We seem to be having an endless Summer, sorry I don't mean to gloat to those in cooler climes. Since early December it has been one long hot Summer. Today is officially Autumn, but the weather still says summer as do the cicadas and sadly the mozzies as well. The mozzies seem to have a voracious appetite for my Scottish blood. If you don't want to get bitten just sit next to me.
It can't however last forever so it is time to make the most of Summer's fruit bounty.
Plum and Peach Crisp, from 101 Cookbooks.
101 Cookbooks is one of my favourite blogs and if you haven't checked it out, you should. Heidi is a master at fresh, healthy food that is delicious and good for you all at the same time. This recipe is a perfect example of that, substituting some of the butter in the crisp with yoghurt for a somewhat healthier option while not sacrificing any flavour and keeping that slightly chewy come crunchy topping.
I happened to have nectarines on hand so I used them in place of the peaches, but really any of your favourite summer stone fruit would work. The orange blossom water is optional, and it would taste delicious without it, but it does add an exotic aromatic note.
500g / 1lb ripe peaches or nectarines
500g / 1lb ripe plums
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp orange blossom, no more, it packs a perfumed punch
For the crisp
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A good pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup natural yoghurt, I used Greek style as I like the richness.
Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
Remove the stones from the fruit and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place the chopped fruit in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate small bowl whisk together the 1/4 cup of sugar and the cornflour. Sprinkle over the fruit and mix gently together to combine. Add the orange blossom water if you are using and mix again. Place the fruit in a tart pan.
To make the crisp mix together the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Stir in the butter, add the yogurt and mix everything together until it resembles a dough like mixture. Dollop the crumble over the fruit and place in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crisp. Sprinkle with a little sugar and serve warm with some whipped cream, a little creme fraiche or some ice cream...
The last batch of ice cream was finished so I could allow myself to replenish my stocks. The only decision was what flavour, I seem to have an ever growing list of ice creams I want to make. I liked the exotic fragrance of the orange blossom water and thought a little in the ice cream would allow it to complement the plum and nectarine crisp.
Orange Blossom Ice Cream
Makes 1 litre
1 3/4 cups cream
vanilla seeds from 2 vanilla pods
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 cup milk, full fat no discussion.
3/4 cup sugar, divided
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
Place the cream, orange zest, vanilla seeds and pods in a small saucepan. Bring to just a simmer, you will see little bubbles start to form around the edge. Remove from the heat and let the flavours infuse for 20-30 minutes.
In a medium saucepan place the milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm through to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile in a good sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the hot milk mixture to the eggs slowly, in a steady stream, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. It is ready when the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Be careful not to let it boil.
To be on the safe side you can have a basin full of ice cold water ready to go. If it looks like the custard is about to curdle place the pot in the ice bath and whisk vigorously!
Allow the custard to cool. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream and add the orange blossom water. Strain the mixture in to the custard. Apply a little pressure to ensure that you get every last little bit of flavour out of the vanilla seeds and orange zest, besides I like my ice cream flecked with little speckles of vanilla.
Cool the custard thoroughly, in an ice bath or over night in the fridge. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place in a container and pop in the freezer for about an hour.
Nothing really beats homemade ice cream, I am a total addict. The perfect accompaniment to the plum and nectarine crisp. The sweet scented fruit, the syrupy cerise juices and a crunchy come chewy topping with a little warmth from the cinnamon worked wonders with the cool, creamy, orange blossom scented ice cream.