Monday, August 4, 2014

Plum and Wild Blueberry Fruit Crisp


They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. 
- Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol 

We've been going over the accounts, income and expenses, with a fine-tooth comb for the last three days, coming at each budget spreadsheet from every direction. Again and again. It had all better be right! Luckily our minds work in different ways, come at this from two different directions thus we see different things, catch errors, ask new questions, highlight what the other doesn't making the outcome surer.

If you are connected with me on Facebook, you could not have missed my teasers about a new life adventure, a huge change for JP and me. No, I cannot divulge it just yet but I write not only to share the excitement but to let you a bit into our life, to see how we are moving the project forward, how it is consuming us – the time, energy, passion, fervor and desire for it to work out. And last week had us swallowed up in budgets, assets, debits, expenses and incomes, social charges, salaries, mortgages and wondering how Marty will take to this change. I almost wrote impulsive adventure, but impulsive it is not. It has been brewing for quite some time, the idea simmering and we have been doing our research.

We should know more and hopefully move a step or two ahead this week.

And if this comes through… then not only will our life change but so will Life's a Feast. My blog will become a diary of the exciting journey.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. 
- Leo Tolstoy 

But the end of the week brought us a very nice reward for all of our hard and serious work….

We had company! And right in the middle of plum season! My Kugelhopf Kerrin, Olivier and Chloé stopped by for dinner and then a marvelous brunch the following day (after a trip – a buying spree - to the market). This has become a once-a-year treat for us, their passing through Nantes! The brunch table was loaded down under a cornucopia of plums, so incredibly sweet, from La Maison de la Pomme La Foresterie in Vertou just outside the city; breads, mini Kugelhopf (of course) and pastries from La Petite Boulangerie of MOF Franck Dépériers and gorgeous sorbet from Vincent Guerlais.

The previous evening, JP was in charge of the main course for dinner – a fabulous lamb tagine – I made dessert. The plums at the market were too good not to use, so I made a 2-plum crisp, adding cherries and frozen wild blueberries for body and depth of flavor. I added balsamic vinegar to the fruit and topped the crisp with slivered almonds for crunch and a bit of nuttiness. It was simply out of this world.


I used a variety of ripe, local Reine Claude plums, golden and purple: Reine Claude d’Oullins, Reine Claude de Moissac and Reine Claude violette; the golden plums were incredibly sweet while the purple were sweet with a slightly tart acidity, making for a beautiful balance of flavor and intensity. Once pitted, I sliced each plum in half and then each half into 2 or 3 wedges.

5 cups of pitted, sliced fruit total, about 4 cups plums if adding the cherries (see note above)
½ pound (250 g) cherries, pitted and halved, optional
1 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed and drained (reserve the juice)
¼ cup sugar
½ Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs good quality Balsamic vinegar

For the crisp topping:
¾ cup (90 g) flour
½ cup (110 g) packed or granulated light brown sugar
½ cup (110 g) packed dark brown sugar
½ to 1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
7 Tbs (110 g) unsalted butter
¼ to ½ cup slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Prepare the fruit:

Place all of the prepared fruit in a mixing bowl; add the sugar and toss to coat the fruit evenly. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl or cup and add the balsamic vinegar; stir until the cornstarch is dissolved then pour this all over the fruit and toss to mix. Pour the fruit into a baking dish.

Prepare the crisp topping:

Stir together the flour, two sugars, cinnamon and salt in a medium-sized bowl, breaking up any lumps. Cube the butter and toss the cubes in the dry ingredients to coat and separate. Then, using only your fingertips and working very quickly, rub the dry ingredients and the butter together until the mixture resembles damp sand and there are no more pieces of butter visible. Toss in the almonds until evenly distributed (or, save the slivered almonds to sprinkle evenly across the surface once the crisp topping has been distributed over the fruit). Sprinkle this mixture thickly and evenly over the fruit in the baking dish all the way out to the edges.

Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for ½ hour then uncover and bake for an additional ½ hour. The top should be crisp – thus a “Crisp” – and the fruit syrup should be bubbling all around the edges.

