Summertime is harvest time for sweet stone fruits: apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and plumcots, a hybrid of a plum and an apricot. Plumcots have been around at least since the days of Luther Burbank, who named them. They’re also known as apriplums.
The trouble with stone fruits is that doggone stone. Some stone fruits — the clingstone variety — have pits that are almost impossible to remove. Others — the freestone variety — are a cinch. You simply slice them in half along the natural seam that runs from the top to the bottom of the fruit, then pop out the pit.
Oddly enough, there are usually no labels advising us whether the fruits we’re buying are clingstone or freestone. If indeed you end up with the clingstone guys, don’t despair. Instead of popping the pit out of the flesh, just cut the flesh off the pit.
Here’s how: Set the fruit on the counter, stem-end up. Then, using a sharp knife, slice down from top to bottom, doing your best to steer away from the pit in the center of the fruit. If you miscalculate and bang into the pit on the way down, just pull up the knife, adjust the angle of attack and carry on. Then slice off the remaining half. Finally, cut off the strips of flesh left on either side of the fruit and discard the pit. The fruit is now ready to be cut and used however you want … such as in this delightful stone fruit crumble.
Most crumbles require a crust composed of several ingredients: flour and/or oats, nuts, sugar, butter and spices. I’ve streamlined that step by calling for store-bought granola. (Flavor? Your choice.) Most crumbles also call for sugar in the fruit part of the recipe. I’ve replaced it here with raspberry jam … although any jam will do the trick.
This crumble works equally well with ripe and not-so-ripe fruit. It’s also a smash whether you choose just one kind of fruit or a mix. (I prefer to mix them up.) One last note: It makes no difference if you serve this dessert hot, cold, or at room temperature. And for good measure, be sure to top it off with a scoop of ice cream.
QUICK STONE FRUIT CRUMBLE
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 60 minutes
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 tablespoons cornstarch
About 2 pounds mixed stone fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, plumcots), cut into slices about 1/3-rd inch thick
2 cups sweetened granola
2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
Vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan melt the preserves. Meanwhile in a 2-quart 8- or 9-inch-square baking dish, sprinkle the cornstarch and a pinch of salt over the fruit; toss well.
Add the melted jam and stir well; spread the fruit out to make an even layer. Bake the fruit on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
In a bowl toss the granola with the butter. Remove the fruit from the oven and sprinkle the granola evenly over the top. Bake for 10 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving topped with the ice cream.
Makes 6 servings.