eggplant and mint.  That’s it.

Eggplant: I was lucky enough to find some beautiful, baby eggplant, but I realize it is not common to find them.  I suggest you use the smallest, skinniest eggplant you can find – the seeds will be smaller and the flesh will be far less bitter than the large globe eggplant most commonly  found.  My preference is Japanese eggplant, but Chinese eggplant are a good option as well.

Mint: please do not make this dish unless you can find fresh mint….dried mint will not do it justice.

Quantities: it depends upon the number of people you will be serving.  I used one pound (450 grams) of eggplant and about 10 mint leaves, and ended up with 2 cups (1 pint, 475 ml) of the cooked dish, good enough for a side dish for 2-3 people.  If you are cooking for more people, please adjustment amounts accordingly…using the amount of mint you want to meet your taste preferences.

  • Slice the eggplant into 1/8″-1/4″ (.32 – .64 cm) rounds and set aside.
  • Grease a cast iron griddle pan or skillet with a thin layer of spray oil or bottled oil (I used canola for it can handle high heat and has a neutral flavor), and place over medium heat.  if you do not have a cast iron griddle pan or skillet, use a heavy-weight pan with a large surface area.  Note: depending upon the amount of eggplant you are using, you might need to cook the eggplant in more two (or more) batches.
  • Place each slice of eggplant flat on the heated pan/skillet.
  • While the eggplant is cooking, separate the mint leaves from the stems and discard the stems.  Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside.
  • When the underside of each slice is golden brown, using tongs, flip each slice over to cook the other side.  Depending upon the thickness of your slices and how hot your pan is, you’ll probably need about 5 minutes per side, but best to check after 3 minutes.  If your pan gets too hot, turn it down a little. (Do not worry if some pieces are dark brown…will give character and texture to the dish.)
  • When both sides are golden brown, remove the eggplant and put in a glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the mint leaves and toss with a spoon.  Best if served right away, but can be eaten later as well.  If you wish, season with black pepper.  What you’ll notice is that the natural sweetness of the eggplant comes out due to the slight caramelization that takes place in the cooking process.


Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

When it’s super hot out, as it has been recently, my desire to cook does not wane, but the thought of having my oven on is not exactly at the top of my list of must-do’s.  It’s days like these when I want to create something that is simple to prepare and no oven is required.

At my local farmer’s market, I recently came upon the most gorgeous strawberries and rhubarb and was inspired to make some compote.  If you’ve never had compote, it’s basically stewed fruit, left either whole or puréed.   I prefer compote that does not have large pieces in it for it can then be used as a sauce for ice cream, or swirled into yogurt, or used in place of jam.

You’ll notice that I only used one tablespoon of sugar in this recipe as the strawberries I found were already very sweet.  If the strawberries you buy are not very sweet, and/or you prefer your compote to be sweeter, feel free to add more sugar, but I suggest doing so only a little at a time, and taste after each addition.


Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (makes 2 cups, 500 ml)

  • 1 quart strawberries  (4 cups, 1 liter)
  • 2/3 lb rhubarb (10 oz, 300 g)
  • 1 TBL granulated sugar, or more to taste

Prepare the fruit: Trim the ends of the rhubarb and cut the remaining stalks into 1/2″-3/4″ (1.25 cm – 1.9 cm) pieces.  Remove the stems from the strawberries.  If the berries are large, cut them in half, otherwise leave them whole.

Add the rhubarb to a small sauce pan set over low-medium heat and add enough water so that the water level is just below the top of the fruit.

Cook until the rhubarb starts to breakdown, stirring occassionally, then add the strawberries.

Continue to cook until the strawberries have broken down, and the mixture looks like a purée.  Add sugar to taste, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook the compote until it reaches the thickness you desire.

The time will depend upon the water content of the fruit and how high you have your burner on.  For me, the entire cooking process took 50 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the hot burner and let the compote cool.

When cool, transfer the compote to a 2 cup (500 ml) jar or divide into smaller jars and give some as gifts.   Refrigerate.  Best eaten within one week.  Delicious stirred into plain Greek yogurt or ricotta cheese, spooned over vanilla, strawberry, or peach ice cream, or spread onto a slice of a lightly toasted country bread.


