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Spago's Pink Lady apple, fennel and rhubarb crumble with buttermilk sherbet

Spago's Pink Lady apple, fennel and rhubarb crumble with buttermilk sherbet
Stefano Paltera / For The Times

"IT'S all about the fruit," says Sherry Yard, executive pastry chef at Spago. "A crumble should maintain the integrity of the fruit." It should -- and it does. These days L.A.'s smartest pastry chefs are taking cobblers and crisps and ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes plus freezing time | Serves 8

Buttermilk sherbet

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Step 1In a heavy metal saucepan combine the sugar and water. Bring to boil.

Step 2Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, zest, buttermilk, lemon juice and pinch of salt.

Step 3Freeze according to the ice cream maker's instructions. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Almond crumble

  • 1/4 cup butter, ice-cold
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the butter into quarter-inch pieces.

Step 2Place the flour, almond meal or flour, powdered sugar and pinch of salt into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, paddle the dry ingredients until evenly distributed. Add the cold butter and watch closely while you blend for about 1 minute or until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Or stir the flour, almond meal or flour, sugar and salt together and cut in the butter with a pastry blender.

Step 3Remove the mixture from the mixer, scrape down. Spread the mixture evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and with an off-set metal spatula toss the crumble to distribute. Return to the oven and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, until the crumble is evenly golden brown.

Apple, fennel and rhubarb filling

  • 1 pound Pink Lady apples, peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 pound fennel
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, peeled and sliced into eighth-inch slices
  • 3/4 cup verjuice , divided
  • 2/3 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Step 1Grate the apple and fennel on a box grater on medium holes directly into large stainless steel mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice from the grated apple and fennel and pour the juice into a saucepan. Add the rhubarb to the bowl; toss the apple, fennel and rhubarb and set aside.

Step 2Add half the verjuice , the apple juice and half the sugar to the pan and bring to a boil. In a small cup, mix together the remaining sugar and the cornstarch. Add the remaining verjuice and stir to create a slurry. Add to the juice. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes until thickened and bubbling.

Step 3Pour the juice mixture over the fruit. Add the lemon juice, rose water and orange zest. Stir to combine.

Step 4Spoon the fruit mixture into 8-ounce ramekins. Top with 2 to 4 tablespoons of baked crumble.

Step 5Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes on the lower rack. If the crumble starts to darken, cover with foil. Serve with buttermilk sherbet.

Note: From Sherry Yard, executive pastry chef at Spago in Beverly Hills. Verjuice is available at specialty food stores.


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