07 September 2013

Weekend Cooking: Ina Garten's Plum Crunch

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Back to Basics by Ina GartenI love late summer fruit. But last week at the farmers' market I may have gone a bit crazy when I bought a half peck of prune plums (aka Italian prunes). We did our best to eat them up, but yesterday I realized there were still a ton of plums in the fruit bowl.

My first thought? Time to make a crisp. I generally wing it when I make a crisp, but this time I decided to start with a recipe from Back to Basics by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. As is my usual procedure, I made a few changes to suit our tastes and ended up with a bowl full of yummy and a new September favorite dessert.

I'll give you the recipe as it appears on the Food Network website, which I'm sure is wonderful as written, and I'll also tell you what I did differently so you can adjust accordingly.

My changes: I cut the brown sugar for the fruit by half. We like the natural sweetness of the plums more than we like the added sugar. But if your plums are particularly tart, you might want to add all the sugar. I added Chambord because I like it better than Creme de Cassis. I used almonds instead of walnuts because I wanted to share the crisp with a friend who is allergic to walnuts. Finally, I made only half the topping because I don't like to overwhelm the fruit.

Plum Crunch

For the fruit
  • 3 pounds Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
For the topping
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the fruit, in a large bowl combine the plums, brown sugar, flour, cassis. Pour the mixture into 12 by 8-inch shallow baking dish.

For the topping, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the plum mixture.

Bake the plum crunch for 40 to 45 minutes, until the plums are bubbling and the top is browned. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.

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Tina 9/7/13, 6:31 AM  

Holy cow, this brings me back to childhood! I remember climbing the backyard tree to get plums. This crisp looks so good. Nice dessert with some good changes you tweeked in. I had not know you could be allergic to walnuts but still eat other nuts. I learn things from you all the time!

Sandy Nawrot 9/7/13, 7:19 AM  

I'm not a huge fan of plums, but in a crisp? Yeah baby! This sounds so good, and I like your changes. Ina has great recipes.

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/7/13, 8:44 AM  

I have this cookbook, but haven't tried this recipe yet. It looks so delicious, I'm heading over to our Italian grocery to look for plums right now. I love Ina!

Joy 9/7/13, 8:54 AM  

That looks wonderful! I love crisps and crunches. They are every bit as festive as other desserts but have lots going for them nutritionally.

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Marg 9/7/13, 9:31 AM  

Yum! This looks delicious!

rhapsodyinbooks 9/7/13, 9:58 AM  

This looks fantastic. I have been seeing a lot of plums and now I am very inspired to get some!

bermudaonion 9/7/13, 10:29 AM  

I'm like you - I only resort to cooking fruit when there's too much to eat fresh. That crunch looks wonderful!

Laurie C 9/7/13, 10:29 AM  

Usually I'm a big topping fan and don't mind having more topping than fruit, but I think I'd have trouble using two whole sticks of butter in the topping for a pan that size! I don't really like fresh plums, but this plum recipe sounds delicious!

Beth S. 9/7/13, 10:53 AM  

I totally would've cut the amount of sugar too. I don't know why so many recipes call for excessive amounts of sugar. I tried a coconut milk ice cream recipe recently and even after cutting the amount of sugar, it was still too sweet.

JoAnn 9/7/13, 12:25 PM  

Your crunch looks wonderful! I made a blueberry crumble last weekend and the fruit was overwhelmed by the topping. Next time I'll cut it all in half, too.

Anonymous,  9/7/13, 1:15 PM  

I'm a huge fan of Barefoot (that's what I call her. Makes it sound like we're buddies),and who doesn't love any dessert with crunch or crisp attached? Yours looks great. Linda (Old Food Cooking)

Carole 9/7/13, 3:23 PM  

If I have extra plums my favourite thing is to make jam with them - just a small batch that you keep in the fridge. Have a lovely weekend.

Teddyree 9/7/13, 8:44 PM  

That looks gorgeous, we call it crumble over here. Such a pretty colour using the plums, I'd go with your changes too :)

Col (Col Reads) 9/8/13, 4:16 PM  

That looks absolutely fantastic. I guess this year is what they mean by "plum crazy!" E's piano teacher showed up with a bag for every student from her tree. Now I know what to do with them!

Daryl 9/10/13, 8:35 AM  

i would love this but no way would i be making it ... baking a cake from a mix once a year is my limit!

Louise Dill 7/22/18, 12:43 PM  

This was a hit with my family. The only thing I changed was the addition of Slivoviitz versus Creme de Cassis. It was amazing! Since Slivovitz is a Plum liquour I thought it would be a good flavor to add to the Plum filling.

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