My dilemma of how to finish off a basket of less-than-flavorful plums turned out to be good fortune in disguise. What started as mediocre-tasting fruit quickly transformed into the most delicious plum crumble, among other things. This is a quaint, simple dessert, and yet these “homey” recipes always get the best of me… (especially when you throw ice cream into the mix).
Of course you don’t have to use flavorless plums. Full-flavored ones would be even better. And you can use different stone fruit as well — cherries or peaches? Excellent choice. Just grab whatever is available / in season. I must say though, something about plums + balsamic vinegar really works… that extra kick imparted by the balsamic vinegar gives an ever-so-slight edge to this otherwise simple, classic recipe.
Now if you’re a baked crumble purist, I’ll admit I really hesitated to call this dish a crumble… because I lazied out entirely and instead of making a crumble topping just used quick oats. Let’s call it a shortcut crumble for the time impaired. Turned out absolutely lovely nonetheless — much of the oats absorbed the delicious flavor of the plum sauce while cooking, while others became crispy in just the right way. If you prefer a grain / oat-free option, just sprinkle with some nuts instead… But the oats keep the recipe light and cozy.
As for the ice cream. That was an improvised last minute addition that turned out to be a keeper for the dish. It just rounds off all the flavors in the bake and adds a comforting creaminess… I used this Vanilla & Salted Caramel Ice Cream since that’s what I had on hand. But a simple banana ice cream would be lovely too, or anything vanilla.. Even some coconut whip would do the trick.
- 5 medium-small plums, de-stoned and rough chopped
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp gluten-free quick oats (or use sliced almonds for a grain / oat-free version)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a small baking dish (I used a medium-sized ceramic 22 oz / 3 cups oval baking dish, but anything of a similar size will do).
- Place all plum base ingredients in the baking dish and toss / stir around to combine (make sure the dish is not filled to the top -- you need a good 1" clearance to the top in there because the mixture will rise and then drop back down as it cooks, so don't over-fill).
- Sprinkle evenly with the quick oats. Drizzle the additional maple syrup on top of the oats. Sprinkle with some cinnamon (optional).
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow the crumble to cool off a bit (or a lot of you like it cold). Top with an ice cream of your choice (see notes above recipe for ice cream recipe recommendations) and serve. Enjoy!