Septemberissima

Plum & Amaretti Crumble

It’s September and I can’t stop thinking about Italy.

I guess it’s my way of not thinking about closed-toed shoes and the blurry-eyed, dark drives into work that are just around the corner. In fact, I’m so obsessed with Italy at the moment that I’ve taken to using the only three Italian expressions that I know—grazi, caio and prego—around the house.

My youngest ponytail looked at me with an odd expression at breakfast this weekend and said: “did you say pregnant?” Definitely not. No chance there. Thank you, but no. “I said you’re welcome . . . in Italian, and if you’re really, really, really good maybe we’ll go there someday.”

Because if I have my way, we’ll go there next summer as a family to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. But alas, it’s still a dream of mine. I just need to convince the rest of my family that we need to go there . . . and then start saving my pennies loonies wherever humanly possible.

To keep my family in the right frame of mind, I’ve enlisted a little help from the domestic goddess and what has become my favourite Nigella cookbook: Nigellissima. I’ve already made three recipes from the book and I’ve flagged about 10 more to make as soon as possible. (And all three recipes have been highly rated by the ponytails!)

Given that plums are abundant in September, I decided to make Nigella’s Ruby-Red Plum & Amaretti Crumble this weekend. I really think that plums are an under-rated fruit, but this crumble could change all that. The crumble was wonderful and the amaretti in the topping is pure genius, if you ask me. I’ll be making this one again . . . soon!

So for all of you who love Italy as much as I do, I have one important question for you: Positano, Venice or Rome? Or perhaps all three?

Before I sign off, I must apologize for disappearing from the blogsphere this summer. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will say that it has been a challenging year in a number of ways. I’ll do my best to stay in touch when I can . . . I hope you understand. I certainly have missed connecting with all of you and hope things turn around this fall.

Ciao for now!

Ruby-Red Plum & Amaretti Crumble

From Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima

For the fruit base:

4 ounces Amaretti cookies

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2-1/4 pounds red plums, quartered if large, halved if small, pits removed

2 tbsp sugar

zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (unwaxed)

For the crumble topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

7 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into osmall dice

3 tbsp sugar

1 9″ ovenproof pie dish

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and slip in a baking sheet at the same time. Put the amaretti into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin or similar, until reduced to coarse crumbs, then decant them into a bowl.
  • Melt the two tablespoons of butter in a large pan (that has a lid), add the prepared plums, sprinkle in the two tablespoons of sugar, add the lemon zest and juice and shake the pan over the heat, cooking for two minutes without a lid and two further minutes with the lid on. These timings are based on having plums that are ripe: if the fruit is disappointingly unyielding, be prepared to cook for longer with the lid on, checking frequently. You may need to add the juice of the remaining half lemon – and more sugar – if cooking for much longer.
  • Pour the plums (with care – they’re hot) into a 23x6cm/9x3in deep ovenproof pie dish and set to one side. Already the red skins will have made a gorgeous garnet gravy. Sprinkle in two tablespoons of your amaretti crumble.
  • To make the crumble the easy way, put the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a freestanding mixer, shake to mix, then add the small cold butter cubes and beat, not too fast, with the flat paddle until you have a mixture rather like large-flaked oatmeal. Or you can do this by hand, just by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingers.
  • Add the sugar and mix with a fork, then tip in the rest of the amaretti crumbs and use a fork to mix again. Pour the mixture over the waiting fruit in its pie dish, making sure you cover right to the edges to stop too much leakage: although for me, some of the rich-hued syrup spurting out over the crumble topping is essential.
  • Place on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes; you should see some ruby bubbling at the edges, and the top will be scorched gold in places. If you can bear it, let this stand for 10-15 minutes before eating, with ice cream, whipped cream or mascarpone.

Digging in

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66 Comments on “Septemberissima”

  1. Have never had Plum & Amaretti Crumble before but it sounds delicious.

  2. A_Boleyn says:

    The recipe sounds very tasty and the picture is gorgeous.

  3. Kristy says:

    No need to apologize at all! Life does that to use. I hope that your challenges will soon be behind you and that you’ll be stronger because of them!

    Your crumble looks heavenly! I would certainly take a big slice. :) And who could blame you for day dreaming of Italy?! I do it often. I’ve never been to Positano, but I loved Rome and Venice.

  4. cookazido says:

    Your crumble looks delicious! I wouldn’t have thought to use plums. I don’t blame you for dreaming of Italy either. My husband and I would like to go sometime, and also to Greece. I would love to see Tuscany. I hope the fall months are better for you. I struggle to keep up with blogging as well. It could very easily be a full time job. So nice to see your post.

