I fully support, endorse and celebrate the spirit with which Nancy Silverton wrote her newest book, A Twist of the Wrist. For a chef as particular as Silverton (and believe me, having made her sourdough bread from scratch, that woman loves detail) it’s refreshing to see her let down her hair, so to speak, with a book that grants the reader permission to skip the farmer’s market in lieu of canned, jarred and boxed foods. For any other chef, it’d be an act of heresy; for Nancy Silverton–of the La Brea Bakery & Pizzeria Mozza, both groundbreaking California institutions–it’s an act of humility. The book seems to say, “Look, home cook, I know you’re busy; so here’s a way to make delicious, restaurant-quality food at home for much less money in much less time.” What could be wrong with that?
I just wish I’d been having better luck with the book. My first time around, through no fault of Silverton’s, I burnt my foot. This second time around, I tried Ruth Reichl’s contribution to the book (she has guest contributors offer quick simple recipes): a blueberry pie made with frozen pie crust, frozen blueberries, and a crumb topping.
My issue is with the crumb topping. Reichl has you melt butter, add sugar, then flour and cinnamon. It was a gloppy sugary mess–nothing like the crumbly, almost powdery crumb toppings I’m used too–and after it baked, it congealed into a sugary mass. Were the proportions wrong? Or did I mess it up without realizing it? I’m not sure, but here’s what I do know: Craig didn’t seem to mind. He dubbed this “blueberry disaster” (my term for it) “delicious.”
Here’s my advice to you, though, reader. Follow the spirit of the recipe but substitute the crumb topping (whose recipe I won’t share here) with any other crumb topping you can find. Do as follows: buy a frozen pie crust, buy 3 cups worth of frozen blueberries, dump them into the frozen pie crust, preheat the oven to 350, and then pat on your favorite crumb topping. Bake until the crumb topping is golden brown and then eat and enjoy. A quicker, easier dessert I can’t imagine–it’s a disaster worth doing again.