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
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
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.