Eat warm or at room temperature with ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh my, what a fabulous treat! This combo is to die for.



Robin O said...

Life's a feast become Life's an Adventure. Waiting to hear more, however it may work out. Cheers to you an JP for looking forward, together.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am so excited for you and your new adventure. I say go for it! Once upon a time we did and it was the best thing that ever happened in our life.

I like Robin O's idea for Life's an Adventure. Just don't leave out treats such as this beautiful plum crisp.

Jenni said...

I look forward to hearing more about your new adventure--and whatever changes it may bring to you life and to Life's a Feast!

Until then, I shall be in the oorner, spooning sweetened sour cream on top of this crisp and shoveling it into my face. Don't mind me... =)

Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious said...

Beautiful crisp, great tip on the balsamic! May I guess? Traveling the world for a year. Am I right? I think you should add the word "adventure" to your blog subhed: "Food, adventure, culture, life." Yes?

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

I love that you used a combination of fruits but especially appreciate the balsamic vinegar; it is so perfect!

Can't wait to hear about your adventure...the teasers are killers. Hurry!!!

Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf said...

i would like to confirm that this crisp was in fact "simply out of this world." i mean, how many times did i take another serving ?! enough said.

and our annual stop in nantes has been such a sweet bonus !! so many laughs and so many delicious treats. chloé's favorite was clearly vincent guerlais' ice cream !

as for that life change, we're on the edge of our seats here (with fingers & toes crossed), waiting to hear more...

Kate McDermott/Art of the Pie, Seattle said...

I am just so excited for you two! I have visions of you heading off to be a cultural correspondent for a major website international website or off on a trip around the world and writing it as seen through your eyes. I can't wait to hear the news!

Liz Berg said...

Such suspense...I cannot wait to hear about this new chapter in your lives. Till then, I can distract myself with your lovely crisp :)

Liz Berg said...

Such suspense...I cannot wait to hear about this new chapter in your lives. Till then, I can distract myself with your lovely crisp :)

Milk and Honey said...

A lovely jumble of fruit and buttery crumble is always, always welcome at me table. Can't wait to hear all about your new adventures Jamie. Wishing you all the best.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I don't think I've ever had plums in a crisp! Silly of me -- I'll definitely be correcting that. Love the combo of the plums and blueberries. And what a tease you are! Of course we're all dying to hear about your new adventure! Looking forward to the reveal. ;-)

Carolyn Jung said...

I can just imagine this still warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Heaven!

Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things said...

Oh Jamie, I love the sound of this dish and can barely wait for our plum season! As for your news... well, I am really excited!

Betsy @ Desserts Required said...

You are SUCH a tease!!! I can't wait to hear all about this wonderful opportunity and hope that it is everything you and your family desire.

In the meantime, I LOVE your Plum and Wild Blueberry Fruit Crisp. It is gorgeous.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

I'm excited about your plans. I'm clueless but I'm already caught up in your enthusiasm. :)

Your crisp sounds delicious - balsamic vinegar in it is brilliant.

Nuts about food said...

Can't wait to hear your exciting news!!!

Smith Bites said...

dying to hear the news Jamie - and i really do want to make this for breakfast; plums aren't quite here yet, but almost!! xo

mlaiuppa said...

You're moving again.

But I'm thinking it is more of a major move.

You are either going to be constantly moving (like a world tour) or you are moving to another country entirely.

That's my only guess since it involves your dog.

If it were starting a new business, the dog wouldn't care. But this sounds like a major move of some kind.

Gee, it seems just yesterday you moved into this place and did that major remodeling and the kitchen.

Or could it are forsaking apartment living and have decided a house? With a yard!

dina said...

it looks delicious!

June Baby said...

Such a lovely crisp! Your photos are gorgeous :) pinned

Elizabeth said...

No good plums here yet but we got a basket of beautiful early peaches the other day and have just rediscovered the wonders of crisp.

Why oh why didn't I look here to see what you have done? It never occurred to me to use slivered almonds!!

Hmmmm, there are still a few peaches left....


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