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Plutot Crisp with Walnuts

(post, Cara Montgomery)

When the Whole Foods produce man said "Those are the best stone fruits we have", I was happy to full a large plastic bag with beautiful rosy plutots. I'm such a apricot girl, that I sometimes think other stone fruits don't receive the attention in my summer crisps that they merit. The plutot, part plum and part apricot, was surly created to bring some of apricot's elegance to the plum, gaining greater durability than the fragile apricot manages once parted from it's tree.

 W.F. was out of sliced blanched almonds, so I thought, let's try the crisp without nuts, but,when the time came to put out all together, I found a handful of walnuts in the refrigerator, which turned out to be an excellent addition. 
 
This crisp is made with only a little flour mixed into the fruit with the sugar, vanilla and salt. I use a white granulated sugar from W.F. that is labeled vegan. Is it well known that sugar used some animal industry products in it's processing? I am so glad of this alternative; every vegan food choice benefits an animal somewhere, and this is simply very good quality granulated sugar.

The topping has both ground ginger and vanilla mixed with the standard ingredients of flour , sugar and  butter- Whole Food has an excellent vegan butter that bakes beautifully and crisply. Before the crisp goes into the oven,a sprinkling of Penzey Vanilla sugar adds a coating of white with tiny flecks of black vanilla bean.

This crisp baked to the most beautiful color imaginable. Does anyone remember  reproductions of Spanish Still Life I and Spanish Still Life II, by Henri Matisse? When I visited the Hermitage in Leningrad many years ago in the 1970's,these paintings  were never even reproduced in Western art history books. Their background color was a revelation, a pumpkin tinted rose, glowing as if stained with some  magical wine. A similar color is found in the exquisite David Austin Rose "Abraham Darby", a stunning mix of yellows, apricots and pinks in random graduations within a complex composition of petals.
The plutots turned exactly this color while baking and the desert ,was as the saying goes, almost too beautiful to eat. Almost! In honor of the crisp, I am ordering an Emile Henri scalloped tart dish in a cheerful yellow and white from the Kitchen Works, a charming shop in Litchfield, Ct. The yellow and white porcelain dish filled with the rosy crisp, a small bouquet of summer flowers in a green glass vase and I will have picture worth a thousand words. 

The fruit in the crisp is a bit on the tart side, the crisp is crunchy and sweet. Walnuts are a perfect pairing with these plutots.

PLUTOT AND WALNUT CRISP

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a square baking pan.

Crisp topping:

Make the topping and refrigerate while putting together the fruit.

1 1/4 cup flour

1 skimpy teaspoon sea salt. 

3/4 cup vegan granulated sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 ounces or 1/2 cup vegan buttery spread

1/2 tsp. ground ginger, or more to taste

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix flour , ginger, salt and the sugar, over which the vanilla extract is sprinkled . Add cold butter and blend with a pastry blender or  blend by hand to a crumbly texture. Add the chopped nuts, mix well and refrigerate.

Fruit mixture:

A 12-16 plutos, unpeeled

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract sprinkled on the sugar

1/4- 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste 

1 large Tbsp. of flour.

Mix the dry ingredients first then quickly chop fruit into sections and gently toss. Pour into a baking dish, sprinkle with the topping and bake at 375 degrees for 30- 45 minutes. When the fruit bubbles and top begins to brown, the crisp is done. Delicious warm with vanilla ice cream or vanilla soy frozen desert.