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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pineapple, Kumquat and Ginger Crisp with Coconut Topping

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.

21 Responses to “Pineapple, Kumquat and Ginger Crisp with Coconut Topping”

  1. Phoo-D — 4/7/09 @ 12:34 pm

    I laughed out loud when I read your confession! We share the same problem. I’ve been forcing myself to bake in a “face your fears” kind of way, but each time it is a challenge. Dough, bread, cakes, they scare me as much as the thought of having children turn into teenagers some day!

  2. Hélène — 4/7/09 @ 1:08 pm

    I appreciate that you are sharing this with us. I’m sure there are tons of people out there that are afraid of baking. Invite Deb or Elise over and do a baking party.

  3. Toni — 4/7/09 @ 1:18 pm

    I so get the fear of baking thing. I used to have that, too. Who wants to measure? Who wants such exactitude? Cooking is more fun, ’cause you can throw in what feels right.

    Even though I don’t usually eat desserts (I’m not usually hungry AFTER eating a meal!), I have succumbed to sweet temptations more than once. I found an easy breezy apple tart tatin that’s almost mindless. Well, maybe take out the “almost”! Here’s a permalink to my blog post on it: http://dailybreadjournal.blogspot.com/2008/06/eat-dessert-first.html.

  4. cakebrain — 4/7/09 @ 3:45 pm

    Your fear of baking is understandable. I just get over my fears by doing it. My love of cake and sweets overrides my fear of baking. Just do it! and the results…well, “it’ll do”…even a flop is usually edible. You can’t go wrong if you put a lot of sugar or chocolate in it. I still think you should try making the Hot & Steamy Chocolate Cake… http://cakeonthebrain.blogspot.com/2009/02/hot-steamy-chocolate-cake.html
    ’cause it’s so apt for you! That, and it calls for steaming, a highly Asian mode cooking that you’re familiar with. So it’ll transition you into putting stuff into the oven. I have a feeling your cooking skills are transferable to baking. Your intuition about food is bang on! If you can follow instructions and put together IKEA furniture, you can bake!
    i know you can, i know you can…

  5. Kate — 4/7/09 @ 3:53 pm

    Here is the secret about baking — if you let go the idea of perfection (and you do when you’re cooking, but silly people have drummed into your head this crazy idea of BAKING IS SO PRECISE THERE IS NO ROOM FOR ERROR) and get a few techniques under your belt, baking is easy and there is room for both error and experimentation. I never use cake flour, I never sift my flour, and I use antique and probably imprecise measuring scoops for my dry ingredients. And yet my desserts are mostly very good, and I am seen as quite an accomplished baker (though I daren’t put myself in the ranks of David Lebovitz or Deb, I did make my own wedding cake and one for a friend and both got rave reviews).

    I can’t recommend enough Shirley Corriher’s cookbooks — Cookwise and Bakewise — she talks a lot about how different ingredients work in baking, so you know how your brand of flour is going to affect the outcome.

    And this is seriously a foolproof recipe, and it’s seriously divine, and a SNAP to make.

  6. Veron — 4/7/09 @ 4:13 pm

    Aw…I think you’ll do just fine with baking. And omg! you met Kerry Vincent…I just came to know about her after I started making wedding cupcakes and she is awesome. I have her book and she just gives so much attention to detail.

  7. Awww! If a self-confessed doughaphobe like me can be successful at baking, anyone can! I’ve got lots of easy desserts on my site, and many don’t even have to be baked! Call me next time you want to bake something and my rolling pin and I will be over to help. :)

  8. Big Boys Oven — 4/7/09 @ 7:21 pm

    Jaden, do drop me and email if you need help in your baking.
    This recipe is interesting, taste very asian as you have two main ingredients, coconut and kumquat. this is fantastic!

  9. You are too funny. I love to bake and I’m not precise or exact most of the time! Let go and get in that Steamy Kitchen and bake something. Here’s an easy and total delicious recipe that anyone can make


    Rustic Apple Pan Tart with Maple Glaze

    Sounds fancy? Something you would serve to special guests?? It’s so easy to make it’s pitiful!

    I can also solve your dessert problem this way….No Bake Desserts!
    All the sweetness and sugar without even turning on your oven. One of my most requested desserts:


    Tropical Angel Food Delight. Pineapple, coconut and strawberries and softened ice cream! Hello! Perfect dessert!

