Sweet and Tart
The season of Italian plums, or prugne, has begun. Finding the little yellow, purple, and red gems amongst the green leafy lettuces and bursting tomatoes is like stumbling upon a treasure. Still young, these plums are tart and sour with a hint of sweetness. Just the way I like them, and the perfect accompaniment to a lightly sweet crisp.
Plums love to be baked, infusing their deep colours and reducing into a rich jam. Here they are paired with hazelnuts in both the crust and the crisp, which lend a nutty and earthy layer to this dessert (or, why not, breakfast!).
July 1 will mark Canada's 150-year anniversary. (More specifically, that of Canadian Confederation. Of course, people have lived in Canada for much longer than 150 years.) On July 1, we can celebrate one hundred and fifty years of a land of freedom and equality -- not to mention, beauty, too. A land to which people from all over the world come to live, including my own relatives, my husband and his, and those of essentially everyone I know.
People all across Canada will participate in celebrations, unique to their region, and lots of initiatives have been put in place to encourage citizens to enjoy the country at its fullest (such as free passes to national parks!). It is truly a pity that I will miss this monumental event in my home country.
You may be wondering: what does this have to do with a plum hazelnut crisp bar? Well, crisps of any sort (but mostly apple) remind me of Canada, and plums, of summer. Summer + Canada = Canada Day. Simple as that.
Plum hazelnut crisp bars
- 100 g 00 flour
- 100 g hazelnut flour (toasted and finely ground hazelnuts)
- 60 g cane sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 120 g butter
- 400 g small plums, chopped into quarters
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 tbsp 00 flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp rum
- 50 g hazelnut flour
- 100 g rolled oats
- 35 g maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 35 g butter
Line a square baking pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter in small pieces. With your fingertips (or using a food processor), slowly incorporate the butter into the dry mixture by pressing little pieces between your fingers. Continue until the mixture almost comes together completely. Press it into the pan, creating an even layer. Blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
Cut the plums into small pieces and mix with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and rum. Set aside.
Combine the flour, oats, maple syrup, and salt in a bowl. Use the same method as before to incorporate the butter, but this time stop when the mixture turns into small grains, which will be sandy in texture.
Spoon the plums onto the base in an even layer, then top with the crisp. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the plums are bubbling and the crisp is golden.
Set aside to cool completely and then cut into bars. Serve with ice cream, of course.
Happy Canada Day!