Spiced Plum Crostata

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pound unsalted butter, chilled, cut in pieces
2-3 Tbsp cold water

For the filling:
8 large plums, halved, pitted and sliced
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp flour

Prepare the pastry:

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and work into flour with fingertips until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to bind the dough. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk; wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Prepare the crostata:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss plums in a bowl with 4 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon; set aside.

Roll out dough into a 12 inch circle. Sprinkle 1 tablepoon sugar and 1 tablespoon flour in center of dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Mound plums over sugar and flour, reserving any juices that have collected in the bowl. Sprinkle plums with 1 tablespoon sugar. Fold border of dough up and around the plums. Bake in oven until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes; remove.

Pour reserved juices from the plums into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to syrup consistency, 3-4 minutes. Brush plums with syrup.

Serve crostata warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This recipe is also linked to...

Food on Friday: Plums

Summer Cake


6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
400 grams strawberries (hulled and halved), cherries (pitted and halved) and red currants


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.

Set aside 2 Tbsp of the sugar for sprinkling over the berries.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing just until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

Arrange berries in a single layer on top of the batter. Sprinkle the reserved 2 Tbsp sugar over the berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and back for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack.

Pineapple Picnic Cakes


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with paper liners. 

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 

Add the eggs, oil, pineapple and vanilla, mix until well blended. 

Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Julia Child's Peach Clafoutis


1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
3 ripe peaches, sliced
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cardamom, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan (about 2-3 minutes).

Remove from the heat and spread the peaches over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafoutis is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Custard with Fresh Berries


16 slices of cinnamon-raisin bread
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
Confectioners' sugar
Fresh berries, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Brush both sides of each bread slice with melted butter. Arrange the bread in the prepared dish in 2 even rows.

In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs with the egg yolks until blended. Whisk in the granulated sugar, milk, heavy cream and vanilla. Strain the milk mixture over the bread, pressing on the slices to make sure they're evenly moistened. At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan and pour enough warm water into the pan to reach halfway up the side of the dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is set. Transfer the baking dish to a rack and let the custard rest for 15 minutes. Sift confectioners' sugar over the custard and cut into squares. Serve with berries.

Ravioli Nudi in Tomato Sauce


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped 
2 pounds spinach, stems removed, leaves washed well and chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 2/3 cups tomato puree (one 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley
3/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, beaten to mix
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/16 tsp cayenne
3 Tbsp flour


In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately low heat. Add half the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and add the spinach and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring, until no liquid remains in the pan, about 10 minutes. Drain and press all remaining liquid from the spinach.

In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over moderately low heat. Add the remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Stir in the tomato puree, water, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and basil/parsley and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a simmer. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, lemon zest, nutmeg, cayenne, and flour. Using two tablespoons, drop walnut-size dumplings into the simmering water. Cook until firm, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve with the tomato sauce.