Sometimes it doesn’t matter that it looks like fall, feels like fall, well, in fact, izzzzzzzzz fall. There’s still a little leftover from summer and harvest to make a luscious fruit dessert. Maybe you’ve even been toting your herbs or flowers in and off the porch for a couple of weeks, just getting the last few rays of sun and summer. I know a few folks who are doing that!
Of course, we can make apple or pumpkin whatever all late summer and fall long or use winter squash in a variety of sweet and savory ways. But stretching out late harvest bounty makes those particular foods just all the more precious. There is an old Irish tune, “The Last Rose of Summer.” Of course, as I’ve been in Princeton and New York for five days visiting our daughter at seminary, I haven’t been cooking summer or fall food for a while. ( I’ll get my pictures (and ducks) in a row and fill you in on the trip in a few days.) In some little corner of a protected Princeton yard, though, I saw exactly that rose… several of them, in fact. Tiny, little “old” roses, faded pink, but still on the bush. Really.

Meantime, I thought I’d blog a dessert I made just about two weeks ago when, you’ll remember, there were still peaches in the stores. Maybe they were “The Last Peach(es) of summer!” I began by looking at a Plum Crunch Ina Garten had made on tv and found the recipe in her BACK TO BASICS COOKBOOK. I didn’t really have all of the ingredients, so I began to experiment a bit. Mixing fruits, cutting sugar… You get the idea.
Well, I did have some of those last peaches that had held up beautifully, but needed to be used. Definitely plums to be had then— and now. And, you can, if you care to pay, get blueberries most anytime. (I freeze them when they’re plentiful and cheap, baking them frozen.) If you can’t get any peaches where you are (this is November), try this with just plums and blueberries. It can be made ahead, even frozen, and would make a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving dessert spread with a snippet of freshly whipped cream or a spoonful of real good vanilla ice cream. If you can get the entire mix of fruits or just part, this is a delectable and homey dessert served anytime. The topping is quite thick and crunchy and almost seems like a super oatmeal cookie (or top of the hill granola) on top of soft, sweet fruit despite my cutting the sweetness. Thanks, Ina.

Peach-Plum-Blueberry Crunch

Serves 8

8 holiday plums, peeled and cut into fourths*
2 peaches, peeled and cut into eighths
½ c blueberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup flour
2/3 c white, granulated sugar
6T Brandy

1 ½ c unbleached, white flour
½ c ea granulated white and light brown sugar, packed
½ t kosher salt
1 c old-fashioned oats
½ c chopped pecans
2 sticks (1c) cold butter, cut into pieces.

8 scoops vanilla ice cream or 1 c whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray the inside of a 2qt or 12×8” baking dish.

Combine fruit, ¼ c flour, sugar and brandy. Pour into baking dish.

In food processor, fitted with metal blade, measure flour, sugars, and oats; pulse lightly to blend. Add cut butter and pulse until the mixture begins to come together, crumbling with butter the size of peas. Remove blade and gently stir in pecans. Pour over the fruit mixture and spread evenly.
Bake it for about 35 minutes, checking for bubbling fruit and browning top. Let cool for at least a half an hour before serving. Good warm or at room temperature, with or without whipped cream or ice cream. If you want to freeze it, cool completely, cover with two layers of foil and freeze for 4-6 weeks. Let unthaw, covered, completely before serving.

*If using all plums, increase plums from 8 to 12.

Caught between the bounty of summer’s harvest and the watchful, waiting Advent brings, I made this dessert one day and went to rehearsal to practice the Christmas portion of “The Messiah.” Working behind and ahead! can be an unusual process for a faithful cook.

The fruits of our labors… and the labors of others. Enjoyed together….
Current Reading: THE SWEET LIFE IN PARIS, by David Leibovitz
Even if you aren’t a baker (or cook), read this lovely
memoiry book full of heart-holding stories of figuring
out life in a strange land and, of course, recipes that
make your mouth go “La, la la la la!!!”
Sing a new song; mix some new fruit, read David’s book today—-
Alyce