Tag Archives: Plum

Plums (and a recipe for galette)

Plums Lynda Balslev tf

Posted by Lynda Balslev 

When life hands you plums…make a galette – or a crostata, depending on which side of the alps you sit. These free form tarts are refreshingly rustic. Their simple duty is to showcase seasonal fruit with little to-do. Big on flavor, short on fuss, with lots of crumbs welcome. My kind of dessert.

plum crostata tastefood

Plum Galette
Makes 1 (10-inch) galette

Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling:
2 tablespoons almond meal
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pounds plums, halved and pitted, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Whipped cream

Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend. Add half of the butter and process until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add the remaining butter and pulse until the pieces are pea-sized. Transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle in the water while stirring and fluffing with a fork. Stir and toss until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk the almond meal, 1 tablespoon sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll out the dough into a 14-inch round. Spread the almond meal over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the plums in a concentric pattern over the almond meal and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Fold the dough in over the outer edge of the plums. Brush the crust with the cream. Slide the galette with the parchment onto a baking sheet (or a pizza stone preheated in the oven). Bake until the crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

 

Pear, Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Walnut Streusel

Plum Pear Blueberry Crisp

~
Nothing says summer better than a fruit crisp which effortlessly absorbs the season’s bounty. Let the market dictate your choice of fruit. Then fold the ripest gems – winey plums, tender pears, juicy blueberries – into your well loved and slightly worn ceramic dishes. Sprinkle with a little sugar and spice and crown it with a nutty streusel topping.

Plums Market

For this fruit crisp, I let the St. Helena farmers’ market do the talking.

Pears market

and ended up with this:

Pear, Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Walnut Streusel
and Armagnac Whipped Cream 

Serves 8 to 10

Streusel:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped

Armagnac Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Armagnac

Filling:
1 pint blueberries, divided
6 ripe but not too soft pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou, cut in 1-inch chunks
6 plums, pitted, cut in 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Prepare the streusel:
In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the butter and walnuts. Add butter and work into the topping with your fingertips until the it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until use.

Prepare the whipped cream:
Beat cream in bowl of electric mixer with a wire whisk until thickened. Add sugar and armagnac. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until use. (May be made up to 4 hours in advance.)

Prepare the crumble:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Place half of the blueberries and the remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Pour into the baking dish. Scatter the remaining blueberries over the filling. Spoon the streusel evenly over the top. Bake in the oven until the crisp is bubbly, the pears are soft, and the topping is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

Plum Galette

plum crostata tastefood

When life hands you plums, make a galette

I am the queen of imperfect desserts. When I feel nonchalant I call them “rustic” but frankly they can look like a mess. The good news is that there is plenty of room for imperfect, rustic and messy desserts in our repertoire. In fact most cuisines tout their own version of bubbly, squidgy desserts cobbled together with crumpled and crinkled borders oozing juices like a ruptured pipe. They’re supposed to do that, and more importantly, they taste really good. And when one lacks a certain gene for patience (moi) these desserts are just right. They relieve all pressure to be exacting, methodical and, well, perfect. Once that pressure’s removed there is plenty of space to simply relax, bake and eat. Just be sure to pass the napkins.

Plums

Plum Galette

If you’re feeling Italian, you can call this a crostata. Serves 6.

Pastry:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut in pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Filling:
8 large plums, halved, pitted and sliced or 12 small plums, halved, pitted
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Pinch of salt

Prepare the pastry:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work into flour with your fingertips until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to bind the dough. Form the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Prepare the galette:
Heat oven to 375°F. Toss the plums in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface or on parchment paper into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle 1 tablepoon sugar in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Mound the plums over the sugar. Sprinkle the plums with 1 tablespoon sugar. Fold the border of the dough up and around the plums. The center of the galette will be exposed. Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Plum Compote with Rosemary
Blood Orange Crostata with Salted Caramel Sauce
Apricot Brulee with Greek Yogurt and Lemon

Plum Compote with Rosemary

Plum Compote with Rosemary

We can never have enough dessert, can we? I comfort myself with that thought today as I push aside a blog post I planned to finish, in place of this lovely fresh dessert. You see, yesterday our freezer went on strike, or just plain quit, or read the horoscope and discovered that Mercury is in retrograde which is usually accompanied by massive appliance malfunctions, and decided to hop on the bandwagon. Whatever the cause, we woke this morning to a freezer filled with completely thawed food. So, instead of the shiny bright post I planned to write today, I spent the morning cooking meat – lots of defrosted meat – in a simple ragoût that I will use at a later point for pasta sauce and stews. That’s provided we can get the freezer working again so I can freeze it. Otherwise, we will be enjoying some pretty hefty dinners in the next few nights. Which makes this dessert even more welcome in its simplicity and lightness.

