italian plum bars

I‘ve learned that there are new neighbors in our development. Hence, the flour and sugar. I happened to have twenty-four Italian prune plums on hand, because, well, that’s just the kind of psycho kitchen I keep. The violet gems aren’t around long, so when I see them at the market, I nab them up. Growing up, my mother cleaved each plum and cooked them on the stove top until they were thick and bubbling, with cinnamon, vanilla bean, and sugar, “Just enough,” she’d say. “Who needs crust!” I was too impatient to wait for them to cool, dipping my finger in when her back was turned, shoving that finger into my mouth before she could spot me. She was right. They were better once they cooled and thickened up a bit. We’d spoon them over vanilla ice cream or swirl them into breakfast farina or yogurt. There’s something soulful about them, which you can’t say for many end of summer, very early autumn, fruits.

More slender than their stubby round-bottomed plum cousins, Italian Prune Plums look as if they’ve been dusted with a fine coat of powder. Slice them open, and you won’t find bursting runnels or vibrant flesh. They aren’t as juicy, which makes them the perfect candidate for a dessert bar. The Italian jewels have a green tint to them, a telltale of tart. Which is exactly what I look for in a fruit destined for the shortbread life. Tart fruit that flirts with the sugared butter crust is all a girl can ask for. It’s why I like rhubarb bars, and even, although sweeter, blueberry bars. And don’t get me started on my all-time favorite Blueberry Buckle Bars. Sense a theme here. I love me some (walnut honey!) bars because they make good gift. Oh, right, and my Blondes Have More Fun Bars.

italian plum bars

Also, if you ever find yourself in South Florida, make your way over to The Boys Farmers Market in Delray Beach, FL. It’s basically a kissing cousin of Zabar’s, but with even more Jews. Their produce is the best I’ve found, ever. Seriously, I’d say it’s on par with Eli’s, which was obscenely overpriced. The Boys produce is all “sugar sweet.” Sugar Sweet Peaches. Sugar Sweet Corn. Sugar Sweet Bing Cherries. The whole place is juicy and makes me want to take my top off and let them squeeze my melons.

lifetime Delray FL 4 lifetime Delray FL 5
The Boys Farmers Market, Delray Beach, FL
Plum Bars


  1. Will have to try it now that the place whose name I can’t remember no longer is in Boca. They had the best grapefruit ever, as well as great fish.

  2. Darn, I was hoping for some mature follow-up to the previous post hinting of the unraveling of your marriage. But no, a food post. Looking forward to the next post, perhaps about searching for days for Frette sheets?

  3. I do have to agree with the above commenter. Since this is a place where you’re sharing all parts of your life, it doesn’t seem right to say limit what you write about. Nonetheless, the tone is all over the place. It’s as if I went to a favorite food blogger who usually writes recipes and posts nice food pictures, and then one day she posts this full-on confessional about some traumatic event. And then the next day with nary a mention of the previous post, she follows up with some post about cupcakes. It’s jarring. Based on the numerous comments you receive when you talk about your marriage, it seems that this might be where you want to focus your writing as that is what the readers are responding to most.

    On a side note, you are a lovely food-writer. You could just focus on that on the blog (and leave the dirty laundry not airing in public).

    1. Author

      I appreciate that. I really do. I will say that I almost always follow up my big marriage posts with something lighter. Because a heavy introspective life needs to get some air once in a while. And that’s what this is. Air. It doesn’t mean things are better, or worse. There’s still plenty to be said, and it will be said. It just takes me a while to get it out. Sorry if it comes across as disjointed. I refuse to ignore what’s wrong in my life, but I also want to make room for what’s right, what appeals to me in a moment. And then I capture that moment and share it. That’s all that’s going on here. Does that make any sense?

      1. I appreciate that you can post on any topic any time without it needing to follow a given “story line.” This is your life, not a novel, and it’s not all deep all the time, and it’s not all fluff all the time. I enjoy the mixture of foodie, fashionista, and relationship dirt posts

      2. your readers are harsh. and you have become much more tolerant, polite, mature, non-reactive in the years i’ve been reading your blog. this is maybe my second comment ever but it’s worth noting that for all of your so-called flaws, you really have grace, lady.
        and for what it’s worth, i’d kill to see more food-related posts on your blog!

  4. Also, my daughter made your Blondies and they were delicious. We had to send them off to college with her brother, because they were calling to us from the freezer.

  5. (Dabs drool from chin. Seriously considers moving to Stephanie’s neighborhood if only to eat these babies without having to soften the butter, crack the eggs, preheat the oven.)

  6. I always wanted to live in a neighborhood where people did this sort of thing for new neighbors, and always wanted to be the neighbor that welcomed people that way, but when I lived in Florida, I never made that reality, and now living in Russia it feels pointless when none of my neighbors speak English and only eat dill and beets.

  7. which recipe do you use for these? they look and sound fantastic. thanks for posting.

    1. Author

      I actually didn’t love the recipe I used, which is why I didn’t post it. I love the plum part, but the shortbread part felt too dense and not sweet or buttery enough. Sorry. But this recipe looks worth trying.

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