Thursday, September 29, 2011
Recipe: Plum & Nectarine Crumble
That's okay, though. We had a similar issue here in June when the weather was all turned around and we were getting winter storms rather than summer sun. To combat the extended winter blues and encourage summertime to show its face, I started making ice cream and other warm weather food. I figured it might be nice to try the same approach now to see if fall will finally appear. After all, it is my all-time favorite season (as long as it remains relatively dry...).
On my last trip to the farmer's market, I scored the above crazy peach deal along with some lovely plums & nectarines from my favorite fruit stand. I wish I could remember the varietal of plum they were featuring that day, but let's just say they were a pure delight to sample. Reminiscent of an Italian prune plum, these had that same sweet, green-yellow flesh, but were much larger and had a deep purple-red skin. Amazing! The nectarines were equally gorgeous (and huge), so I got three of each to enjoy throughout the week.
Mixed Plum Tart with Almond Crust? No almonds that day, so I scratched that off the list. I thought I'd try my hand at making a buckle (part fruit crisp, part cobbler), but didn't have enough of the wet ingredients to make it work. What to do, what to do?
In the end, I decided to make a crumble with both the plums and the nectarines. Inspired by my many fruit crisps and some recipes I'd bookmarked from Orangette, this was just the happy medium I was seeking. The combination of the sweet plums and the slightly tart nectarines went perfectly with warm spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, and the crumble topping added a nice texture that was slightly more substantial than a crisp, but lighter than a cobbler.
ginger. Why? Because crystallized ginger isn't something I always have on hand (and I really need to fix that because it's not that hard to make) and because that is the Poor Girl way: if I don't have it at home, improvise or make something else.
The last change I made was to omit a good portion of the butter that was called for in the original recipe. I know, I know, butter & baking go hand-in-hand and butter tastes good. But A) I only had one stick of butter to work with and B) I just don't need all those extra calories. Besides, how else can one justify a nice dollop of homemade whipped cream atop one's crumble. Does it affect the flavor? I'm sure it must somehow, but in my world, all that extra butter is unnecessary. Even without it, this is still one of those rich, comforting desserts that makes you long for cooler days, fuzzy sweaters, and the sound of absolute silence as you contemplate the end of summer and fun autumn things to come.
I'm ready for you, fall. Bring it on.
Plum & Nectarine Crumble (makes 4-6 servings; total cost per serving $2.05)
For the fruit filling:
1-2 large plums, pitted and cut into 1" cubes
1-2 large nectarines, pitted and cut into 1" cubes
1 T flour
2 T brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground allspice
1/8 t cayenne pepper
For the crumble:
3/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 T butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and spices until well combined. Add the plums & nectarines and toss. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crumble. Add the melted butter and mix until slightly crumbly, then add the beaten egg. Mix thoroughly with your hands, working the mixture with your fingers until moist crumles form.
3. In a 9" pie dish (or a couple of ramekins), arrange the plums & nectarines in a single layer. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit until completely covered. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top has browned and the fruit juices begin to bubble through a bit. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Serve the crumble warm or at room temperature. Top with creme fraiche or homemade whipped cream, and enjoy!