    Who knows, maybe the next cookbook will be a Steamy Kitchen Desserts Only!! LOL

  10. Nags — 4/7/09 @ 9:34 pm

    I have a super simple kids dessert in my blog. Its no bake and super easy and very pretty :

  11. Nags — 4/7/09 @ 9:35 pm

    Ok, dont know where my link went. So posting again: http://www.cookingandme.com/2008/01/marie-biscuit-chocolate-logs.html

  12. Rycrafty — 4/7/09 @ 10:26 pm

    I love to bake, and I’m not precise at all! Like another commenter, I never sift my flour, I never level off the tops of the measuring cups, I guess at what pan to use if I don’t have the right size. It all works out well!

    I’ve even forgotten the baking soda until the pan went into the oven! I just pulled it out, mixed in the baking soda, and it was fine!

    I love this cake:

    It used up so many apples (a plus!) and was lovely and moist.

  13. Jill — 4/7/09 @ 11:04 pm

    wow, nice to know that i’m not alone in the anti-baking arena! i am soooooooo not a baker because of the whole measuring/following the recipe thing. however… i seem to be able to pull this dessert off everytime even though i’ve been know to add a lot more pepper and ginger than it calls for and my crust is more butter than ginger cookie. oh and i kind of guess on the amount of chocolate. because can you really add too much chocolate to anything? anyway, try this, it is amazing! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Dark-Chocolate-Tart-with-Gingersnap-Crust-240695

  14. Asianmommy — 4/8/09 @ 1:02 am

    I share your fear of baking (for the moment). When we moved to our new house, I quickly found out that the oven burned every cookie and muffin I ever tried to make. When I tried banana bread, the bottom burned even while the middle of it was still a liquid. Gross! Something is not quite right. I ended up having to order a new oven–can’t wait until it arrives!

  15. Lynne — 4/8/09 @ 7:48 am

    Oh, Jaden – I’m sure you can bake! I’m definitely making the pineapple kumquat, ginger dessert – sounds fab! I love to bake! My recent passion is cold desserts – frozen or chilled – does that count? This one I’ve made several times and it’s always a winner! Super easy and gorgeous – Frozen Mango Raspberry Terrine. Enjoy! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/108190

  16. Diana — 4/8/09 @ 11:37 am

    I so don’t like measuring either! I joined The Daring Bakers to help get over my fear and it’s made a difference. Here’s a pie recipe and a bar recipe that I’ve created that use the same crust. I just make a double recipe of the crust dough and refrigerate half until I’m ready to make the other one. You HAVE to try the Dark Chocolate Haupia Pie, coconut, chocolate, macadamia nuts, can’t go wrong!


  17. Alta — 4/8/09 @ 12:59 pm

    I share your fear! I made it a New Years resolution (which sounds like it doesn’t carry a lot of weight, but for cooking, I think it does) to learn to bake a few things. It’s just hard…you spend all day working on something like…bread…only to have it turn out wrong? I’m a bit more “taste-as-you-go” and want immediate feedback on how I’m doing! Baking requires more waiting and patience. Good for you, and this crisp sounds absolutely delicious! I’ll have to locate some kumquats and get this baby rolling!

  18. eliza — 4/8/09 @ 7:15 pm

    i still think your 1st confession, i.e. the weight thing, sounded more plausible than your 2nd one! LOL…. it seems cooking gives us more freedom, to add & to substract, without making the end result falls flat :)

  19. I’m not very good at following recipes to a tee. I can if I really pay attention but one time when I was making heart shaped sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day – I made some pretty big mistakes like putting too much baking soda and forgetting to put sugar. :p What kind of a sugar cookie has no sugar in it?

    Anyway I managed to save the day by painting one side with red frosting and painting the other side with melted sweet chocolate. Some American kids at school (in the Philippines) who loved Pop Tarts loved my cookies and kept coming back for more because they said they tasted like…Pop tarts!

    This is why I call myself a baking noob…

    EXACTLY! that sounds just like me ~jaden

  20. keropokman — 4/9/09 @ 1:27 am

    Get your little boy to do the measurements. Then you do the baking :-)

    AHA! good idea. Though their idea of measuring: one chocolate chip for recipe, 5 for my tummy! ~jaden

  21. Carol Peterman — 4/9/09 @ 1:30 am

    If I could survive on baking alone I would be a happy gal. I think I like baking because of the fussy precision. I also like chocolate work which is even fussier. Crisps are a perfect no-fail dessert, excellent choice and the pineapple, kumquat, ginger sounds fantastic! Here is my brownie recipe and I can’t imagine it giving you any trouble.