Monday, October 24, 2016

Plum Squares with Marzipan Crumble

I made a few more recipes with stone fruit (a somewhat disappointing apple and peach compote and a delicious peach melba parfait with graham cracker crumble with yogurt), but none quite so good as these late-season plum squares with marzipan crumble from Smitten Kitchen. Min came out thicker than what I was expecting (probably because my pan was 8 inches square instead of her 9 inches square), but they were delicious! The Engineer and I both loved them; the Little Prince wants it known that he prefers less fruit in his desserts.

This recipe calls for an 8-inch square pan, but a 9-inch one will work just as well. You can double the recipe and use a 9”x13” pan, too. I wrote down what Deb Perelman recommends doing with the second half of the tube of marzipan (since the most commonly available brand seems to be Odense, I’m assuming everyone will have this “problem”). You won’t regret it!

For the crust
1 cup (130 g.) all-purpose flour
½ cup (55 g.) sliced almonds, toasted (or almond flour)
¼ tsp. fine sea salt or table salt
¼ cup (50 g.) granulated sugar
¼ tsp. almond extract
½ cup unsalted butter or margarine

For the crumble
2/3 cup (85 g.) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup marzipan or almond paste (about 3.5 oz. of a 7-oz. tube)
1/3 cup (65 g.) light brown sugar
¼ tsp. fine sea salt and table salt
4 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter or margarine, cut into cubes
¼ cup (30 g.) sliced, toasted almonds

For the filling
1/3 cup marzipan or almond paste (the second half of your 7-oz. tube; optional)
1 lb. plums (about 6 or 7), halved, pitted and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. This is going to make it very easy to remove the bars.

For the crust
Combine the flour, almonds, salt, sugar and extract in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps, maybe 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the dough to your prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, until very pale golden. Let cool (you can place the crust in the fridge or even in the freezer, on a cooling rack, to speed this up, but I didn’t bother).

For the crumble
Blend flour, almond paste, sugar and salt in processor until almond paste is finely ground. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until coarse crumbs form. Transfer crumble to bowl; mix in almonds.

For the filling
Place the almond paste in between two sheets of wax paper and roll it out thinly. (At this point, mine decided to take on a shape like Texas – go figure.) Cut it into pieces and place it onto your parbaked crust.

Combine all remaining ingredients in medium bowl; toss to coat well.

Sprinkle ½ cup prepared crumble over cooled crust. Top with plum mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crumble.

Bake until filling bubbles thickly and top is golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. If the bars brown too quickly, cover them with foil for the remaining baking time. Cool in pan (again, you can use the fridge or freezer here, but I didn’t bother). Once firm, use the parchment sling to remove the bars and cut them more cleanly on a cutting board. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.

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