Saturday morning we woke up early with a chill in the air. It has become a regular thing, the nip that autumn brings. However the forecast for the day boasted an afternoon much more like summer. So we decided to dress quickly, packing extra jackets and adding leg warmers underneath the babe's blue jeans to guard us from the morning chill, and visit a favorite park in our neighboring canyon. Our plans were to see the colors of the changing leaves, but we will have to go back sometime next month because the trees in the park were a vibrant green, with a few spots of red and yellow creeping down the mountainside. It might give comfort to those still holding on to summer that you're not alone, even mother nature is taking her time.
I have been mixing temperatures and flavors in our meals like the seasons have been blending during the day, summer squash filled with hot curried grains, roasted winter squash atop cool crisp greens, late summer stone fruit with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. I don't think there are many things as wonderful as freshly grated nutmeg. It is the epitomal scent of early autumn to me. Invigorating and fresh like summer while simultaneously comforting and cozy like fall. It's a good spice to use in abundance when you find yourself indecisive about which you love best, because it lets you enjoy both.
this is more of a granola atop fresh fruit wilted in the oven kind of recipe. so perfect.
late summer stone fruit crumble
3 or 4 large peaches, pitted and sliced
7 or 8 italian prune plums, halved and pitted - I got mine from lindsey
1 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried fruit such as golden raisins, currants, bing cherries
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 - 3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
pinch of cloves and ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil, butter, or natural shortening - softened
Combine cut fruit in baking dish.
Mix oats, coconut, almonds, dried fruit, brown sugar and spices in a separate bowl. Add oil/butter and mix with your (clean) hand until well incorporated and crumbly, after all it is named 'crumble' for a reason.
Sprinkle oat mixture on top of fruit, bake in preheated 325 - 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes or until golden and very very fragrant. I like using the lower temperature because then the dried fruits in the topping don't scorch, although it will take a bit longer than the higher temperature so plan accordingly.
Taste for done-ness by spooning a bit of the topping out, letting cool, and if it has a good crunch you're ready to go. Serve with thick vanilla whipped cream or vanilla bean speckled coconut cream (recipe below) and a sprinkle of fresh cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Try adding the dried fruits to the fresh fruit instead of the crumble topping.
- Use this crumble topping for any other fruit in season, berries, apples, pears, etc. although if you use it for apples be sure to add sugar to the fruit before adding the crumble topping.
- If you want to, feel free to add sugar to the peaches and plums before covering with the crumble, but it is unnecessary if your fruit is ripe.
- Italian prune plums are freestone fruits that are sweeter rather than tart like their cling and pucker worthy cousins. Use the italian prune plums if you can, although you can substitute them with any other stone fruit.
vanilla bean speckled coconut cream
1 can coconut cream
sugar, to taste
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 - 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Shake the can of coconut cream well, empty into bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk in sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until it's at the level of sweetness you prefer. Add vanilla bean seeds or extract and refrigerate until thickened, stirring every hour if you notice it separating. You can also add a bit of milk (we use rice/almond) if it is too thick. Store in refrigerator until right before serving as it melts quickly.
Maybe freezing the coconut cream for an hour or so before dessert with a few whisks in between will make it better?
I have also made coconut cream by letting the can of coconut milk sit for a day, then refrigerating it for another day. Cut the can open, and spoon off the top creamy part. Add a bit of maple syrup and vanilla extract/bean, or you could salt it and use it in place of cream cheese on tomato sandwiches. Keep in the refrigerator. Use the watery part in smoothies or as ice cubes in pineapple lemonade.