It appears to be fall in the morning and summer by the afternoon. My garden seems to be happy with the changes, although it keeps calling out for some rain. We’re still harvesting raspberries (second crop), lettuce, carrots, beets, beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers and lots of tomatoes. This has been a bumper crop due to the heat of our summer. However, the dark mornings and the earlier dark evenings sway me towards wanting to make soups and hot tea these days.
I’m happy to see that new crop potatoes and apples are now at the markets. There is nothing better than a very crisp, juicy fall apple from Eastern Washington. Apples are delightful on their own. I love to make a lunch of sliced apples, cheddar cheese and a few crackers. Very satisfying. Apples are one of my favorite fruits to bake with too. A neighbor down the street gifted me some Italian plums from her tree (alas I had to leave my plum tree behind when I moved), and I picked up a bag of apples from the market to create a family favorite.
I love to make crisps, crumbles, cobblers and buckles. Each of these sweets similarly incorporates some kind of fruit (which gets cooked down) and some type of dough or streusel topping. Since there’s little dough to roll out and no mixers or fancy equipment are required, they’re all typically easier and quicker to make than pies. I use whatever fruit I might have on hand or in my freezer to use up. Favorite combinations include at least two fruits: such as apples, pears, plums, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries.
This recipe is a mash-up of a cobbler (batter) and a crumb topping. I loaded it up with plums and apples, which makes it very moist and decadent.
Apple Plum Crumb Cobbler
Ingredients and instructions for crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Whisk butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt together until evenly mixed. Add flour and mix until it is incorporated into the butter mixture. It’s going to be very thick; set it aside.
Ingredients for cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3/4 cup whole milk
6 medium apples, peeled
6 medium plums (I used Italian plums)
2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions for cake
Heat your oven to 350°F. Place butter in a 2-3 quart baking dish or a 7×11-inch cake pan. Place pan in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until butter has melted. Tilt the dish to ensure it is evenly coated with butter.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and stir in milk. Mix until smooth. Pour batter over the butter but do not stir. Resist the urge to stir. It will look very messy but it comes together while it bakes.
Cut apples and plums into wedges. Toss with the lemon juice. Space fruit over batter. Cover the top evenly with the crumb mixture.
Bake the cobbler until it is set and golden on top for about 45 minutes. It may take longer depending on your oven. You will see the fruit juices bubbling. Cool slightly on a rack. Serve the cobbler warm or at room temperature. It’s delicious with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt. It’s wonderful for breakfast too!
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at email@example.com.