Italian plums create a fine fall treat
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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

INGREDIENTS

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

PREPARATION

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.