San Diego has dozens of farmers markets. That sounds great, but the convenience of multiple daily neighborhood markets means that there are fewer vendors at each one. My neighborhood market is just a few miles down the road but it has about 2 fruit stands, 2 vegetable stands, a plant nursery, and a duck egg farmstand. The apple harvest wasn’t great last fall and the hubby doesn’t really like oranges that much, so the fruit stands hadn’t been attracting me until last week.
The organic cherries drew me in, juicy, shiny, and reasonably-priced. After bagging about a pound, I ran the gauntlet of stone fruit in line to weigh and pay, but lost the battle with some peaches. When I reached the scale, the dude gestured to the slices of samples in front of me. “Did you try the pluots?”
Uh… no? He grabbed a slice himself. “They’re the best thing here today and I don’t know why people aren’t loading up on them!” I crossed back to the bin of pluots and returned with four of them. I’m pretty sure he rounded down for me. Several pounds heavier in the market bag and lighter in the wallet, I headed home with my treasures.
Have you ever tried a pluot? Like plumcots or apriums, pluots are a sweet and juicy complex hybrid of a plum and apricot. I had never tried one before. My husband and I split one just to taste it, eating it over the sink to corral the river of juice running down our arms. Their plummy tartness helps balance the high natural sugar content. It was definitely good, but I must say that every plum, apricot, or mix of the two I have tried is still — through no fault of their own — disappointingly not a peach. Apparently I have issues, sorry.
The rest I decided to use in a baked treat. Upon paying for my pluots at the market I had assured the seller that if all else failed, I could cover it with sugar and butter and my husband would eat it. I was correct.
Since I saved one more pluot for eating and the two I had didn’t quite fill the ramekins, I supplemented with a few cherries from the same stand. The rest of the cherries were delicious, too. The pluots were sliced, the cherries were pitted and halved, then a little cornstarch and sugar were stirred in to the mix.
As stated, my husband loves fruit crisps. A lot. For these mini-crisps I didn’t even measure, I just mixed approximate amounts of flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and oatmeal, then cut in some butter. The topping went over the fruit, the ramekins went in the toaster oven for about 40 minutes, and then we waited impatiently for them to cool.
The pluots cook down considerably, but the cornstarch keeps them from getting soupy. They’re sweet but not too sweet, and the color is just lovely.
My only disappointment with fruit crisps is that they are hard to photograph, especially when you’re trying to get a quick photo at night with your spouse hovering with a spoon waiting to dig in. “Rustic” or not, they’re a favorite dessert (and breakfast) at our house. You can leave out the oatmeal if you want, or add flax seeds or nuts, coconut, or change up the spices depending on the fruit.
And of course, making them smaller not only helps control portions and uses less fruit, they’re also cute.
Stone Fruit Mini-Crisps
- 1 1/2 cups sliced stone fruit (plums, pluots, peaches, cherries, etc.)
- 1/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1.5 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons rolled oats
- Preheat a regular or toaster oven to 350F.
- Whisk 1 teaspoon of the sugar together with cornstarch to prevent lumps. Sprinkle over fruit and stir gently. Divide the fruit between two 8-ounce ramekins.
- Combine flour, rest of the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add butter and use a pastry blender or a fork to mix until crumbly. Stir in oats. Divide equally to cover the fruit.
- Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes until fruit is cooked through. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, plain or with ice cream.
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