  5. I hope you get your dream Italian holiday my friend :D
    Till then keep saying ‘pregnant’ :P and eat this delicious crumble!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  6. Hey, we missed you for three months. Good to see you back! Viva Italia! :D

  7. GLad to see you back, sorry to hear you’re summer has been challenging. But this looks great, Hope you get that holiday!

  8. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Barb!! Welcome back. We’ve missed you. Totally understand life getting in the way of blogging though.
    Really lovely recipe. Nigella just rocks doesn’t she! Her recipes work beautifully every time. That second photo is just gorgeous – I want to tuck my spoon right into it.
    Positano, Venice or Rome? I’ve never seen Positano (although it’s on my bucket list) but Venice and Rome – a resounding YES to both. Venice is so beautiful it almost made me cry, and Rome needs to be seen to be believed. Keep saving those pennies! We were there more than 10 years ago but I still remember the one and only phrase we learned: ‘una bottiglia d’acqua senza gas per favore’ (a bottle of water without gas please).

    • Thanks for the tips for Italy. Venice wasn’t on the radar before but now it does seem like a must. I hear that kids love it there and friends say St. Marks square at night is magical for kids with the dueling musicians. Please cross your fingers for me. I haven’t been to Europe in 10 years since our honeymoon. Ciao!

  9. This looks beautiful! My Nana Rosie always bakes yams with an amaretti topping for Thanksgiving. Now I have another reason/recipe to use the Amaretto in my cupboard.

  10. ohlidia says:

    Glad to see you back… and if I had to pick only one, Positano! Ciao!

  11. Love your crumble, Barb, and so nice to hear from you again! I know what you mean about a challenging year so far. We’ve had our own version of that. I hope you get your trip to Italy! I’ve only been to Rome, but it was wonderful. I have a friend who lives outside of Cortona and would love to go back and visit. Now I have both plums and Italy on my brain! Hope all is well with you and your family. :)

    • Great to hear from you! Cortona sounds wonderful . . . makes me think of the book Under the Tuscan Sun as that is where her villa was located. Imagine the wonderful posts you could write after a visit there. You must go Betsy! Things are good here. Hopefully your version of challenging is behind you now.

  12. Your plum crumble looks wonderful and I sure hope your dream to visit Italy next summer works out! I have a number of places that I would like to visit on my wish list as well…Italy is one of them! Welcome back!

  13. ChgoJohn says:

    Good to see you back, Barb, and we all know that there are times when blogging has to take a back seat. I hope things have settled down for you somewhat.
    This is a spectacular looking crumble. Those plums really do make a difference. I’ve been to all 3 cities, Barb, and each would be make a perfect destination. It all depends upon what you want to see and do. :)

    • Thanks for your kind words John. I’m glad that we can’t go wrong regardless of which city we choose. You know, I think we may just end up in all three places. We are getting close to making a decision…so please wish me luck. I’ll be looking for more suggestions from you if we do decide to go!

  14. Norma Chang says:

    Welcome back, no need to apologize. I will have a huge slice with ice cream, please.

  15. Huge fan of crumbles! Yum!

  16. Fig & Quince says:

    So happy to have you back! I kept waiting for a new post & love the red plum crumble – yum yum. Hope you get to experience your Italian trip. You should check out one of my favorite blogs: http://florastable.com/ it is run by a super nice Italian couple I think you’ll enjoy it xo

  17. Welcome back! I use the term pronto when I can to answer my phone – Italy is my favourite holiday destination :)

  18. Charles says:

    Hi Barb, you’ve been gone so long! I missed you! I hope everything is ok at home – things can be super busy and time-consuming sometimes can’t they!

    Love the look of this crumble – plums are great in crumbles… gorgeous rich flavour, and the colour too!

    • I’ve missed you too Charles. It feels good to be back into things again…although I am not going to be able to be as active as I’d like. I read your recent post …with the adorable picture of a little hand creeping across the table. I’ll be by to say hello on your blog very soon. Take care!

  19. Eva Taylor says:

    So there you are! Welcome back my friend, hopefully things have slowed down to a more manageable rate so you can get back into the more important things like commenting and blogging ;p!
    Septemberissima is right on…loving the thought of celebrating your tenth wedding anniversary in Italy, what are the exact dates we should block off? Traveling to Europe in the fall is definitely our favourite time of year, and doing it now before the girls get into the older grades is probable a good idea. I hope you choose Venice because it is a very Romantic City.
    Plums are definitely a fruit used in many Hungarian desserts, and seeing them in this old North American favourite is quite lovely. My Mom used to make Plum Dumplings (Silvás Gombocz) which is a whole pitted plum entirely encased in a tasty dumpling dough (I think it may even have been potato dumpling) and boiled, then removed and rolled in a sugar and bread crumb mixture and then lightly fried in butter and served with a large scoop of sour cream. Oh my, it’s making my mouth water as I type this! I will make it for you one day, although it’s rather decadent so I’ll have to pick the time when I serve a slightly lighter meal.