In my last post, I featured apricots it their glorious simplicity, lightly adorned with  a sprinkle of sugar. In this post, I do something equally simple with plums. For the past month it’s been raining plums in our garden: Little mirabelles are everywhere, dangling from trees, cascading down our hill, and always underfoot, enjoyed by all of the inhabitants of this garden oasis in which we live. We’ve popped them in our mouths until our stomachs ache. We’ve bestowed brimming baskets as gifts, and we’ve graciously deferred the unreachable gems to our resident squirrels. In the kitchen I’ve made crostatas, tarts and crisps, and when I finally tired of so much plum-ness I scooped as many as I could fit into a stock pot and cooked them down into a compote. Twice. The second batch of compote was inspired by the fragrant rosemary bushes in our garden, which happen to lie beneath many of the plum trees. As I gathered my fruit, the aroma of rosemary wafted through the air, nudging me to pick it too. And, as growing things do, these two ingredients make a fine pair not just in the garden but also in the kitchen, which I discovered when I tossed  a handful of rosemary sprigs in the last batch of bubbling compote.

Plum Compote with Rosemary

This recipe may easily be adjusted in quantity and sweetness. Depending on the flavor and tartness of the plums, more sugar may be needed. Add additional sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, tasting frequently until you find the right balance. If desired, use less sugar for a savory accompaniment to grilled meats.

1 pound plums, pitted, halved if small, quartered if large
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large rosemary sprig

Combine plums, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until plums begin to break down and sugar dissolves. Add rosemary sprigs. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until plums are soft and the compote is thick, stirring occasionally. (Be sure that the rosemary sprig is submerged in the liquid at all times). Remove from heat and cool completely. Discard rosemary. (Compote may be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use). Serve cold or at room temperature. To serve, ladle into small bowls or cups. Spoon a dollop of lightly sweetened crème fraîche, Greek yogurt or whipped cream in the center of the compote. Garnish with a pinch of brown sugar and a few rosemary leaves.

Rise and Shine: Yogurt, Plum and Granola Parfait

~ Spiced Plum Compote, Maple Granola, Greek Yogurt ~

If you need a reason to get up in the morning, then try this sumptuous breakfast parfait. A slick of stewed plums swirls through clouds of rich greek yogurt flecked with nuggets of granola. If it weren’t so early in the morning, you might be tempted to call this dessert.

Spiced Plum Compote
Not overly sweet, this rich plum stew is delicious with yogurt. If you are calling this dessert, do not hesitate to ladle some over a bowl of ice cream, too.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

1 pound plums, pitted, sliced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the plums soften and the compote thickens, about 20 minutes. Cool, cover and refrigerate until use. The flavors will develop with time. (May be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Granola
Feel free to fiddle with the ingredients. Substitute or add hazelnuts, pecans, flax, dried cranberries … you get the picture.
Makes about 2 cups.

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300°F (160°C). Combine the oats, coconut, almonds, wheat germ, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Whisk maple syrup and vegetable oil together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the oats and toss to combine. Spread in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown, about 30  minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and cool. Add the raisins. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

To assemble parfaits:
Alternate plum compote, granola and whole milk Greek-style yogurt in a bowl or glass. Serve for breakfast, lunch or whenever you please.

Nectarine and Plum Tarte Tatin


~ Nectarine and Plum Tarte Tatin ~

Here’s another dessert post, making that two in a row. I am being greedy, but it’s summer, and the fruit is impossible to resist right now. The farmers’ markets are teeming with stone fruit. Their tables are stacked with teetering towers of peaches, nectarines, apricots and early plums. I bring home bags stuffed with fruit only to return with more the next day. It really isn’t a challenge to slurp through the bounty, but when there is a little too much, the older fruit is quickly transformed into a baked dessert.

