mixing two seasons of fruit for a cozy dessert ::::
Here in California, there are the still the tail ends of summer fruit crops wiggling their way into markets, fall produce not quite overpopulating the stands yet. The summer fruit hangs on, hoarfrost far from happening (if ever), ready to mix and mingle with the autumn fare. I had my share of stone fruit this summer: it overflowed into my kitchen, without complaint. What a dilemma I have, mixing these seasons. Do I highlight the fresh, summery fare with a fruit salad? Or do I cozy up with a warm, fruity dessert? To remind me of my Midwest upbringing, complete with crispy autumns, drifts of sugary snow in winter, I went with the cozy dessert. With many interruptions, I went with it. The kids were crazy and screechy. Eat worked all weekend. I couldn’t think of enough playdates, parks with slides and swings, and attend enough birthday parties at sensory-overloaded pizza places to the run the energy out of the kids. Eventually, when the they were in bed, Grub with a whistling, grumbly snore, Peach mouth wide open with a viscous string of drool from lip to pillow, I had to relax. Like a warm bed and a good book, this apple and plum crumble brought me down, down from the fun (but never relaxing) weekend with the kids.
Not wanting to eat a warm crumble at 10 PM and being too sleepy to enjoy it, I prepared everything the night before and baked it the next morning. I often do this with crumbles and crisps, cutting up the perfectly ripe fruit and mixing up the crumbly topping separately the night before. The result? Not too watery — often one of my crumble downfalls, that thorn, that bane of baking. Not too sweet — a perfect balance of tart, spice, and sugar. And the crumbly topping, better than icing on the cake. I often make extra crumble (Could I double this crumble? More buttery, sweet, crunchy topping, perfect with whatever fruit lies beneath? Yes! Always yes!) Although I never remember my mom making an apple and plum crumble combo, this is very reminiscent of her apple crisp recipe. The one difference in this recipe is partially cooking the fruit first, then adding the crumble, and finishing it together. (This process may have helped with that watery issue.)
But I haven’t even gotten to the best part. Like the glittering snow of my wintry childhoods, there is the golden glimmer of some finely diced crystallized ginger that makes its way here. It tastes much better than cold snow, and much, much better than yellow snow. The addition of the crystallized ginger in this crumble really brings a zip to it. Pair this with a cinnamon or hazelnut ice cream for dessert, and you’ll wish you had fresh plums and apples year round. This makes a pan for a crowded, boisterous breakfast crowd or a calm dessert, kids fed and pushing aside the cooked fruit for leftover Halloween candy.
On an unrelated note, I was invited to be featured (with 1,000 other recipes) on the Pasplore foodblog mosaic for Thanksgiving! There are a multitude of different blogs with great holiday recipes — check it out! (Click the icon below — they are working on a search function.)
- THE FILLING: 2 pounds apples (I used Granny Smith and another unnamed baking type picked fresh from a friend's tree)
- 4 large plums (623 grams or 1 pound 6 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons (40 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- THE CRUMBLE: 3 ounces (80 grams) walnuts, chopped (I used red walnuts -- not any different from the brown except in color. Color didn't make a difference in the end.)
- 1¾ cups (180 grams) flour
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams) butter, softened
- ¾ cup (140 grams) brown sugar
- 1 cup (70 grams) old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 11 x 8 x 2-inch (28 x 20 x 5-cm) baking pan with butter.
- Peel and thinly slice the apples. Thinly slice the plums. Place into bowl and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss together to release some juices.
- Keeping remaining juice in bowl, pour fruit into baking pan and bake for 10 minutes, until fruits often and juices run.* Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Place the flour, butter, and sugar into a bowl and mix solids into butter using your fingers, pinching the butter into small bits. Stir in oats.
- Sprinkle crumble mixture over the fruit and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream.