Plum, Cardamom, And Hazelnut Crisp

Serves 8 to 10
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Adapted from the More from ACE Bakery cookbook

Hazelnuts, thought by the Ancient Chinese to be a sacred food sent to us from heaven, add a rich flavour and texture to the crisp topping. I’ve used fresh breadcrumbs and cubed bread instead of flour as well as hints of orange, cardamom, and white pepper mixed in with the plums.

Ingredients

12 to 14 ripe but firm prune plums, seeded and cut in halves or quarters, depending on size
4 large ripe but firm Angelino, Santa Rosa, or Friar plums, seeded and cut in eighths
½ tsp. (2.5 mL) packed orange zest
2 Tbps. (30 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. (1.2 mL) ground cardamom
⅛ tsp. (0.5 mL) freshly ground white pepper
½ heaping tsp. (2.5 mL) cornstarch
12 ½-inch (½-cm) slices fresh crustless white bread
4½-inch (1.2-cm) slices fresh, crustless white bread cut into ½-inch (1.2-cm) cubes
½ cup (60 mL) plus 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ heaping cup (60 mL) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup (180 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) cubes

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

In a large bowl, toss the plums with the orange zest, 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) brown sugar, cardamom, white pepper and cornstarch. You should have about 9 to 10 cups (2.1 to 2.4 L) of filling. Transfer to a shallow 8- × 12-inch (20- × 30-cm) oven-proof baking dish with a 2- to a 2½-inch (5- × 56-mm) lip. The plums should almost be level with the top of the dish.

Pulse the 12 slices of bread in a food processor until crumbs are about ⅛-inch (3-mm) in size. Toss the breadcrumbs, cubed bread, brown sugar, hazelnuts, and butter in a large bowl and spoon the mixture over the plums.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm, not hot, with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream.


Cook’s Tip
A sturdy melon baller will help you remove stubborn prune pits.

Linda Haynes is the co-founder of ACE Bakery and the award-winning author of the bestseller, "The ACE Bakery Cookbook". All royalties from this cookbook are given to organizations in support of food and nutrition programs that assist low-income members of the community, to culinary scholarships, and to organic farming initiatives. Royalties from "More from ACE Bakery" cookbook are donated to organizations that work with women and children in crisis.

Established in 1993, ACE Bakery is now one of North America's leading artisan bakeries, providing fresh and partially baked breads to customers across Canada, New York State, the Midwest and Northeast U.S.A., Louisiana and the Bahamas, as well as on Air Canada and Air France flights.


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