Thursday, September 8, 2016

Plum Oatmeal Squares...


Yum--- a twist on the classic date squares featuring a sweet and sticky plum filling. Pondering what to do with the hefty bags of freshly-picked damson plums from my sister-in-law's tree over the Montreal long weekend, I delightfully came across this alluring recipe in the August issue of Canadian Living. Ripe plums are sweet yet mild in flavour creating an incredible base for a homey late summer dessert. I loved the touch of orange juice and zest for a citrusy zing. Their recipe sounded a bit too sweet for our liking, so I brought down the sugars in this adapted version.


What lovely Damson plums (purple/black skin, mild tasting green flesh).

My sis-in-law's fruitful yard plum tree



Plum Oatmeal Squares (adapted from Canadian Living)

3-1/2 cups chopped firm ripe red or black plums (I used about 14-16 damson plums)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed (freeze for seven minutes before use)



If using round juicy plums, you will only need 6 or 7 to yield 3-1/2 cups

In saucepan, bring plums, 2/3 cup of the granulated sugar, the orange zest and orange juice to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until plums are tender and beginning to break down, about 12 minutes. NOTE: Don't worry if the plums aren't red in the centres; the peel will cook down to give the filling a beautiful deep-red colour.

Whisk cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water; stir into plum mixture. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about one minute. Scrape into bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until chilled, about one hour. (Make-Ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)



While plum mixture is chilling, in large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter or use your fingers to crumble mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Firmly press half of the oat mixture into bottom of parchment paper–lined 9-inch (2.5 L) square cake pan. Bake in 350°F oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for five minutes.

Cut parchment paper to extend over pan sides for easy lifting after bake.

Spread plum mixture over crust. Gently press remaining oat mixture into small clumps; sprinkle over plum mixture. Bake in 350°F oven until crumble is golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Lift out onto cutting board; cut into squares. Make-Ahead TIP: Store in airtight container for up to two days.


I broiled the top after baking for a bit more of a golden crunchy crust. Some parts got charred but all good :).


Letting it cool completely in the pan makes lifting the dessert out with the parchment much easier. It also makes for better cutting when not slicing into a warm sticky dessert.



Crunchy oat topping giving way to sticky sweet yet mild plums and the citrus flavour of orange. 
A fantastic combination making this a perfect treat with tea any time of day!





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