It all started with a Groupon. One for local, organic groceries delivered to your home that included two separate deliveries for the price of one. Free food, delivered to the door??!! It was too good to pass up and our first Groupon purchase was made. Hurray!! I had visions of opening the box up to the most beautiful produce imaginable- still dripping with dew it was so freshly picked, golden sunbeams streaming through the window, a choir singing… Perhaps my expectations were a little high. Or were they? The delivery guy arrived on Friday. I opened the door and… Oh!! Hello. I hope the produce looks as good as he does… The he spoke. With an accent. The chorus started to sing. (Seriously- there was opera playing in the background) I took the box, smiled and said thanks. There may or may not have been an awkward attempt at hair tossing. The door closed and I held my breath in anticipation as I peered into the box. Exhale. Disappointment. The greens looked wilty and my supposed bag of onions was not actually a bag, but a stingy, solitary loner. Maybe the really good stuff goes to the regulars? Oh well. We’d make do. Resigned, I started to unpack. And then I saw them. Dark and lovely, hidden at the bottom.
Prune plums. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I haven’t given plums much of a chance. Blame it on one summer vacation as a child, picking then eating triple my weight in plums… Since then I’ve just passed them by. Anyways- back to the box. The second I laid eyes on those beauties I knew they were destined to become a crisp. A stove top, candied crisp. It was an adventure as I hadn’t thought much about stove top crisps before. Rest assured, now that I’ve visited once, I plan on returning again and again.
Stove Top Prune Plum Candied Crisp
My box came with 15 plums. Because they reduced while cooking, this recipe makes enough filling for 2 people… providing you don’t sample too much of it along the way… seriously. It’s tasty. We managed to save half of our portions for breakfast the next day, but that was mostly due to not wanting to eat 7.5 plums each at one sitting, even though we could have. You could add in other berries or fruits to increase the amount of filling, but I urge you to try it with just plums once. The perfect balance of sweet with a hint of sour is divine. Also. I seriously love crisp topping. So this recipe makes, well, quite a bit. More than enough for two plum crumbles, but if you add more fruits for a larger volume of filling, you’ll be set. We just ate the extra topping up with our hands. Like crumbled bits of oat cookies.
200 ml apple juice
pinch of salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp kuzu diluted in 2 tbsp cold water
*if you want to make this gluten free, you could try alternating the rolled oats for quinoa flakes, although the liquid ratios might work a bit differently. Add the water slowly so you can make adjustments as required*
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
For the Filling:
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
Add half the plums and boil a few minutes until the skin starts to break open, then scoop them out and let them sit in a strainer while you repeat with the rest of the plums.
Once the plums have cooled enough to touch, remove the skins and seed. The plums are easy to half- just press your thumb in near the top then slide it down along the seam. The plum will open in half to allow you to easily remove the seed.
I kept the plums in halves, but you can chop them to smaller pieces if you like.
Place the plums in a pan, and add in apple juice. I had an organic sugar free drink box on hand, so I used that. You could use 1/2 cup of apple juice. Use a bit more juice if you’ve added in more fruit.
Over medium heat bring the plums and juice to a boil, add a pinch of salt, then lower to medium low and let the juice and plums reduce for 30 minutes or so.
Add the cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Taste and adjust until you get your ideal balance of flavours. Cook for another few minutes, then, while continuously stirring to prevent lumps, add in the kuzu mixture a bit at a time until you achieve your desired thickness. Cook another minute or two, then add the filling to individual bowls or a pie dish.
For the Candied Crisp:
While the filling is reducing, heat a pan to medium high heat. Toss in the almonds and continuously stir until you can start to smell the nutty aroma. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to stir for a few more minutes. Repeat with the pecans. Set the nuts aside to cool.
Add the rolled oats to the pan, and over medium low heat, stir constantly until the oatmeal looks a bit golden and starts to release a delicious oat/nut fragrance. It won’t be a dark golden at this stage- don’t worry. The real oatmeal magic happens in a few steps.
Chop the nuts then add to the oats in the pan.
Mix in the maple syrup, water and safflower oil (I’m going to try this next time with almond oil) until the oats are slightly moist. Some might clump together a bit- that’s okay. Continue to stir the mixture over medium heat until things start to look golden brown- 10 – 15 minutes or so.
Turn up the heat to medium high, pour the brown rice syrup over the oats and let the syrup come to a boil. Let it bubble for almost 2 minutes. Stir a couple of times.
Pour the mixture out over a parchment paper covered pan to let cool, then break off the crispy pieces and eat a few while you arrange them on top of the crisp. Alternately you can just spoon the crisp over the filling and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Keep some crisp set aside for yummy snacking later that night… day… breakfast…