One of the best things about the end of summer is that the produce stands are full of sweet locally grown stone fruits: black and Italian plums, peaches, and nectarines. Plums seem to be the least popular of the three, but for cooks in a hurry, they are the perfect fruit to use in baked desserts since they don’t require peeling and the pits come out very easily. Those small Italian plums, sometimes called prune plums, which are oval shaped with blue or dark purple skin and golden insides, are very sweet; three of them are only about 30 calories, yet provide 2 grams of fiber as well as vitamin C and other nutrients. Black plums are round and have very dark, almost black skin with insides that range from yellow to red; these are also sweet and have about the same nutrient value as the Italian prune plums. Generally these two varieties are available locally during late summer and early fall across the US and in Europe.
Plum, Ginger, & Raspberry Crumble is the perfect dessert to showcase this often ignored fruit. It is quick to put together and calls for common ingredients that most cooks keep on hand. It also includes plump juicy fresh raspberries which are still in season. Of course you may substitute peaches or nectarines for the plums, but both of these require peeling, which takes a little more time (to peel peaches and nectarines, drop them into a pot of boiling water and let sit for 1 minute, then plunge them into a bowl of cold water; the skins will slip off easily). You can also use a combination of the three.
If you have a food processor, the topping goes together very fast, however it isn’t absolutely necessary; a pastry blender works well to cut the butter into the flour and oat mixture. The almonds will need to be chopped by hand, but since they don’t need to be finely chopped, it should only take a couple of minutes.
If you keep the bowl of an automatic ice cream maker in the freezer, you can make homemade vanilla ice cream while the crumble is baking, or if you’re in a hurry, you can use the canned variety of real whipped cream (it would be such a waste to make this delicious dessert just to cheapen and ruin it by using disgusting frozen whipped topping). In England, where the Crumble originated, it is often served surrounded by warm custard, which, if you have custard powder (available at Asian grocery stores and some larger grocery stores) on your shelf or a package of Bird’s Custard (in some grocery stores by the gelatin), can be prepared in the microwave in just a couple of minutes.
After sampling this fabulous dessert, those who have always ignored the delicious plums that are now in season may change their views; plums might even become their favorite stone fruit.
Plum, Ginger, & Raspberry Crumble
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 pounds Italian prune plums or black plums, pitted and quartered
1 pound fresh raspberries
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oats
2/3 cup whole almonds
- Spray a 3 quart shallow glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Whisk together the sugar and flour; add the ginger and orange juice.
- Toss in the plums, then gently fold in the raspberries.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Place the topping ingredients in the food processor and process until the nuts are coarsely chopped and the mixture is crumbly.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the plum raspberry mixture.
- Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 40-50 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.
- Serve with ice cream,, sweetened whipped cream, or warm custard.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 293 Calories from Fat 115
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 39% Protein 6% Carb. 54%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 21 mg
Sodium 106 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 5 g
Vitamin A 11% Vitamin C 26% Calcium 0% Iron 7%