Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recipe Revisit: Cherry Plum Crisp

Even though I haven’t been posting here as often as often as I would like, I still love to try out new things in the kitchen. The curse that accompanies this passion is that I don’t find myself repeating good recipes as often as they deserve.

Take this lovely Cherry Plum Crisp, for example. I don’t remember that I ever made it again after I posted it (many years ago!). Even though the dessert was delicious, I wasn’t perfectly satisfied with it. I remember the fruit being a little undercooked for my taste, so when I revisited the recipe recently, it was with the very simple idea of baking it a little longer. (And possibly getting some better photos. These aren’t great, but they’ll do.)

I also didn’t have any whole wheat pastry flour, which was in the topping mixture in the originally posted recipe. I’ve been making some version of this topping for quite a while, however, (usually in this apple-cranberry version) and have come to the conclusion that just about any kind of flour will work. I’ve used unbleached all-purpose, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, and oat flour with great success and very little difference in the results. The recipe below reflects that.

This dessert did come out a little better with the extended oven time. The chopped plums, which were small and sweet and juicy, broke down into an almost sauce-like consistency. The Bing cherries, which I pitted but left whole, stayed intact, plump bursts of fruitiness nestled in the stewy plums. I think you could use other stone fruits in this recipe, although you might want to adjust the sugar to taste.

I love this basic formula for fruit crisp topping. It’s nutty and sweet, and I like it best with some kind of whole grain flour. I really recommend almonds in the mix with stone fruits in the filling, although walnuts or pecans work well, too. I also love this fruit filling to topping ratio. The topping stays crunchy on top, but there’s a lovely zone in which it comes into contact with the filling. It’s a little gooey there, and the flavors of the bright summer fruits mixed with the oats and nuts and brown sugar…that’s what fruit crisp is all about! Add a dollop of vanilla ice cream, to a serving of warm Cherry Plum Crisp and summer is complete!

Cherry Plum Crisp

2 cups pitted dark sweet cherries
3 cups coarsely chopped pitted plums
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup flour, preferably whole wheat or oat flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the cherries and plums. Add the cornstarch, granulated sugar and almond extract. Gently stir together to combine well.

2. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray or grease it with oil or butter. Pour in the cherry and plum mixture. Set aside

3. In a medium-size bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and almonds and stir to combine. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir together until the dry ingredients are well-moistened by the butter.

3. Cover the fruit filling mixture with the topping mixture, spreading it evenly over the top. Bake at 350 F for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cover the dish with foil if the topping is over-browning.

4. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack 20 minutes or more. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Makes about 6 servings.

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