Wheatless Wednesday – Santa Rosa Plum Crisp

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Plum Crisp8

Looking for a simple 4th of July or summer dessert?  How about an easy Stone Fruit Crisp? Plums are in season right now as are other stone fruits like peaches, cherries and nectarines. Crisps are very forgiving to make as there is little that can go wrong, no crust to make or fruit to arrange. Just cut up your favorite fruit, sprinkle it with a yummy topping and bake. The beauty of this dessert is it’s simplicity.  This recipe is easily made vegan and gluten free and for a dessert, it’s pretty nutritious.  The oats and almond flour combined with the fruit and dates are loaded with vitamins and minerals ( and fiber, of course).   As an added bonus, your kitchen will smell divine!

I have a wonderfully prolific Santa Rosa plum tree in my garden in California.  Usually I make plum jam which I put on toast or in my yogurt for the rest of the year.  This spring in California has been so dry and warm that my plums were ripe and falling off my tree almost before I realized I was losing my crop.  So right before my summer move to Maine, I gathered everything I could reach and decided to take them with me since I didn’t have time to do anything with them in California.  I ‘smuggled’ the plums and some Meyer lemons, also from my garden, to Maine in my suitcase which I checked. I didn’t dare carry it on, since one of my friends once took home some of my lemons in her carry-on and security thought they were hand grenades. (Well they are rather large lemons!)   I decided it was not worth the risk of possibly having to dump them so packed them in with my shoes and extra clothes and hoped for the best.

Preserved Lemons2

The lemons made the trip very well but a few of the plums got a bit bruised on their journey and are no longer quite as perfect for eating, so I decided to make a plum crisp.  Since I have yet to do a complete restocking of my pantry, I had to make do with what I had on hand, even tearing open individual sugar packets to toss with the plums (after which, of course, I found the tin of sugar hiding up on the top shelf).  Like I said, this is a very forgiving dessert…

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TIPS:  Most fruit crisp recipes call for wheat flour but I opted to go grain free and use almond flour, although almost any flour would work as a thickening agent and in the topping as well.  I added pecans and almonds to the topping for added crunch as well as dates for extra chewy sweetness but both are optional.  If you don’t use nuts, just add a bit more flour and oats so there is enough topping to cover the fruit.   I usually prefer desserts that are one dedicated fruit but crisps are also good with a mixture of cut up fruits if that is what you have on hand.  This is  great way to make an amazing dessert out of leftover or less than perfect pieces of fruit.  Instead of throwing them out, just cut out the bad spots.  They will still taste delicious!

Santa Rosa Plum Crisp

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Plum Crisp2

4 cups plums, pits removed and chopped

1 Tbsn coconut, oat or almond flour (white or wheat work too)

2 Tbsn sugar (honey, agave necter, etc.)-more if your fruit is under ripe or sour

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping:

1/2 cup flour (made from any grain or legume)

1/2 cup oats (not instant or fast cooking)

1/2 cup pecans or almonds, finely chopped(optional)

1/4 cup dates, pitted and finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

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  • Combine plums, flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.  Pour into an ungreased baking dish or pie pan

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  • Mix together all topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly.

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  • Spread topping evenly over the plum mixture
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Plums should be bubbling and the topping a golden brown.
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream (optional)

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Meatless Monday – Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

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Cauliflower Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Mushrooms and Carmelized Onions

Yes, a pizza crust made with cauliflower!  Much to my carb fearing husband’s dismay, I really like pizza.  He actually likes it too but not what it does to his waistline.  I, however, can’t resist.  I love deep dish, thin crust, thick crust, flat bread, you name it.  So I was very excited to stumble upon this recipe for pizza made with a flour free crust in the “Vegetarian Everyday” cookbook (by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl).  The recipe calls for cauliflower which sounds completely crazy but I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was not disappointed.  The crust also includes ground almonds, which I have learned can be used for half of the flour in most baking and cooking recipes.  Almond flour and almond meal are interchangeable in recipes.  Almond flour is made from peeled, blanched almonds while almond meal includes the skin. I used almond meal that I found easily at Trader Joes.  “It is gluten free.  Half a cup of ground almonds contains 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 of which are fiber, for a net carb count of 4.  That half cup also contains 10 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat and 273 calories” (www.about.com).  Compare that with 1/2 cup white flour which has 47.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.7 grams of fiber, 6.5 grams protein, .61 grams of fat and 228 calories.  Since almond meal is nutrient rich but also calorie dense, combining it with cauliflower makes for a nutritious, low carb and surprisingly yummy pizza.

Pizza Crust
1 head cauliflower
¾ cup ground almonds (almond flour or almond meal)
1Tbsp dried oregano
3 large eggs, beaten
Pizza Toppings
 
1 medium onion
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz mixed mushrooms (crimini, portobello, etc)
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup any combination shredded cheeses (mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, asiago, provolone )
  • Chop garlic and place in a small bowl with the olive oil and let sit to blend the flavors while you prepare the crust.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.
  • Roughly chop the cauliflower then blend it in a food processor until it’s a fine rice-like texture.
  • Measure 3 cups of the cauliflower mixture and place in a mixing bowl.  Add the ground almonds, oregano and salt and pepper and mix with your hands.  Make a well in the center and add the eggs.  Use your hands to pull the dry ingredients towards the middle until everything is combined and you can shape it into a ball.  It should be more loose and sticky than traditional pizza dough.
  • Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan and form into a pizza shape by flattening the dough with your hands.  Make the edges slightly higher.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Cauliflower Pizza crust

  • While the crust is baking. Slice the onion and saute the slices over medium high heat in 1 Tbsp olive oil mixture until golden, keeping the rings intact.  Flip them like pancakes to cook the other side.  Break the rings apart and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Saute a few more minutes, then remove from pan and reserve
  • Wipe the mushrooms with a damp papertowel and slice. Sautee them over medium high heat in 1 Tbsp olive oil mixture for a few minutes, or until they start to lose their water. Remove from pan and reserve.

Mushrooms and onions

  • Remove the pizza from the oven.  Spoon the remaining olive oil mixture over the pizza crust, spreading evenly. Add most of the cheeses then top with onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
  •  Return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes. Serve immediately. Does not reheat well.

Cauliflower Pizza