photo of Pineapple, Kumquat and Ginger Crisp with Coconut Topping courtesy of The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table

If you haven’t noticed, I don’t do a lot of dessert recipes on Steamy Kitchen. It’s not that I don’t eat sweets, my waistline and scale will be the first to tell you that I probably indulge in more than my share of desserts.

The reason is simple, yet complicated, but really really stupid and I know you’re gonna laugh at me so I think I’ll just shuddup right now. Well, I probably should’ve just stopped right after the first word in this post and now it’s too late and you’re all so curious now that I don’t think I could even get out of this post alive without the confession of my kitchen fear. And even if I did try to to tip-toe out of your browser right this very minute, some of you crazies would CAPS-LOCK the ESC.

Damn you.

Fine. I’ll confess.

(wow, this is harder than I imagined)

(don’t people usually confess fears in therapy or something)

(shit…here we go…shitshitshitshit)


In fact, when Andrew was 4 years old, I assigned him the role of baker in the family. I know it’s the silliest fear, some of my good friends like Deb, Elise, David who are fabulous at baking think I’m nuts. To get over my fear, I even told Kerry Vincent I was sending her a chocolate cake and chickened out at the last minute and ended up overnighting a mail-order one to her instead.

It’s the whole preciseness that I don’t like about baking. Exact measurements, exact timing and exact ingredients are required.

Okay, so I have issues with following directions and rules. Fine.

Isn’t there medication for that?

HEY- do you have a great easy dessert that I can try? Leave me love notes in the comments and link to your fav dessert.


And now that you know, I have a feeling that you, my dear friends, will not let me get away with this stupid-ass fear. Well, let’s call it an aversion. We’ll start today with a recipe that eases me into baking, because a crisp really isn’t that difficult and you can get away with “ish” measurements – I love macadamia nuts, so I like to add more, like 1/2 cup-ish.

This recipe for Pineapple, Kumquat and Ginger Crisp with Coconut Topping is just the absolute BESTEST dessert for a dinner party, especially for the summer.

The photo and recipe is from art-and-soul-baking The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table with Cindy Mushet.

If this book doesn’t inspire me to start baking, I think I’m hopeless. The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table is part of the Gourmet Cookbook Club its 440 pages is full of luscious, sweet color photos and recipes. Here’s Gourmet’s review of the book and Amazon has The Art and Soul of Baking on sale for $26.40, a great deal!

yum recipes from book include:

Yeast Breads and Rolls chapter: Rustic Olive and Thyme Bread, Herbed Fougasse
Layered Pastries chapter: Classic Croissants, Roasted Pear Strudel
Quick Breads: Feta, Roasted Pepper, and Basil Muffins; Buttermilk Scones with Dried Cherries and Orange
Pies, Turnovers and Dumplings: Great Pumpkin Pie, Herbed Chicken Pot Pie, Flaky Pie or Tart Dough
Tarts: Baci Tart with Frangelico Cream, Sour Linzer Cherry Tart
Fruit Desserts: Gingerbread Shortcakes with Caramelized Apples and Cider Sabayon; Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Amaretti Topping
Cookies: Tuiles, Classic Lemon Bars
Cakes: Classic Yellow Layer Cake, Retro Ringers with Silver Leaf
Custards, Bread Puddings, and Cheesecakes: Duo-tone Chocolate Pots de Crème, Stilton Cheesecake with Port-Braised Pears
Souffles, Meringues, and Pate a Choux: Meyer Lemon Souffles with Raspberry Sauce, Corn Souffle with Red Pepper Sauce


Giving away The Art and Soul of Baking Cookbook

And, if you are part of my email newsletter, you might just have a chance to win a free The Art and Soul of Baking cookbook! I got one right here to send over to you, direct from the publisher, Andrews McMeel. Plus, there’s still a few days left to win the mac-daddy $300 Zojirushi rice cooker that I’m also giving away.

To enter and sign up, there’s a form at the end of this post.

Contest over! Check out the winners here!


Pineapple, Kumquat and Ginger Crisp with Coconut Topping

Recipe from art-and-soul-baking The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table with Cindy Mushet.

Serves 6 to 8

If you haven’t considered tropical fruit in a crisp, you’ve got to try this combination of warm, sweet pineapple paired with tart kumquats and spicy ginger, all under a crunchy coconut topping. It’s perfect for winter and early spring, when tropical fruits and citrus are at their best and we crave big bold flavors. And the apricot variation that follows is luscious on a hot summer night. The brilliant yellow and orange filling looks like sunshine spilling onto the plate. Think wide, sandy beaches, a hammock between two palm trees, the soothing crash of the surf . . .

For the coconut topping:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (3½ ounces) gently packed sweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup (1½ ounces) chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
1/4 cup (2 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

For the filling:
1 medium (about 3-1/2 pounds) ripe pineapple
15 kumquats (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely chopped candied ginger
3 tablespoons (1-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Coconut or vanilla ice cream, for serving

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center.

2 Make the topping: Place the flour, coconut, nuts, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and blend on low speed for 10 or 15 seconds. Add the cold butter pieces and continue to blend on low for 3 to 4 minutes until the butter is cut into small pieces about the size of peas.

3 Make the filling: Use a chef’s knife to slice the ends off the pineapple so it stands solidly on your cutting board. Remove the skin by slicing just under it from top to bottom. Remove any remaining “eyes” with the tip of your knife. Use a pineapple slicer to core the pineapple and quarter it lengthwise. Alternatively, use the chef’s knife to slice the pineapple into quarters lengthwise and make an angled lengthwise cut along each quarter to remove the core. Cut each quarter lengthwise in half or thirds, depending on the size of the pineapple, then crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to the large bowl.

4 Rub off and discard the tiny, hard stem piece on the end of each kumquat (some may not have this). Use a paring knife to cut each fruit in half crosswise, then use the tip of your knife to pick out any seeds. Cut each half in two, then add to the bowl with the pineapple.

5 Chop the candied ginger, if necessary, into rice-size pieces (you can leave them larger if you like big chunks). Add the ginger, granulated sugar, and flour to the fruit and toss well with the spatula. Scrape into the baking dish and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the topping in an even layer over the fruit.

6 Bake and serve the crisp: You may want to place a baking sheet or a piece of foil under the crisp to catch any juices that may bubble over. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling and thickened. Serve warm or at room temperature with coconut or vanilla ice cream.
Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for 2 to 3 days. Reheat, covered loosely with foil, in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Pineapple, Apricot, and Ginger Crisp with Coconut Topping Omit the kumquats and add 4 medium apricots, each half sliced into 4 pieces. If fresh apricots are not available, use 1 cup (about 4 ounces) quartered dried apricots in their place. (Try to find California dried apricots, which offer a more complex flavor than Mediterranean apricots.)

Choosing a ripe, sweet pineapple can be tricky. The best way to tell the ripeness of a pineapple is to smell it—if it has a wonderfully heady pineapple smell, then it’s ready to use. Look for skin that is more yellow than green, and beware of soft spots or a slightly fermented odor, indicating that the fruit is past its prime. Many people like to test a pineapple by pulling out one of its green leaves at the top—the theory is that if the leaf separates easily from the fruit, then it’s ripe—but this is actually the least accurate way to test your fruit. The new Gold variety is reliably candy-sweet and ready to use, but is often smaller than other types of pineapples. You may need to purchase an extra one to yield enough fruit for this recipe.

The crumble topping can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months. Do not defrost before using; simply sprinkle over the top of the fruit and bake. Frozen topping will increase the baking time by only a couple of minutes.