If you’ve ever tasted a hybrid fruit, you know that many of them have the same delicately sweet, mouth-watering qualities as classic summer fruits. Your local farmers market surely holds an abundance of familiar produce, where there are likely cartons upon cartons lined up like a cascading rainbow of summer’s bounty. And while it’s wonderful to see strawberries and peaches waiting there, if you’ve never tasted one, aren’t you a little tempted to try out those picatums or pluots nestled between more recognizable fruits?
Sure, you’ve thought about it, but what on earth is a pluot, you might be asking yourself. According to Dan Stone, a writer for National Geographic, a pluot is “An innovative hybrid of a plum (60 percent) and apricot (40 percent). They started popping up in the 1980s, and then fruit breeding innovation really took off.” In his article about hybrid fruits, Stone also mentions “apriums” which are the same hybrid but feature apricot as the dominant fruit, and “picatums” which are a blend of peach, apricot, and plums. There are many combinations of hybrid fruits available in grocery stores and farmers markets, and the possibilities are truly limitless.
Pluots have the appearance of a plum, and their colorings can range from red and amber-skinned, with ruby or gold flesh, or can even be rather pale. Depending on the variety, this fruit can pack an extremely sweet punch, often with a little bit of spice, and very low acidity. In short, pluots are incredibly tasty, and a real treat in the late spring and summertime when at their peak.
There are many recipes that feature hybrid fruits. Here is one that showcases pluots, courtesy of A Communal Table:
“Pluot and Almond Crostata”
3 1/2 oz. almond paste 3 Tbsp. sugar 3 oz. cream cheese 1 large egg yolk 1 refrigerated pie crust or enough dough for one 10 inch crust 4 large pluots, pitted and sliced into 1/4 inch slices 1 egg, beaten to blend 1 Tbsp. demerara sugar 1 tsp. crystallized ginger, minced
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a food processor add almond paste, sugar, cream cheese and the egg yolk. Process until the mixture is smooth.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and lay the crust on top. Spread the almond mixture to within 1 inch of the edge of the dough.
Arrange pluots in a circle on top of the almond filling, overlapping the slices in a spoke pattern. Form another circle of pluots inside the first one, completely covering the almond mixture. Depending upon the thickness of your dough, either fold the dough up or fold it over the fruit.
Brush the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle the dough and the pluots with the sugar. Sprinkle the crystallized ginger over the pluots.
Bake the crostata until the fruit is tender and the crust is golden brown – about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool tart. Serve tart at room temperature or warm with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche or creme fraiche sorbet!
Yum! Enjoy using this recipe and others featuring hybrid fruits this summer!