Nectarine and Plum Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin (an upside down caramelized tart) is a beautiful way to showcase stone fruit. The fruits’ sweet tanginess melds beautifully with the caramel, while their orange and crimson mottled flesh intensifies in a vibrant, richly colored filling. I used a combination of nectarines and plums, because that’s what I had.

Serves 8-10.

For the Sour Cream Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/3 cup full fat sour cream

Nectarine and Plum Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in 4 pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
4 large nectarines, quartered, pits removed
4 plums, halved, pits removed
1 egg, beaten to blend, for glaze

Prepare Pastry:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of peas. Add sour cream and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be made one day ahead; refrigerate until use. Pastry dough may also be frozen up to one month in freezer before rolling. Allow to defrost in refrigerator overnight.) Remove pastry from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling out.

Prepare Tart:
Arrange butter in bottom of large oven-proof skillet with sloping sides (preferably cast iron.) Sprinkle 1 cup sugar evenly over butter and pan. Cook over medium heat until butter melts, the sugar is partially dissolved and the mixture is bubbling, about 2 minutes.  Arrange nectarines and plums closely together in an alternate fashion, cut-side up, in a circular pattern in the skillet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Set skillet over medium-high heat. Boil until a deeply colored syrup forms, turning skillet to ensure even cooking, about 30 minutes. (Due to the juices from the fruit, the syrup will be more red than brown. Check for doneness by tasting a little of the syrup – be careful, because it will be very hot. If it has a caramel flavor, then it’s ready for the oven).
While the fruit is cooking on the stove, preheat oven to 425 F. Roll out pastry on floured surface or parchment paper to a round shape to fit size of skillet. Remove skillet from heat. Lay pastry over fruit. Cut 3-4 slits in pastry. Brush pastry with some of the egg glaze. Bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown and firm when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and cool on rack one minute. Cut around edge of skillet to loosen pastry. Invert the tart onto a platter, using oven mitts. If any of the fruit is stuck in the pan, remove with a knife and arrange on top of tart. Cool tart slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Pear and Prune Crumble with Armagnac Cream

I almost didn’t post this recipe for Pear and Prune Crumble, since there are other similar recipes on TasteFood. Then I gave it some more thought: Crumbles are homey and rustic, easy to prepare and flexible with ingredients. They can be dressed up or simplified and are a surefire crowd pleaser. That’s worth sharing as an example – again.

A year round dessert, the crumble is forgiving. It effortlessly absorbs the season’s best fruit, tossed with some sugar and spice, then crowned with a streusel topping. Its nuance rests in the choice of fruit and spice. Summer begs for berries and stone fruit and a wisp of spice. Fall beckons apples, cranberries and bolder mulling spices. In the winter I prefer the prolific pear. Sturdy and gently perfumed, the pear provides a soft spoken backdrop for the filling, which I like to punctuate with intensely flavored prunes. As the crumble bakes, the prunes break down adding a rich and winey flavor, further amplified by a heady trio of spices – cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.

To this particular recipe I also added frozen wild blueberries, which  I happened to have in my freezer and wanted to use up (as I said, crumbles are forgiving.) I served this dessert topped with Armagnac Spiked Whipped Cream which adds an appropriately warm and fortifiying kick to a winter crumble.

Pear and Prune Crumble with Hazelnut Streusel and Armagnac Cream

Serves 8-10

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

For the filling:
8 ripe but firm Bartlett pears, cored peeled, cut in 1 inch chunks
20 prunes, pitted and halved
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup frozen wild blueberries (optional)

Armagnac Spiked Whipped Cream (recipe below)

Prepare the topping:
Whisk together all the ingredients except the butter and hazelnuts in a large bowl. Add butter and work into the topping, using your fingertips, until the it resembles coarse meal. Stir in hazelnuts. Cover and refrigerate until use.

Prepare the crumble:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Butter a rectangular baking dish.
Place all of the filling ingredients (except the blueberries) in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour into the baking dish. Scatter blueberries over the fruit if using. Spoon the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake in the oven until pears are soft and topping is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with Armagnac Spiked Whipped Cream.

Armagnac Spiked Whipped Cream
Makes 2 cups (recipe may be halved)

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Armagnac

Beat cream in bowl of electric mixer with a wire whisk until thickened. Add sugar and armagnac. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until use. (May be made up to 4 hours in advance.)

