Oh, Martha, you did it again. You showed me a recipe and I took it and ran with it until it looked almost nothing like your original. This weekend I found myself with an abundance of fruit and instead of…you know, eating the fruit like a normal, skinny person, I decided to bake into something with butter! flour! sugar! Plum crumble happened and I don’t regret it, either.
I don’t cook with plums often because I don’t purchase plums often. They’re just so tiny, no matter how hard you try you’re bound to, at some point, end up biting into the pit and have you ever eaten a filling plum? No, neither have I.
But in all their bright, juicy, ruby glory, plums are great for baking into crisps, cobblers, buckles and crumbles. Yes, let’s talk about crumbles. Crumbles, though I don’t make them often, are now officially one of my favorite things to bake because they don’t have to look a certain way. They’re naturally imperfect and really, there is nothing better than a dessert we can all relate to.
Eat this warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or low-fat frozen yogurt (I am funding a study that will prove that eating this dessert with low-fat frozen yogurt in fact negates some of the fat in the stick of butter in the crust. The results are not yet in).*
- 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chilled (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¾ cups whole-wheat flour
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ pounds dark plums, (about 8 small), pitted and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, salt, and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside half the mixture. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, and 1 egg to the other half. Mix until well blended. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch shallow baking dish. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- While the pastry is baking, whisk together ¼ cup sugar, the remaining egg, the half-and-half and the almond and vanilla extracts in a small bowl; set aside.
- Remove the pastry from the oven, and top with plum slices. Pour the liquid mixture over the plums, and sprinkle with reserved butter-flour mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and bake until topping is golden brown and the plums are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.