11 September 2007

Green Gage Plum and Pistachio Crumble

Sometimes recipes just fall in your lap. On an August afternoon I made my way over to the market, where late summer plums were in their full regalia. I was drawn to the unusual green plums, called green gages, and though I pondered them curiously, I'd never had a green plum and was unsure if I would enjoy them. That very same evening, I read Luisa's post which raved about a wonderful plum crumble she'd made and, already cursing myself for leaving the market empty handed, I asked if she thought the recipe would work with green gages.

Luisa responded so enthusiastically that I scampered back to the market as soon as I could to get myself those special plums. Quite frankly, I've always been rather blase about plums; but oh how wrong I was. Just one green gage was enough to convince me otherwise. Plums are the last fruits of the summer season, and they hold all the juiciness of those summer stone fruits, but also with a depth and warmth that only the early tinge of cooler evenings can bring. Of all plums, I prefer the smaller European varities like prune-plums and damsons, and among them green gages are prized for their flavor.

Since I'd been contemplating green fruits, I had the idea to add green pistachios to the crumble topping (also because I accidentally bought too many at the shop last week, who knew one pound was so many?!). I had forgotten that the green gage plums turn a beautiful pink-orange color when cooked, so instead of the monochromatic dish I had pictured, I ended up with something more reminiscent of when you first pick your own outfit for kindergarten. A riot of pink and green, the crisp was just as flavorful and delicious as it was colorful. Adding pistachios gives this a special flavor and makes it quite unlike any crisp or crumble I've had before. Plum season is just getting into full swing, so you've got plenty of time to seek out those wonderful green gage plums and make yourself a crumble.

Green Gage Plum and Pistachio Crumble
Green gage plums are the princes of late summer fruit, full of juicy flavor, they turn deep pink/orange when cooked. The pistachios in the topping give this a special touch. Inspired by Luisa and Marion Burros.

12-15 green gage plums, prune plums, or green pluots
3 tbl brown sugar
3 tbl flour
1/2 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
1 tbl fresh lemon zest
for the topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup finely chopped (or roughly ground) pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, cold

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Halve the plums, pit them, and slice into thick wedges. Toss the plums with the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
2. For the topping, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Agg the egg and stir with a fork to make a crumbly mixture.
3. Place the prunes in a deep 9" pie pan or small casserole. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top. Very thinly slice the butter into slivers and lay it over the surface of the crumble (yes, I know it's a bit tedious). Use as much butter as necessary to make sure the whole surface of the crumble is thinly covered with butter. Place in the oven and bake 35-45 minutes, until the top is browned and the filling is bubbly.


Hilda said...

That looks wonderful, especially with pistachios on it (I like pistachios on anything, I'm Persian after all). I might try that with some mirabelles and purple prune-plums tomorrow actually. You have such great timing!

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit! This looks delicious. mmm Now I need to run and see if I can find some plums!

Mercedes said...

Hilda- Ah, thank you for reminding me about those wonderful mirabelle plums the French are crazy about! And I'm glad to continue the good timing!

Caroline- welcome! Provided you're in the northern hemisphere, I don't think you should have any probkem finding plums as they are at their peak in many places.

Krizia said...

This fondly reminds me of my mom's peach crumble :) She adds pecans to her crumble. It looks so fresh and tarte and sweet and crunchy and delicious! What is that cream-colored saucey stuff in the very last picture? It looks like condensed milk?

Mercedes said...

Krizia- ah, you caught me! After the recent ice cream escapades, I have no ice cream or cream in the house! So when I was looking for something to serve the crumble with, I found half a can of condensed milk in the back of the fridge (leftover from the key lime pie ice cream), so I used it! Not my favorite topping, but it was quite good in a pinch.

Anonymous said...

This looks divine! and what great timing just as Hilda commented! My father planted this glorious tree in the backyard and was told they were simply "Asian Plums". Of course the tree already bares the beautiful fruit that look similar to tree ornaments and are petite enough to fit right in the palm of your hand. I opted to taste one with my mother, prepared for an extreme bitter sour taste because of their bright green skin, and low and behold! Beautiful variations of pink flesh with a wonderful sweet yet not to sour flavor inside! I read they are completely ready to eat come July, so we are hoping for a more sweet taste to the plum in these upcoming weeks. As a person who LOVES a great crumble, I am most sure this will be a great hit at our next bakyard gathering! Thanks so much for sharing!

Rita said...

Greengages are wonderful!! Despite their greenish and underripe look, they're so sweet! My mom loves them. I tried your crumble for my husband's birthday and it was delicious. Actually, it's a bit different from the greengage crumble I use to make but it's lovely. If you want to have a look at my crumble recipe, I'll leave you the link to my tiny blog (it's brand new, so it's a bit poor...): http://wp.me/p13WEE-o
Hope you like it. :D

barbarajo23 said...

We have two greengage plum trees. This recipe is delicious! I use macadamia nuts instead of pistachios because that is what I have on hand. Also, I use a box cheese grater for the butter. Much easier and spreads out great.