Marian Burros' Plum Crumble

September 19, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Slightly adapted from Luisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef.

Burros' crumble is shallow and top-heavy: a jammy layer of tart plums blanketed by a lumpy crust that my boyfriend aptly compared to a giant snickerdoodle cookie, warm with cinnamon. The plums are simply halved, pitted, and tossed with spices and a little flour and sugar. The dough is streusel-like—flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and a beaten egg—just pinched apart and scattered over the fruit.

Its glorious cookie-cake texture comes from the final step: Before the pan goes into the oven, you'll pour melted butter all over the top. The butter binds clumps of dough together, so that they form a craggy crust that's got fluff and crisp, lightness and density. Gosh, if I had to choose between Burros' crumble—fruity and spicy, squishy and crispy—and her famous plum torte... I just might choose the crumble.
Sarah Jampel

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 cup unbleached flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 10 to 12 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extra (optional)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375° F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the ground ginger. Add the plum halves and gently toss to combine. Arrange, cut side up, in a 9-inch pie plate set on a baking sheet (to catch leaks!).
  3. In another small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, baking powder, remaining 1 cup flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla bean powder (if using), and the salt. Stir in the egg and the vanilla extract (if using). Use your hands to squeeze and mix thoroughly to form soft clumps and bits. Scatter pinches of the dough evenly over the plums.
  4. Pour the butter evenly over the topping and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is browned and the plums tender. Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream, crème fraîche, mascarpone, yogurt, or whipped cream.

More Great Recipes:
Cobbler/Crumble|Cake|Fruit|Plum|Bean|Bake|Fall|Summer|Dessert

Reviews (9) Questions (0)

9 Reviews

amy P. November 17, 2018
Made this gluten free, which meant a lot of flour subs, but it still came out great. Perhaps it was the flours, or perhaps the different sugars (demerara/rapadura), but the butter was excessive; next time I'd cut it to 3/4 (or less) the amount shown. That said, the crumbly topping was excellent.<br />
 
Kae September 9, 2018
I bought the number of plums suggested, but it was too many! So I doubled the crumble and made two instead. It worked out though, because everybody wanted seconds and I got many compliments on how delicious it was! I Had to cut the plums into quarters so that I could fit them in the pans. As another reviewer suggested, I used 3/4 c flour and 1/4 c almond meal/flour and it turned out delightful. I will make this again.
 
kumalavula October 9, 2017
instead of pouring the butter over the dry ingredients, i added the entire quantity of melted butter and mixed it up. then i read the instructions and realized my mistake. it still came out great and was a bit more uniform than it might have otherwise been. it was great. i added cardamom instead of ginger but in general this was easy to put together and yielded tasty results.
 
melissa October 1, 2017
i really enjoyed how pouring the melted butter made some of the topping more like a crumb topping and some of it sort of meringue-y where it the butter didn't reach (so it was crunchy due to egg and air). i might also try adding ground almonds next time. this recipe is great if you love topping -- i often find fruit desserts to have too much fruit (heh) to topping.
 
Theresa October 1, 2017
I also substituted nice CO Palisades peaches, and for texture 1/4 cup ground almonds to 3/4 cup flour. Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds last 15 minutes of baking. Many positive comments all round. Will try with other orchard fruits.
 
durun99 September 30, 2017
This is a wonderful recipe, a great alternative to the equally fabulous plum torte. But you left out one of the defining ingredients---2 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger. This crumble just wouldn't be the same without the sharp warmth added by the candied ginger.
 
LizC September 27, 2017
So good i'm making it again tonight. Jammy, delicious goodness.
 
Starchgirl September 24, 2017
Crispy, sweet, juicy.....the quintessential summer dessert. With local peaches perfect in Ohio right now, I substituted 4 peaches. Delicious, but a tad too much butter. Next time I would use 1/3c instead of 1/2c.
 
heatheranne September 24, 2017
This is amazing! Cooked plums are my fav, and I already love Burros' plum cake. But I think I love this more...