We've finally reached the tail end of summer, and are in that sort of weird, slightly awkward time of year. You know what I mean. This type of thing happens all the time, not just know...when it's chilly in the morning and then blazing hot in the afternoon, and you just can't decide what to wear that would be considered weather or seasonably appropriate. The answer to this predicament is to simply bring along a nice, light cardigan for the morning, which you can simply remove once the afternoon heat begins to creep in. This however, is too simple of a solution for me. See, I like to complicate my life a bit more than I need to, and sometimes, I just don't feel like having to carry around that cardigan that weighs absolutely nothing at all, because I just dont feel like it. This of course leads me to be uncomfortably cold in the mornings, but I've decided that changing my ways at this point is not happening. I'll just deal with being cold.
This, obviously, is exactly what happened to me yesterday. The first day of classes of my senior year was yesterday, and even though I knew that my first class was in a building that is notorious for blasting their air conditioner at ridiculous levels, regardless of the season, I decided not to bring a sweater. It was a dumb decision, to say the least. I spent more time trying to figure out how to keep warm instead of paying attention in my tiny seminar, but it's ok, because I'm not going to make the same mistake again tomorrow (it's just a tad awkward when you don't pay attention in seminar courses...it's only slightly obvious). In any case though, this delicate time of year in which debating whether or not to bring along a cardigan will soon come to pass. Similarly, the weird struggle to decide whether to bake up just a few more summery treats or get a head start on spiced fall goodies will soon be over. I decided to be rational in that matter though, and went with a more summer-inspired dish to prepare, since I figured I would end up regretting it if I didn't...so I baked a plum crumble.
Plums have long been one of my favorite summer fruits. I feel like I say this about most fruit during the summer, but plums really are one of my favorites. I love that they're small and simple to eat, and there's nothing more wonderful than slicing a plum open in half and seeing such a beautiful contrast of color; the dark purple, almost black skin next to the bright pink or red flesh of the plum is just gorgeous. This is of course not to say that other types of plums are less delicious! My mom would always buy plums that were greenish-yellow, and I could never decide if I loved eating them more because of their taste, or their unusual coloring. Either way, I loved them! This plum crumble is a delicious way to use up fresh plums, which are still in season during late summer, making them the perfect fruit to use in a simple dessert like this.
A crumble couldn't be any simpler to put together; it's really just a matter of assembling all the ingredients together! Simply toss the sliced fruit together with a little sugar, orange juice, and vanilla to enhance the natural flavor of the plums, and pour into a pie dish. The crumble topping comes together in a matter of minutes, and then gets sprinkled over the top of the prepared fruit. The crumble is baked, and once the fruit juices start bubbling, you know the crumble is ready. It can be served warm or at room temperature, with fresh whipped cream, or even vanilla ice cream! I enjoyed my plum crumble after dinner, as a yummy way to end my day, but I would go as far as thinking that this would make a really delicious option for a lazy summer breakfast...maybe with a little vanilla Greek yogurt on the side! Mmmm, I'm going to have to try that out soon...good thing plums will still be in season for a little longer!
slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds plums, pitted and sliced (I sliced each plum into 8 wedges)
3 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed, divided
1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie dish with baking spray.
Combine the sliced plums, orange juice, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar in a bowl, and toss lightly to combine. Add the plums to the prepared pie dish, and spread them out evenly in the dish.
In a separate small bowl, combine the butter, oats, flour, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Working with your fingers, rub the ingredients together until small crumbs begin to form.
Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Roast the crumble until the topping has browned and is crisp, and the fruit is bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool slightly. The crumble can be served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Makes 1 9-inch crumble, enough for 4-6 servings