Plum and cherry crumble, with an oat & spelt top

by admin on May 21, 2009 · 15 comments

Post image for Plum and cherry crumble, with an oat & spelt top

We’ve just spent a few days in the glorious highlands of Scotland.  Me with my camera and the triathlete with his bike, taking part in the Caledonian Etape.  Or trying to anyway; the whole weekend turned out to be rather more eventful than planned when somebody sabotaged the event by scattering carpet tacks across the route, possibly in protest at the road closures put in place for the event (scheduled to last an incredibly inconvenient three whole hours).

The Scots as it turns out have a whole vocabulary to describe rain.  After a dreich day, the rain upgraded its status to stotting down. The weather in England hasn’t been much better since we got back from our break (grey and distinctly chilly) so this seems an opportune time to share a crumble recipe.

cherry plum crumble fillingI’ve dallied with ‘healthier fats’ in crumbles, but haven’t yet come up with a satisfactory recipe (oils seem to produce a dish more rubble than crumble).  A compromise is to accompany the butter with a high fruit to topping ratio, not too much sugar and plenty of good stuff in the topping.  Wholemeal spelt flour, whole oats plus roughly chopped hazelnuts for texture.  Spelt flour has a toasty, nutty flavour and is my current favourite standby flour for all but the most serious of baking recipes.  (Shopping note: as with the unmilled spelt grains, spelt flour comes in wholegrain and white varieties. Check the label to see which sort you are getting).


Our crumble accompaniment tends to start from luxurious, fresh vanilla custard on the first day to a more austere, sour note like natural yogurt or half-fat creme fraiche for the leftovers.

Other recipes featuring oats, plums and spelt
Baked plums with cinnamon and honey
Fig and plum porridge
Butternut squash, oat and ginger cake bites
Summery herb, salmon and spelt salad
Rhubarb and Ginger Thickie

The photo at the top of this post is from Queen’s View, reputably the most photographed view in Perthshire and a favourite of Queen Victoria.

cherry plum crumble

Recipe for Plum and cherry crumble, with an oat & spelt top

Serves four to six people

For the fruity part
Half a dozen plums, quartered and stones removed
1 can black cherries, drained
1 tsp allspice
1 ball stem ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp demerara sugar

For the topping
110g spelt flour
40g rolled oats
75g butter (fridge cold)
60g demerara sugar
30g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.

Mix together the plums, cherries, allspice, ginger and 2 tbsp sugar in an ovenproof dish.

Chop the butter into cubes and place in a bowl with all of the other topping recipes. Crumble the butter, flour, oats etc between thumb and forefinger until the mixture becomes an evenly textured crumb.

Pour the crumble mixture over the fruit and pat down.

Place the dish on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.

These timings produces a crumble with a little bit of texture left in the fruit. If you prefer your fruit to be on the mushier side then pre-cook the fruit mixture for 10 minutes before adding the crumble topping and baking for the 20 minutes specified.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Johanna May 22, 2009 at 00:16

this is a timely post for me – I made an apricot crumble this week and have some plums I am thinking of using for another crumble – love the plum and cherry pairing – and I have been thinking about fats and sugar in the crumble – I tried put some dried fruit in the crumble to reduce the sugar a little which I liked but am looking forward to more experiments with my plums – and will be looking at this recipe for inspiration

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Johanna May 22, 2009 at 00:17

Oh and I love your photos – scotland is so beautiful!

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Arwen from Hoglet K May 22, 2009 at 01:46

That’s funny about the Scots rain vocabulary! I feel like we need it in Sydney this week. It’s certainly crumble weather. I like your idea of adding nuts, both from a health perspective and a flavour perspective.

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kathryn May 22, 2009 at 07:28

Good heavens, carpet tacks on the road that’s a bit full-on, isn’t it? I hope your hubby was alright. Not like Le Tour, where whole regions turn out to support the race.
And that crumble looks bloody delicious Sophie. Like your high fruit to crumble ratio. I too have fiddled around with oils, fruit juices and so on, as butter replacements. But they always taste a bit too, well, healthy really. Good work.

