Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Baking

It was absolutely blazing earlier today.  I was slightly miffed because I had to go outside and because I had to turn the oven on.  In hindsight, the oven part isn't so bad.

The baking need arose from a container of plums I got from Costco a couple of days ago.  I was about to purchase $9 cherries, when I spotted $5 plums.  I made a quick switch.  Once I got the plums home, I realized that they were extremely ripe.  They were so ripe that they tasted a little like pears.  These would need to star in a crumble or a crisp real soon.

Baking IllustratedOnce I realized that I wouldn't finish the sewing project I was working on in time, I decided to take a break and head to the kitchen.  Here's what I came up with:  a plum crisp.  I adapted the recipe from Baking Illustrated.  If you've read my blog in the past, you know I am an America's Test Kitchen believer.

Starting here was a no-brainer since I had limited time and patience.  (I wanted to get back to the other hobby.)  This recipe was amazingly simple.  I think it went together in less than 20 minutes.

Make the topping first.  Flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg (freshly ground, please) and salt go for a spin in the food processor.  It's been a while since Miracle and I have hung out.

Add the butter and pulse until you get something that looks like wet sand.  Chill immediately.  (Not you, the topping.)

Move on to the fruit.  The recipe called for sliced fruit, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.  I had two of the four.  If substituting plums for apples, CI wanted me to have tapioca pudding too.  Yeah right.
Since my plums were very ripe (look at 'em; they look like beets), I used about a couple of tablespoons of sugar.  For the acid, I thought balsamic vinegar would be hot.  Don't sleep on balsamic vinegar and fruit.  It will change your relationship with strawberry shortcake forever. I used about 1 1/2 Tbs.  I used a tablespoon of cornstarch in place of the tapioca.
Let's assemble. Dump the fruit into a buttered baking dish.  

Creatively distribute the topping over the fruit. Ain't that pretty?

Get thee to a pre-heated oven.  I let it bake at 375 for 30 minutes and then jacked up the heat to 400 for browning.

Hallelujah!! All I need is some white ice cream (my uncles' term for vanilla ice cream.)

Tools of the trade

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