Crumbles and crisps are the ultimate fall dessert because they're simple to put together and humble in appearance, but will light up a fall evening like nothing else. While apple crisp is a classic this time of year, the plums have been so irresistible in the markets lately that we thought we'd use them while we still can.
The secret to making a really fantastic plum crumble is using ripe, in-season plums. Because this recipe is so simple and doesn't rely on many spices or other ingredients, plums are on center stage here. If you use excellent fruit, you're going to end up with a simple fall dessert that's juicy and a little bit messy in that luscious, fruity kind of way.
This recipe is wonderful because it's not at all too sweet, has subtle warm fall spices to bring out the flavor of the plums, and dabbles in whole grain flours in a way that results in a super crumbly and buttery (yet sturdy) topping.
I used a combination of all-purpose flour and oat flour here because oat flour has a really nice, mild sweetness and a light texture that pairs incredibly well with fall fruits. If you've never tried it, give it a whirl. Lately I've been replacing half of all flour called for in scone and muffin recipes for oat flour. Since it doesn't have any gluten it should be paired with another flour, so don't be tempted to go all out with oat flour, but do dabble. You'll notice a delightful difference.
Now, when you're finished slicing your fruit and putting together your crumble topping, chances are you may second guess yourself. For such a simple dessert, what did you do wrong? You look over the list of ingredients and everything seems in order. Yes, it's true: this recipe yields a lot of crumble topping. You didn't make a mistake. Go with it; trust us. You won't be disappointed. We'll even double the recipe of crumble topping and keep it in the fridge to use later in the week with another fall fruit (pluots, apples, pears). Happy fall baking!
For the Crumble Top:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the fruit:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon orange zest
9-10 plums, thinly sliced (yielding 6 cups)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Make crisp topping first: Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your hands until the crumble topping begins to clump together and all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Make the fruit filling: combine the sugar, cornstarch, plums, orange zest and vanilla in a bowl. With a rubber spatula, gently fold ingredients together until well combined.
Spread the fruit evenly across a 9-inch square baking pan (we like Pyrex) and sprinkle crisp topping generously on top. Place the dish onto a sheet pan (to catch juices) and bake until juices are bubbling and top is crisp, about 50 minutes.
(Images: Megan Gordon)