I have had a real affinity for plums ever since I was a kid and my Grandmother and Mother would use them in various desserts and treats. My favourite plum is the purple, Italian prune plum. They taste great fresh and are amazing when used for baking. The taste of these gorgeous plums straight off the branch, warm from the sun baking them all afternoon is just stunning! We’re lucky enough to have a beautiful tree growing right in our backyard making the inspiration to use plums very easy.
Now, I’m not particularly drawn to baking, however, this recipe is so simple and impressive that it’s in my small repertoire of baking! This recipe is adapted slightly from “Baking with Julia” and it really reminds me of the rustic, straight-forward desserts I’m used to eating when in Italy. There’s cornmeal and sour cream in the crust that gives it a really nice crunch along with a zing from the sour cream. I also use a bit of lemon zest to further lighten and freshen every bite.
Seriously try this recipe! It’s perfect for when you’ve got people coming over and it’s really inexpensive to make. It will also give you a boost of confidence in the kitchen as it’s pretty much fool proof.
Crostata dough –
3 tablespoons sour cream 0r yogurt
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
stir the sour cream and water in a small bowl and put to the side. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then add the butter in small pieces. Use a pastry blender or work between your fingers till you get a mixture that looks like coarse bread crumbs. (see pic above for reference) Add sour cream and water mixture a little at a time mixing with a fork. Pat the dough into a small ball and try not to knead it too much or over work it. You want it to have nice light layers. Wrap in cling film and rest for 2 hours.
Plum Filling –
17-20 medium plums pitted & sliced into quarters
few tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of butter
zest of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out pastry so that it’s about 1/4 inch thick, place it on a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with sugar and grate the lemon zest. Arrange plums however you feel fit to making sure to leave about an inch or more so that you can fold the edges in. Fold edges over and sprinkle the whole crostata with more sugar. Cut up small pieces of butter and arrange within fruit. Bake for about 30 mins. It should look nice and brown but not too brown. Serve it slightly warm with some vanilla ice cream or gelato!