    • I would love to try your mom’s recipe for plum dumplings! We have to get together again soon! We would have to go to Italy in the summer because of the girls’ school schedule and there is a financial incentive to go during the summer because it would save two weeks worth of camp fees. We know that it will be busy — but it is our time for travel. That’s the reason I’m already thinking about it — so that we can book well in advance for accommodations and flights. I’ll tell you more when I see you next. Hope you had fun this weekend at the cottage! Talk soon!

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Thanks Barb, yes the timing won’t be the best but then again that’s when my parents traveled with us too and we really loved it. I’m going to make them this weekend, hope they turn out so I can blog about them!

  20. Karen says:

    Have missed you and sorry to hear it has been because of challenging times, welcome back. What a wonderful sounding dessert, it is very Italian in its flavors. Start saving those loonies…you will love your trip to Italy, wherever you decide to go. :)

  21. Glad to see you post again!! Love plums– I agree they are under rated– and delicious, but I’ve never made them into a crumble/cobbler. Thanks for the recipe!1

  22. laurasmess says:

    Hello there lovely! I feel like it’s been months since I’ve chatted to you via the blogosphere! Sorry to hear that things haven’t been optimal. Hard times always make it difficult to continue a stream of blogging inspiration. I’m glad that you took time off to take care of yourself. Thinking of you xoxox P.S this crumble looks absolutely delicious. I love adding a splash of booze to fruit-based dishes so I cam imagine how gorgeous this Nigella recipe must be.

  23. Looks delish! I love a really crumbly crumble! And I’ve still got a few plums left:)

  24. It’s kinda long enought not seeing your post my friend…….
    this crumbled and crusty sounds very tasty and i guess it just perfert to give a nice kick to the plum dessert!

  25. Beautiful recipe!
    I’m with you, if I could live anywhere it would be Italy. :)

  26. So awesome. I love that oozy berry base left in the pan :)

  27. Love this crumble Barb! Especially the Amaretti cookies. YUM!

  28. Chandni Lahoti says:

    This is totally mouth-watering!

  29. Anneli says:

    I always say if I wasn’t Finnish I would want to be Italian! My dream is to go there with my husband and eat my way around! I love Italian food so much. I just found your blog and I look forward to following and seeing what you cook up.

  30. thebrookcook says:

    Your pictures are GORGEOUS!! This dish looks fabulous– what a great use for Amaretti cookies. I have only used them with pears– sounds like a nice combination with plums too.

  31. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for the follow! I miss Italy too…even though I was only over there for a week, it permanently etched it’s goodness into my being and I will forever long for a part of it. :) Wow, that sounds sappy doesn’t it? But it’s true! :D
    This looks molto delizioso! ;)

  32. bentodays says:

    I have never tried plums in a crumble before but this looks delicious!

  33. It’s a great recipe! (I am restricting, but, goodness, these are yummy!!!) You know what amazed me in Italy? Despite such gorgeous food – you hardly see any big people around! (Myself i had gained 8kg in my school year there, despite the gym, despite everything!) I am not sure, is it because they manage to be truly moderate – but it is amazing indeed!

  34. laurasmess says:

    I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy but sadly, I haven’t made it there yet! One day. Love the look of your gorgeous crumble. I am a bit obsessed with amaretti so it’s right up my alley! Gorgeous photos too x

  35. eating4241 says:

    I adore this recipe/cookbook, and really hope you get to Italy soon! Delicious :)

  36. Oh yum, this looks gorgeous – I do love nigella!

  37. bec {daisy and the fox} says:

    love nigella!!
    and what a delicious recipe – this look so good!!

  38. Dina says:

    Wow – this sounds and looks gorgeously delicious!

  39. Hehe I’m not sure that’s a word! Love the look of this though. And the way that the fruit bubbles through the crumble. Yum!

  40. Made me smile :-) I am in love with Italy too and I only know the very same three words – one day I plan to learn more :-)
    Love your story and the recipe – it looks so good!

  41. Lisa says:

    This looks incredible! I love amaretti cookies in desserts. I imagine this to be so juicy and flavorful, filled with great texture. Looks divine :)


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