Pear Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Hazelnut Streusel

Pear Crisp tf

When I have a lot of fruit lying about, I make a crisp. It’s an efficient way to use up ripe fruit, and a perfect expression of the season’s ingredients. Not only that, it’s a great way to serve dessert to a crowd. Unfussy to prepare, the assembled crisp may be refrigerated up to 3 hours before baking. For a dinner party I’ll pop it in the oven when we sit down to eat the main course. Then it’s ready and piping hot when it’s time for dessert.

Feel free to combine several fruits in a crisp. I like to mix 2-3 types of fruit, choosing for a variety of colors and textures as well as a balance between sweetness and tartness in flavor.  Pears are prominent at the farmer’s market now as well as late season plums and berries. For this crisp I combined softly sweet bosc pears with spiced plums and tart blueberries.

Pear Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Hazelnut Streusel

Serves 10-12

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1/2 cup toasted, skinned and chopped hazelnuts

For the filling:
6 large Bosc pears, about 3 pounds, peeled cored, cut in 1″ chunks
6 plums, halved, each half quartered
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1 pint blueberries

Prepare topping:
Mix flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingers until topping resembles coarse meal. Mix in hazelnuts. (Topping may be prepared up to one day in advance. Refrigerate until use.)

Prepare filling:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.)
Combine all of the ingredients except the blueberries in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Spread in a rectangular baking dish. Scatter blueberries over the filling. Cover the filling evenly with the topping.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown on top, about 50 minutes. Remove and serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Taste of Home: Spiced Plum Crostata

Plum Crostata tf

We have been traveling. Each summer our family returns to Europe, where we spend time living and working from abroad. This year we moved around quite a bit, so while I have been posting regularly to TasteFood, it’s been on the fly, with less time for reflection than I prefer. We exchanged homes with a Danish family and called Copenhagen home for a month, just like the old days when we lived there. We visited Prague, Munich and Salzburg. Our return to the U.S. was via Iceland where we took full advantage of our layover and stayed a few days, exploring lava fields, geysers, waterfalls and hot springs. The journey continued on to New England, where we enjoyed a few days on Martha’s Vineyard with good friends before heading north to our present and final destination, visiting family on the coast of Maine. As our trip nears its end, we are winding down and relaxing in a house perched on the rocky coast. I look forward to returning to my kitchen and desktop computer, and sifting through the many impressions of our travels.

Maine

At this moment, it’s mid-afternoon. Dinner is a several hours away, and I have time to myself. There is a wide view of sparkling sea with windjammers and schooners navigating the craggy islands from the living room window. Some family members are climbing on the rocks, exploring the tidal pools below me. Others have departed for the nearby town, where, this weekend, the population has quadrupled in honor of its annual Lobster Festival. And I am at the computer, enjoying the luxury of the view and the presence of family – with the peace of an empty house. I am thinking of my next blog post and what to cook. It’s making me hungry.

Plum Crostata

Earlier today, I was at the farm stand purchasing with my eyes and my appetite. I bought inky blue Maine blueberries, headily perfumed strawberries, and a brown bag filled with ripe purple plums. Tonight we are eating lobster for dinner, which we will pick up from the local fisherman at the wharf. And I am going to make a dessert. Blueberries are obvious to use, but they are not my daughter’s favorite, and this weekend we are celebrating her birthday. The strawberries are too luscious to do anything with, except eat straight as they are. So, I will use the plums and make a crostata: a homey dessert to conclude the meal and the end of our journey.

Spiced Plum Crostata
Serves 6

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound unsalted butter, chilled, cut in pieces
2-3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
8 large plums, halved, pitted and sliced
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour

Prepare the pastry:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and work into flour with fingertips until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to bind the dough. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk; wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Prepare the crostata:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss plums in a bowl with 4 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon; set aside.
Roll out dough into a 12 inch circle. Sprinkle 1 tablepoon sugar and 1 tablespoon flour in center of dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Mound plums over sugar and flour, reserving any juices that have collected in the bowl. Sprinkle plums with 1 tablespoon sugar. Fold border of dough up and around the plums. Bake in oven until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes; remove.
Pour reserved juices from the plums into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to syrup consistency, 3-4 minutes. Brush plums with syrup.
Serve crostata warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.