This easy-to-make rustic plum crisp has a crispy cinnamon spice oat topping and sweet-tart filling that is screaming for a scoop of ice cream on top!
I’m lucky to have a prolific plum tree in the backyard of my rental apartment building. Though all the other tenants have access to the plum tree, there are years when the tree is so insane, that none of us could keep up with the plums being produced. I made numerous batches of plum jam, including my lavender plum jam and plum and strawberry jam, a plum galette, a mixed plum tart (with some green plums I bought at the store), a plum and rhubarb cobbler and an apricot, plum and cherry pie. Yes, I had a LOT of plums to go through! But when I finally ended up with my last bag of plums I decided I needed something super simple and easy. I made a plum crisp!
What makes this recipe different and better?
Plum crisps are an easy and rustic recipe that everyone loves. Most recipes have you sprinkling the topping over the unbaked filling. I go the extra step of baking the topping first. This allows the crisp topping to truly be crisp, like the name! While the topping is baking (a quick 15 minutes in the oven), you can prep the filling.
I also add in a grated apple which seems like an unusual addition. But the grated apple does two things. It helps thicken the filling with pectin (a natural protein that apples have) without additional thickener or starch. It also naturally sweetens the filling, which means I can use a little less sugar in the filling. Don’t worry about tasting the apple though. It blends into the background of the filling, letting the plum flavor shine through!
How do you make a plum crisp?
Make the filling first by combining the topping ingredients of flour, rolled oats, sugar, turbinado (or brown) sugar, salt, and some spices in a bowl. Drizzle melted butter and vanilla over it, and toss until it starts to clump up. Bake in a preheated oven on a lined rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes.
While the topping is baking, make the filling by slicing the plums into a bowl and adding sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. You can also add lemon zest and crystallized ginger but those are optional if you don’t have them or dislike lemon and ginger. Grate an apple into the filling then toss to combine and pour into a deep dish pie pan or a 2 quart baking dish.
Once the topping is baked (it won’t change color much) crumble it over the top of the filling and then bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling thick. Let cool to warm and then serve with vanilla ice cream or the ice cream of your choice!
Do you need to peel the plums?
No. In fact it’s better if you don’t peel the plums! A lot of the tart assertive plum flavor is in the skin. And the skin is where the plums get their beautiful reddish-purple color. The skins are soft so don’t peels the plums for this crisp.
What sort of plums are best for this crisp?
Any plums that you like to eat directly out of hand are great for this crisp. If your plums are extra juicy, which might include ripe Santa Rosa, Mirabelle, Green Gage, Black Amber or Friar plums you might need to adjust the filling and add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch.
Or if your plums are less juicy, like Damson, French Prune or Italian plums or they are just not as ripe, you might need to use 1 tablespoon less cornstarch.
One final note. Taste the plum before you add the sugar! Some plums (especially the French and Italian plums) are significantly sweeter and need less sugar. Under ripe fruit may need more sugar but will be less juicy, so adjust the cornstarch and sugar accordingly.
Can I substitute a different stone fruit for this plums?
Yes! This recipe is a great base recipe for any summer stone fruit. This includes peaches, nectarines, apricots or cherries. Just adjust the cornstarch and sugar according to the sweetness and juiciness of the fruit. You may also want to experiment with different spices to go along with the fruit flavors.
You can also use hybrid fruit like pluots, apriums, pluerries, peacotums, plumcots or any other hybrid summer stonefruit that you might find at the store. Though hybrid fruits may at first glance seem like a strange genetically modified fruit, they are not created in a lab or through genetic modification but rather through selective crossbreeding by farmers.
How do you store this crisp?
This plum crisp is best eaten the day it is made, but you can store the crisp in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that the longer the crisp is in the fridge, the less crisp the topping will be.
Gently place the crisp up in an oven proof bowl or pan and warm up in a 350°F oven or toaster oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until warm.
What should you serve the crisp with?
You can serve the crisp all by itself but my favorite way to serve the crisp is with a scoop of ice cream! Vanilla is my favorite but pick and choose a flavor that compliments the plum and oatmeal flavors of the crisp. These might include:
- French Vanilla
- Salted Caramel
- Butter Pecan
- Cinnamon or Horchata
- Praline Pecan
If you like this rustic fruit dessert, check out some of my other classic rustic desserts:
- Blueberry Pie
- Peach Prosecco Cobbler
- Summer Fruit Pie
- Apple and Berry Cobbler with Cinnamon Swirl Topping
- Apple Pandowdy with Blackberries
- Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
- Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Plum Crisp with Ginger
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats thick cut preferred, 145 g
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 105 g
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted, 1 stick or 115 g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 pounds plums about 9 or 10, 850 g
- 4 to 6 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest optional
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger optional
- 1 medium apple, peeled
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.Combine the flour, oats, both sugars, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir vigorously with a balloon whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Stir the melted butter and vanilla together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Drizzle the liquid over the dry ingredients, tossing to coat them, until all the liquid is absorbed and the dry ingredients start to clump together.
- Spread the mixture in an even layer onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. The edges should JUST start to darken but there shouldn’t be much change in color.
- While the topping is baking, make the filling by cutting the plums into 1-inch thick slices into a large bowl. Gently toss with 4 tablespoons of sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, as well as the lemon zest and crystallized ginger if you are using. If your plums are particular tart and sour, add a tablespoon or two of sugar to help balance it. Grate the peeled apple with the hole from a larger grater into the bowl and mix in.
- Pour the filling into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or another 2-quart baking dish. Once the topping has baked, pull it out of the oven. Once it is cool enough to handle, sprinkle the crisp topping over the fruit.
- Place the crisp in the oven and bake 50 to 60 minutes or until the fruit filling is bubbling and thick. Let cool to room temperature for the filling to thicken up before serving.