Italian plums create a fine fall treat

Also known as Empress plums, Italian prune plums are full of rich, sweet flavors that deepen as they ripen. Native to the Mediterranean coastal regions of Italy, the plum’s purplish-blue skin encases a firm, juicy yellow flesh and is available late summer into early fall.

Ideal for eating fresh, it is well-suited for cooking (sweet or savory dishes), baking (crostata and tarts) and preserves, wine, brandy and drying to prunes. A good source of antioxidants and dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and B complex.

Check local farmers markets and orchards for availability: Autumn Hills Orchard, Groton and Kimball Fruit Farm, Pepperell.

Italian Plum Crostata

Serves 4-6


1 disc pastry dough suited for desert

6 – 8 Italian prune plums

1 yellow plum

1 Tbsp natural sugar, plus 1 Tsp for sprinkling

1 large egg yolk, beaten

Confectioners sugar


Place baking rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees F.

Place the pastry dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Wash, dry and cut plums in half, remove and discard pits. If plums are very large, slice into quarters.

Mix the plums with the sugar in a small bowl. Place fruit in the center of the pastry disc, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the edge inward over the fruit and press lightly to seal, brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pastry turns golden and the center is baked.

Let cool; sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla gelato.