It’s summer – at last – and fresh fruit returns triumphantly to grocery stores, farmers’ markets and roadside stands. It all looks so good, and we’ve waited so very patiently over the off season. The temptation is overwhelming, and soon we fill baskets, shopping bags and pockets with the returning bounty. Upon getting home – no, upon getting to the car – the first bite reveals a lusciousness scarcely imaginable.
Then comes the sobering realization that we’re never going to able to make use of all that fruit before it overripens. What to do? It all looked so good at the store! Fortunately, Bon Appetit anticipated such a problem, and proposed a solution in its August 2018 issue, Plum-Cardamom Crumble with Pistachios.
Fully three pounds of plums are pitted, sliced and go into a pie plate, skins and all (they soften nicely and give the crumble the striking red color you see). Add a bit of lemon zest and a pinch of cardamom for an ethereal note, and the fruit is ready for the crumb topping. Butter, brown sugar and a little more cardamom come together to build a topping that’s light, rich and sweet. Finally, all is topped with chopped pistachios and goes into the oven.
What emerges is a perfect combination of sweet, buttery and salty, and manages to be both crunchy and gooey. It’s best served quite warm from the oven. Give it, maybe, several minutes to cool, then dig in! Of course, the way to do it is to enjoy the warm crumble topped with whipped cream or, better yet, with vanilla ice cream.
That’s what crowned the dessert in today’s picture. The ice cream was frozen when it first joined the crumble. Pay careful attention to the verb tense – was. Would you look at what that warm desert did to it? All that creamy goodness oozing over the tangy fruit. It’s a wonderfully delicious scandal, that’s what it is.
As “problems” go, though, it’s beautifully manageable – just eat the evidence. The bigger issue, what to do with all that fruit, has been solved. Fruit abounds, and crumbles await. Oh, the problems of summertime!
Plum-Cardamom Crumble with Pistachios
- 3 pounds plums, pitted and sliced 1/3-inch tick
- 2 teaspoons finely-grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (*1)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup light brown sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, divided
- 3/4 cup flour
- 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons coarsely-chopped pistachios
Place the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°. Toss plums, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt ant 1/4 teaspoon cardamom in a large bowl. Let sit until juice begins to appear, about ten minutes.
Meanwhile, put the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/3 cup of brown sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cardamom in a food processor. Pulse until just combined.
Add the butter and pulse until the texture is of a sandy consistency and begins to form lumps.
Pour the plums and their juice into a pie plate. Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit, squeezing together lightly at various spots. Scatter chopped pistachios over top.
Bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden-brown, about 40 minutes. (*2) Let cool several minute, then serve warm, preferably with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
1 – As in most dishes, Meyer lemons are preferable, as their taste is slightly gentler and sweeter than is “regular” lemons’.
2 – Place the pie plate on a baking tray before you slide it into the oven. Chances are, the fruit will bubble over some, and a baking tray is much easier to clean than is an oven.