Red, White, and Blue Fruit Crumble Bars

What with the Fourth of July just around the corner, and Bastille Day soon after, I was inspired to come up with a red, white, and blue sweet treat that takes advantage of summer’s bounty, is finger-food friendly and perfect for sharing with friends in a picnic or casual party setting.  I hunted through my massive collection of cookbooks and was inspired by a bar recipe from Karen Boyce’s Good to the Grain for it uses rye flour and rolled oats (and I’m a big fan of experimenting with different flours and grains).  Her recipe also uses jam, but I decided to freshen it up by using fresh fruit instead.  Additional tweaks include using light brown sugar vs. dark which I think go better with the summer fruits, reducing the sugar by eliminating the white sugar entirely as well as using fresh fruit vs jam, and reducing the salt.

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Crumble bars (makes 16-18 bars)


  • 1/2 cup rye flour  (2-1/4 oz, 66 grams)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (1-3/4 oz, 135 g)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (2-1/4 oz, 62 g)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz, 112 g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white or 1 egg (beaten)

Fruit Filling:

  • 2 cups blueberries (10-1/2 oz, 300 g)…I needed a little more than what was in the one pint container I had, but one pint would be fine)
  • 2 cups raspberries (9 oz, 255 g)…1-1/2,  half-pint containers)
  • 4-5 white peaches (1-1/4 lbs, 570 g – yielded 2-1/4 cups)

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (4-1/4 oz, 122 g)
  • 3 TBL light brown sugar (1-3/8 oz, 37 g)
  • 6 TBL rye flour (1/4 cup plus 2 TBL)(1-1/3 oz, 50 g)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1-1/4 oz, 32 g)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 TBL unsalted butter (3 oz, 85 g)

Preheat oven to 325°F (162°C, Gas Mark 3) and prepare a baking pan by rubbing the bottom and sides with butter. I used a 9″x11″ (23 cm x 28 cm) ceramic dish, but a 9″x9″ (23 cm x 23 cm) ceramic or metal pan would be fine; 9″x13″ (23 cm x 32.5 cm) would be too large.

Prepare the crust:

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat and let it cool.

  • In a large bowl, add the AP flour, rye flour, light brown sugar, and blend together well with a whisk or fork. If you prefer, you can sift all the ingredients together into the bowl.  Add the cooled, melted butter and vanilla and stir with a rubber or silicone spatula, or wooden spoon, until combined.

  • Using your hands, press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.  No need to worry about the sides.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes (you’ll be making the crumble topping during this time).

Prepare the crumble topping:
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat and let it cool.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the rolled oats, light brown sugar, rye flour, AP flour, and salt.  Pulse until the oats are partially ground (no more than 5 seconds).

  • Put the ground, dry ingredients into a large bowl and add the melted butter.  Blend with your hands and squeeze the topping so that small crumbles are created.  Refrigerate while you prepare the fruit and bake the crust.
Bake the crust:
  • Remove the pan from the freezer and place in the preheated oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  • Increase oven temperature to 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4).
Prepare the fruit layer:
  • Wash the blueberries and strain to dry and set aside in a bowl.  Wash the raspberries and and strain to dry and set aside in a separate bowl.
  • Remove the peach skin and halve each peach.  Remove the pits.  Dice into small pieces, 1/3′ – 1/2″, approximately the size of a blueberry or raspberry and set aside in a separate bowl.

Putting everything together:
  • About 5-10 minutes before you are ready to bake the bars, with a pastry brush, brush the crust with a thin layer of egg wash (egg whites only or beaten whole egg).  Also, remove the bowl with the topping from the refrigerator at this time.  Place pan with egg-washed crust in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes…just enough for the egg wash to dry out a little.  This will help create a barrier between the juices of the fruit and the crust…no one wants soggy crust.
  • Remove pan from oven and cover crust with fruit.  Select one of the three fruits  and scatter evenly over the crust, repeat with the second fruit, and repeat again with the third fruit.
  • Using your fingers, scatter the crumble topping evenly over the fruit, leaving bits of fruit visible.  We want to make sure we see the red, white, and blue fruits.
  • Bake the bars for 50-60 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden and the fruits are soft and slightly bubbling.  I suggest you remove the pan after 50 minutes and test the softness of the fruit with a cake tester or fork as the darkness of the rye in the topping may make it a little difficult to tell whether the topping is golden from baking or naturally so.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Cut into 16 bars if using a 9″ x 9″ pan or 18 if using a pan similar to the size I used (9″ x 11″).  May be refrigerated or left at room temperature.  If you are going to keep them for several days, I recommend refrigeration, but serve at room temperature.  Note: they are best served same day for that is when the crumble topping has the best texture.