Humble Crumble

Plum crumble served on vintage enamelware


Plums are abundant in the UK – with more than 300 varieties grown – from August to early October, so this is when I get my plum crumble fix. Over time, I’ve rested on this topping recipe as it’s chunky, yet it melts in the mouth perfectly. I don’t cut the plums up as I love the way part of the flesh falls off the stone, leaving a satisfying little bit to nibble. If you don’t share my delight at picking out stones and reciting rhymes whilst eating your pudding, by all means cut the stones out of the plums!

1kg plums
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons demerara sugar

125g whole rolled oats
125g spelt flour
125g demerara sugar
75g cold diced butter

  • After washing the plums in cold water, take a sharp paring knife and, keeping each plum whole, score the skin into quarters and place the fruit into a large saucepan with the water and demerara sugar.
  • Place the pan on a medium heat and cover. Bring to a gentle boil, stir, then gently simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until the plum flesh starts to fall away from the stones. Once cooked, pour the mixture into your chosen pie dish and put to one side.
  • For the crumble topping, place the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Shake the bowl to give the butter a flour coating then, using your fingertips, gently rub the butter with the dry ingredients until the two are blended evenly. This recipe uses quite a high butter ratio, so your mix will start to look a little more like a buttery granola than fine breadcrumbs.
  • Take your dish, with the already decanted plum mixture, and gently spoon the topping over the top, ensuring that it goes right to the edges.
  • Place in a preheated oven at 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for about 20 minutes, or until the topping starts to turn golden and the fruit is bubbling at the sides. Remove from the oven and serve at your preferred temperature.

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