One of the great things about joining a CSA is that you never quite know what you are going to get. While I feel like I more or less know what vegetables are in season when in New York State, so feel I could make a reasonable guess as to what we might get, fruit is a new one for me. In Maine, where I grew up, the only fruit hearty enough to really count for a salable crop is apples and blueberries. So it was with some trepidation and a feeling of “why not” I also opted into the fruit share portion of the Sunset Park CSA. And, so, what did I get? Plums. Tons and tons of plums all summer. These plums were delicious, the plumiest plums ever. Still, there’s only so many I can eat with my lunch. So I had to get creative with my plums. Below are three ideas
Plum and Pear Tartlettes (Vegan if you want)
I also got some really cute, small pears that I had never seen before. I’m not a huge pear fan, so mixing chopped pears and plums in this tart was a perfect balance of taste and texture. Making “tartlettes” has become a hit around our apartment. SMH even asked me to make more, high praise, because he’s not a fan of baked goods.
Chopped plums and pears, about 3-4 cups worth
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1/8 cup Flour
1/4 cup sugar
Wash and chop the plums and pears. Put in a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, while you make the crust.
Sweet Pie Crust
2 sticks butter or margarine, frozen
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
5 tablespoons ice water
Cut the butter or margarine into chunks about 1/2 inch wide. Mix in the food processor with the dry ingredients until it looks like cornmeal. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until you have a time ball of dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll. Cut the dough with a glass and press the circle into the bottom of a muffin time. Cut a strip of dough and press around the sides, forming a little cup. Spoon in the plum and pear mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and then turn down the oven to 350 for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden at the edges.
Cool and eat! Great as breakfast, a mid-morning or afternoon snack or dessert. Lovely with tea!
I alluded to this in my last entry. Clafoutis is a French dessert that is traditionally made with cherries and is half way between a pie and a cake. When I was lamenting my plum overload (a good problem to have, really) my friend Stephanie suggested I try a clafoutis. I’d never heard of it before, but lo and behold, the recipes are everywhere and you can really make it with most any fruit. I tried making a dairy free version , but it never really crisped up and mostly tasted like mush. Good mush, but I would say that the eggs, cream and butter in this dish are very important for structure. I think you could fake a good vegan version with just a good vegan pancake batter, but I’ll leave that to more talented vegan dessert makers than I and leave you with the recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook.
1 1/2 pounds plums, pitted and sliced in half or quarters
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk or cream
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a round backing dish. Spread plums on the bottom fo the dish.
Combine all other ingredients in blender and pour batter over the plums.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes until it is puffed and golden. Cool on a rack (it will sink a little) and dust with confectioners and serve warm.
The guests at our CSA party made short work of this one!
I also foreshadowed this on in my last entry. Finally, I thought, I would freeze the rest of my plums in the form of a sorbet. I turned to Mark Bittman for guidance (like always, I know), but then, lacking a sorbet maker, improvised from there. When I had my frozen plum puree I realized it would make an absolutely excellent frozen drink, with or without alcohol. I blended it with ice and vodka and topped it with a garnish of CSA mint. Like most fruity drinks (with I usually fastidiously avoid) you can’t taste the alcohol.
10 plums, pitted
1/2 cup sugar (or more or less to taste)
Juice of 2 lemons
Put everything in a blender and puree. Freeze. To make the drink blend the frozen plum mixture with 4 ice cubes and a generous shot of vodka or the clear alcohol of your choice. Garnish with mint. Put a drink umbrella in it if you have one, why not?