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May 16, 2011 10:55 AM

Sharing the Last Course

[Note: We've split this discussion from a thread entitled Gramercy Tavern Lemon Lavender Pound Cake, found here: ].

I picked up some plums from the market on Saturday (not the imported ones so mine were bigger) and made this on Sunday from her book also:

Spiced Italian Prune Plum Crisp

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup plus one tablespoon ground walnuts

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 1/4 pounds Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered (6 cups


My favorite crisp after "peach and strawberry". This worked out beautifully with no changes but I had to increase baking time to compensate for the bigger plums. Everyone loved the plum/purpley syrup with vanilla ice cream ;) She has the sexiest of desserts, I'll continue to post as I go through her book on the weekends.

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  1. lilgi -- stunning!! Thanks for posting on this and sharing your photo. Gorgeous! I am sure it was delicious. This thread inspiried me to go back through her book and am *way* into it again. Just made her chocolate biscotti this weekend. Another winner. Love this book and want to make everything in it. Should start a separate thread? Am making her doughnuts this week.

    3 Replies
    1. re: apple342

      Apple great idea, and the doughnuts were coming up very soon for me as well. How were the biscotti?

      1. re: apple342

        Hi all, sorry to be slow . . . . whose book is this recipe from?
        Thanks so much!!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern, by Claudia Fleming.

      2. For those that don't have the book and want to try these, I believe I can post my own instructions without violating any rules. Moderators will let me know if this is within the rules?

        For the prune crisp above, make sure you have 1/2 cup walnuts toasted before starting (which should yield the required amount ground, after toasted and cooled). Melt the stick of butter in a saucepan and allow to cool to room temp.

        Preheat oven to 375 degrees, butter a shallow 2 quart casserole or similar, quarter and remove the pits from the fruit and do not peel. Place in a bowl with half the sugar (1/4 cup) so that it can macerate while you prepare the crisp. In another bowl mix together the ground walnuts, flour, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, (I added a pinch of salt). Slowly drizzle in butter, pack down as you mix and loosen with a fork as you go along, packing and loosening, to form pea sized crumbs, no bigger so that the mixture will cook through. Mound the fruit high in the center of baking dish, spread crumble evenly over the top and bake 50 to 55 minutes. Adjust baking time as needed if using larger fruit. I baked mine for about 15 minutes longer. Fruit should be bubbling and crumble should brown on top.

        1. A recap on the Lavender Lemon Pound Cake from the previous thread: I'll post the original ingredients and really, really really recommend the tweaking. It was well worth it, this is a cake that I will make again and again for so many special occasions during the warm season. I've made this as a loaf, doubled the recipe to make a bundt cake, and next I'll make the muffin sized roses since this is a girly girl dessert.

          Pound Cake (1 9x5-inch loaf)
          1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
          1 Tablespoon dried Lavender
          5 large eggs
          1 cup sugar
          1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cake flour
          1/4 teaspoon salt
          1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
          1 teaspoon vanilla extract

          3 Tablespoons Lavender
          1/2 cup sugar
          1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
          1/4 cup water

          Tweaks: The cake is sweet and rich and I increased the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. The zest was increased to 3 heaping Tablespoons (the zest of 3 large lemons). For the syrup I increased the lemon juice to 1/2 cup and reduced the water to 1 Tablespoon, it made a very favorable difference in the flavor.

          If making the larger bundt, double the ingredients with the changes, and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure the cake is completely drenched after baking or you might find the cake somewhat dry and flavorless (unless you do a fabulous lemony icing like HillJ).

          Directions for Loaf
          Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Melt the butter in a small saucepan with 1 Tablespoon of the lavender. Allow to steep for a few minutes and set aside to cool.

          Cream the eggs together with the sugar on high speed for at least 5 minutes until very light and fluffy. Meanwhile measure out flour in a bowl and whisk together with salt. Stop the mixer, and stir in vanilla and zest to blend. Stir in the flour in three batches. Strain the lavender from the cooled butter into a bowl, and mix the butter vigorously with 1 cup of the batter from the mixer. Fold in the butter/batter mixture into the batter. (I do a slow stir of about a second just to make sure it blends). Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a slow boil until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Note: If making the bundt, don't forget to double the amount of batter to mix with butter before adding to the batter in the mixer.

          Once the cake is removed from the oven, place on a cooling rack and immediately pierce the top of the cake all over with a skewer. Generously brush on syrup (I used a baster, much quicker). After about 15 minutes invert onto a rack, pierce bottom and sides and continue basting with syrup until most is used. Decorate the top of the loaf with reserved lavender from the syrup. (If making the bundt cake, wait at least 20 minutes before inverting.)

          For those of you with the book, if you see anything wrong with the report or if I'm missing anything please feel free to add to the discussion, since I'm typing late I can get a bit careless.

          1. Not sure which one I'll have planned for this coming weekend but will post as I get closer. The orange cardamom shakes I'm almost certain I'll be doing, along with one other dessert.

            1. I have goodhealthgourmet to thank for not letting me leave the market without purchasing fresh cardamom pods; I used to only use already ground. The application of cardamom here truly elevated the flavors and was not at all intrusive or overwhelming. The creme fraiche was a nice touch, I wouldn't hesitate at all to try this with store-bought oj since so little is used.

              1 tablespoon cardamom pods
              1 cup milk
              1/2 cup sugar
              Zest of 1/2 orange removed with a vegetable peeler
              1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
              1/4 cup creme fraiche
              1/2 cup ice

              Toast the cardamom pods in a shallow pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Crack the pods open to remove the seeds and crush, discarding the outer shell. Bring the milk, sugar, zest, and cardamom to a slow simmer on a low flame for a few minutes and remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then strain the mixture into a bowl.

              In a blender mix the cooled mixture, oj, ice, and creme fraiche and serve. Yields 2 servings.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lilgi

                i love getting to say "i told you so" when the results are *good* :)