Friday, September 11, 2009

192. Plum and Almond Crisp (p. 816)

OK, now I'm confused. At first blush, this Plum and Almond Crisp looks a lot like the Fruit Crumble I made when I was on vacation last month. After a closer examination of the two recipes, and a little Internet research, I thought I had figured out the difference between crisps and a crumbles (not to mention cobblers, slumps, grunts, bettys and pandowdys). Both are fruit desserts topped with a crispy, crumbly topping. According to one source I read, a crisp is the richer American cousin to the British crumble. But all of that went out the window, and I went right back to square one when I found out that this recipe is called "Plum and Almond Cobbler" on What gives? I thought that a cobbler was a "fruit stew" topped by spoonfuls of biscuit dough. Ugh, this is so confusing. At least one of the commenters on the epicurious recipe challenged its status as a cobbler "Good, quick and easy to make. Wonderful topping, although I would challenge calling it a cobbler." Maybe that's why the Gourmet editors changed the name? Well, anyway, whatever it's called, this is one tasty dessert.

The Book says to use prune plums for this recipe if you can get them. I lucked out because Stop & Shop just happened to have some. Prune plums are smaller and sweeter than the usual reddish skinned, yellow-orange fleshed plums that I'm used to. The also have blue-purple skin and dark reddish purple flesh.

First, I made the filling. I pitted and quartered the plums (no need to skin them) and mixed them with some brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice and butter. I poured the plum mixture into a shallow oval baking dish.

Next, I made the topping. I mixed together some sugar, flour, salt and sliced almonds in the food processor and whizzed it until the almonds were ground. I added a beaten egg and whizzed some more until the topping came together. I spooned the topping over the plums and sprinkled some more sliced almonds over the top. (I made this dessert to bring over to my in-laws' house one Sunday afternoon. I also made a single-serving, gluten-free version for my wife using gluten-free baking mix in place of the flour.) Once it was all assembled, I baked the crisp for a little less than an hour.

I really enjoyed this dessert. It was better than the Fruit Crisp because the fruit was sweeter thanks to the brown sugar, jammier thanks to the luscious, juicy prune plums and the cornstarch to make it thicker, and spicier and more fragrant thanks to the cinnamon. This recipe is also great because it's quick, easy and very adaptable to whatever fruit you want to use. Several commenters on wrote about variations that they made using apples, peaches and raspberries.

So whatever it is -- a crisp, a cobbler, a crumble, or even a grunt -- it is delicious.

Date Cooked: August 24, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: A-

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