Fruit Bruschetta

This looks just so wonderful! If you haven’t tried fruit with balsamic vinegar, you’re in for a treat. The idea comes from a Polish gourmet blog by way of Pinterest. It’s simple and sublime!

Ingredients

Several slices of sourdough bread

8 ounces of fresh goat cheese (chèvre)

Several ripe plums and 4 ounces of fresh raspberries

Two tablespoons of honey

1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar, olive oil for drizzling

Fresh thyme and rosemary

Directions

Toast or grill slices of bread on both sides. Drizzle olive oil on toasted bread and spread goat cheese on one side.

Cut plums in half and remove stones. Put in small pot, add honey and thyme. Cook over low heat for a few minutes until plums are tender but not falling apart. Spoon plums onto prepared toasts and drizzle with some of the fruit syrup in pot.

Put half of the raspberries into the pot with the remaining syrup, add balsamic vinegar and chopped rosemary. Heat until the raspberries just break down. Add remaining raspberries and stir. Spoon fruit onto prepared toasts and drizzle with fruit syrup.

Eat while warm.

 

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Crumbly Plum Tarte

Oh, good grief! Just what I need for plum season! And so many of my favorite characteristics for a dessert: crunch, chew, fruit (and it’s my favorite: damson plums!), crumbles, the perfect foil for whipped cream…need I go on?

 

 

 

 

 

Crust and crumbs
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), chilled, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup (1 3/4 ounces of 49 grams) hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Filling
1 pound ripe but firm plums (about 4 standard black ones or 12 smaller Italian plums; I used a mix of both)
1 tablespoon (8 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grated nutmeg, optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes, then let cool enough to remove the skins.* Place nuts in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until medium fine, about 30 pulses.

Transfer nuts to the bowl of an electric mixer and add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix until just combined. Add butter, and mix on low speed until crumbs begin to stick together, about 2 to 3 minutes. Press 3 cups of crumb into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan to form crust; I like to use the bottom and side of a heavy measuring cup to help press the crumbs neatly down and up the side, forming a nice inner corner. Set remaining crumb mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) aside. Transfer crust to the oven; bake until it appears to be set, 15 to 20 minutes; go easy on this baking time as I found it was easy to overbake the outer corners of the tart base in the final baking. It’s going to slump a wee bit in the oven; feel free to press the sides back up the sides with the back of a metal spoon when it comes out of the oven to get them back in place. Set aside to cool.

Slice plums in half, and remove pits. Slice larger plums into eighths and smaller ones into quarters and arrange in cooled crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, egg yolk, heavy cream, milk, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few gratings of fresh. Pour custard over fruit; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Transfer tart to the oven; bake until custard has set and is slightly golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before cutting if serving warm. You can serve this warm or at room temperature but we much preferred it fully chilled.

On toasting and skinning hazelnuts: The trick to getting the skins off it to toast them quite well; keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, but let them get some color. That extra color will translate to deeper flavor and looser skins. Some people like to rub the nuts in a dishtowel to loosen the skins. Or, with dry hands, roll a few together between palms until the skins come off and the mess stays on the tray. In general, I almost never get all of the skins off but it doesn’t matter; as long as most of the skins are removed, you won’t have any nagging bitterness.

Once again, the recipe brilliance (and alluring photo) are thanks to Deb at Smitten Kitchen. I am really in her debt:)

 

And no, you didn’t miss the cheese ingredient. It isn’t in here. For once.

 

 

 

Pink Lemonade Jam

If you love sensuous, dark and tangy jam with (or even without) your goat cheese, this is one to try. The plums, blueberries and lemon juice, pulp and rind blend into a lovely sweet and tart syrupy glaze for the cheese, toast, bagels, pound cake or whatever you want to put it on! You can make a half-recipe if you like. I made the whole one, and my kitchen smelled GREAT! And it really does taste like pink lemonade…for adults.

Starting to cook the plums and blueberries down. What luscious colors!

Ingredients

1 grapefruit or 2 lemons (I used lemons)
6 pounds of washed, halved and stoned firm dark plums
2 pounds blueberries
8 pounds sugar
2 Cups water

METHOD

Wash citrus and slice very thin. Place citrus in pan together with water and bring to a low simmer for approx. 30 minutes. Do not allow it to boil dry. Put cooked fruit in blender and blend until smooth.

Mix blended lemon, prepared plums and berries and cook slowly until the fruit is soft and pulpy. At this stage you can blend the fruit to a smooth consistency with a stab blender, or simply use a potato masher to break it down further.

The color, taste and allure just get better as it cooks down.

Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil for at least 30 minutes or until the setting point is reached.

Bottle into sterilised jars, and process them for 15 min in a boiling water bath to seal.

I know it doesn't look like pink lemonade, but it tastes like an earthy, complex version -- yummy!

Yield: About 8 pints
Thanks to inmamaskitchen.com for this lovely recipe!

Sweet Cheese Patties in Plums and Sauce

This is a wonderful and unusual dessert, that comes from the German food blog Deichrunner’s Kueche:

250 grams or 1 cup (8 ounces) quark or fresh goat cheese

50 grams or ¼ cup ground almonds

50 grams or ¼ cup plain bread crumbs

80 grams or 1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

600 grams or 2 ½ cups prune (damson) plums

5 Tbsp. orange juice

1 tsp orange zest

½ tsp cinnamon

30 grams or 3 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Spoon quark or fresh goat cheese into a clean kitchen towel and press to remove excess liquid. Mix together with ground almonds, half of the bread crumbs, ¼ of the sugar and vanilla extract, using the dough hook of your mixer. Mix until it becomes a smooth and even mixture. Put this mixture into the refrigerator for 10 min.

Wash, pit, and halve the plums. Combine orange juice, zest, cinnamon and remaining sugar and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, then add plums and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand while you proceed with the next step.

Using moistened hands, form 8 coin-shaped patties from the cheese mixture, and then roll them in the remaining breadcrumbs. Melt butter in a flat pan, then lay the patties in the butter and brown them on each side for 3 – 4 min. Rewarm the plums, then move the patties to a plate and pour the plums over them. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Valençay (soft ripened goat cheese) with Cherries and Plums

Serves 4

Savory salad for those who love fruit...and cheese

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This recipe comes from Laura Werlin’s book Cheese Essentials, with additional comments from Artisanal Cheese of NYC, and me!

We who live in NW Michigan love our cherries. It turns out that cherries and goat cheese go well together.  Rather than creating something sweet with the cherries, why not give them a savory slant instead? The following recipe gives you a salad course with sweet, tangy, and earthy flavors all in one bite. Don’t worry if you can’t find Valençay; other goat cheeses work just as well.

Ingredients

½ pound fresh Bing cherries, pitted and cut in quarters (or use a combination of cherries that are in season in your area)
1 pound purple plums, pitted and cut into ¼-inch slices (or use a variety of plums such as Elephant Heart, Green Gage, or whatever is in season)
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
1 piece Valençay cheese, about 7 ounces (or use Humboldt Fog, aged Birchbark Farm Baby Cakes, or other soft-ripened or fresh goat cheese)

Directions

In a medium-size bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the cheese. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the mixture for up to 6 hours, but do not add the basil until you’re ready to serve.

To cut the cheese: If using Valençay, cut the cheese horizontally two-thirds of the way down. Cut both pieces into quarters by criss-crossing to make a total of 8 triangular pieces. If using a different cheese, cut into 8 equal pieces.

To serve, distribute the cherry mixture on 8 small plates. Lay a piece of cheese next to the mixture and serve.