Plum-and-cinnamon crumble

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Curtis Stone is my favorite celebrity chef. He’s easy on the eyes and he makes cooking accessible for the average person. I started watching him on “Take Home Chef” a few years ago and have been paying attention ever since. I have both of his cookbooks, but I favor his second one, “Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone,” because the recipes are simpler and have always turned out well for me. If it wasn’t for this book, I never would have attempted to make a pork roast with brandied apple compote.

One of the recipes I frequently turn to is his plum and cinnamon crumble. It’s similar to a crisp, but the topping uses regular sugar instead of brown sugar, so the flavor is lighter.

When choosing plums for this recipe, choose ripe plums that are tender to the touch. Plums that aren’t quite ripe make the finished product too tart and too firm. I made the mistake of choosing firmer black plums the first time I made this, and the end result was not what I’d hoped for. The second time I made it, the plums were slightly firmer than I wanted, so I macerated them with vanilla sugar for about a half hour. That process got them to where I wanted them to be, and the end result was perfect.

Filling:
2 pounds plums, halved, pitted and cut into six wedges
1/3 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat the over to 350ºF. To make the filling, toss the plums, sugar and cinnamon sticks in an 8-inch-square bake dish. Arrange the mixture evenly in the dish, tucking the cinnamon sticks beneath the plums.

To make the topping, mix the flour, sugar and oats in a medium bowl to blend. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until moist clumps form. Mix in the almonds. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the plum mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling, the fruit is tender and the topping is golden brown. Allow the crumble to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.

Spoon the crumble into bowls, discarding the cinnamon sticks, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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