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Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar May 22, 2009 at 14:20

What utterly shameful behaviour! I take it that they didn’t think about cyclists landing on the tacks when they came off? I hope your husband is okay.
The crumble looks fantastic. I didn’t know that spelt flour had a nutty flavour, and I’m now really keen to give it a go. Does it work in batters? I’m picturing spelt breakfast pancakes with bananas and chopped hazelnuts…

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Sophie May 23, 2009 at 08:33

OOOOOH,…Sophie! What a beauty of a lovely crumble!
I love the Highlands too!
I love stem ginger in my crumbles & I adore that you have used spelt in your topping because I love to eat spelt sourdough bread! I love spelt flour!! Yummie dessert indeed!

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Sophie May 23, 2009 at 08:35

MMMMM…Sophie! Your crumble looks fab!
I love the Highlands too!
I love it that you have used spelt flour in your topping because i love spelt! I use spelt flour in my pancakes & in my bread!
I also love to add stem ginger in my crumbles!
Your dessert is a keeper! MMMMMM…

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Elaine May 24, 2009 at 15:11

Just added two items to my list of things to do before I leave this earth:
1) Visit Scotland — gorgeous, gorgeous.
2) Eat plum and cherry crumble with oat & spelt top.
One, of course, will be easier than the other.
You know, a little bit of crumble topping goes along way, so I’m with you. Use the butter but balance it with fruit, grains & nuts.
Lovely writing and photos, Sophie, but I’m so sorry about the tack incident. So infantile and thoughtless. (Several years ago my brother went to a conference in Scotland & went on a self-guided cycling tour.)
Hope you are enjoying a non-dreich day.

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Alex May 24, 2009 at 19:56

That looks simply phenomenal!

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aforkfulofspaghetti May 25, 2009 at 10:13

Fruit crumbles are always dear to my heart – and I’m liking the idea of trying spelt as an alternative in the actual crumble.

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Sophie May 25, 2009 at 10:43

First of all, a big thank you to everyone for their commiserations re. the carpet tack incidents. The cyclists were all very disappointed after all of their training and the long journey up to Scotland but the good news is that they’ve signed up to do the same race again next year so the show will go on!
Johanna, like your idea of dried fruits to reduce the sugar. As least you get some minerals and fibre from dried fruits as well as the sweetness (p.s glad you like the pic – Scotland is very photogenic)
Arwen – I think we’re in that brief phase were UK and Sydney weather are roughly the same. Good for recipe swapping, though I guess you guys are missing the sun a bit
Kathryn – the carpet tacks were such a shame because a lot of the locals had turned out to support and cheer people on. They have now made an arrest which is good. I know what you mean about altered crumbles tasty too healthy. The butter is staying for now!
Angela – I can’t see why the spelt flour wouldn’t work in a batter. It would probably be a little bit heavier than plain flour, but tastier too
Sophie – stem ginger seems to go with most fruit don’t you think? Nice to hear from another spelt flour fan
Hi Elaine, yes, I get a bit disappointed with crumbles that have more topping than fruit. And you should definitely plan a trip to Scotland – such a beautiful country
Thanks Alex!
aforkfulofspaghetti – definitely try the spelt. I find normal crumbles with plain flour and no nuts or oats really dull now :-)

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Vanessa Carey June 3, 2009 at 15:30

Hi! Fantastic blog! Crumbles are amazing for sure. If you are looking to make a healthier one with slightly less fat, or healthier fats, I’d highly recommend Ani Phyo’s raw take on crumble. You process some dates, pecans, pinch of salt and a tsp of vanilla extract. My favourite is with chopped plums, but mango also tastes fabulous. http://www.aniphyo.com/?s=crumble here is one variation. try it! i assure you will like it!

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Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome June 8, 2009 at 14:29

I have a wheat issue, so I use spelt for my baking and I find that here in Spain as I can only get the wholemeal variety cakes turn out rather dense and never absorb enough moisture…
It works perfectly however in soda bread and crumbles.

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Clar January 15, 2011 at 12:54

I have made this several times and passed it on – it is simply delicious and so simple to make! Thanks!

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Justin Little February 8, 2012 at 13:59

Really appreciate you sharing this blog article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

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