17 October 2010

Plum Crumble

Last September, on a whim, I rescued a gorgeous box of Italian prune plums from Costco for no other reason than I simply had to behold their breath-taking shade of velvety blue-red-purple piled into the emerald green bowl on my island. That is my favorite color combination. I know God likes it, too, because He uses it so often! 

And that is when I began to seriously pursue the perfect plum crumble. Eventually I tinkered my way to this recipe, which is now my favorite thing to do with any kind of summer stone fruit. Well, other than scarf them down over the kitchen sink with their cold nectar dripping off my elbows. 

This, lovies, is tangy, sweet, spicy fruit rolling out from under a topping that is by turns custardy, crunchy, and chewy. I think I've actually dreamed about eating this. Justin says it's his favorite dessert I've ever made! 

A lovely dessert, but we also like it for breakfast. Good cold, room temperature, or warm. Just good good good every which way, really.

Plum Crumble

For the plums:

½ cup lightly packed brown sugar OR ½ cup honey
4 ½ Tbsp. flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
⅔ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
about 30-40 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted*
Juice of 1 fresh lemon

For the topping:

1 ½ cups sugar (I use unbleached organic)
2 cups flour
1 rounded cup old-fashioned oats
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
5 large eggs, beaten well (4 perhaps, if extra large)
1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the center of your oven, and preheat to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the seasoning for the plums: the brown sugar or honey, flour, cinnamon, ginger, and crystallized ginger. Add this to the plums, and gently stir to coat. Spread the plums evenly in an ungreased 9X13 inch baking dish. (You could also divide it into two smaller baking dishes.)

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the topping: sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to blend well. Add the beaten eggs. Using your hands, mix thoroughly, pinching handfuls of the mixture to produce moist little particles. (If it still has dry patches, add another beaten egg.) Drop spoonfuls over the plums, then pat and spread with your fingers till it covers.

Spoon the melted butter evenly over the topping.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with crème fraîche, ice cream, or unsweetened whipped cream.

Note: Reheat slowly, in an oven set to 300 degrees or less, to avoid over-browning the crumble.

*Roughly equivalent to about 15-20 regular plums. I just use up a whole container from Costco and I never remember to count. Peaches? Eh, maybe a dozen? I'm totally guessing, can you tell? It's more art than science, so just use what you have and it will all be glorious, you'll see.

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