Last night, I made the most exquisite crumble I have ever eaten. I’m not kidding. The first taste I took made me moan and nearly fall to my knees in the kitchen.
I’m not going to say much about this one. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, and the recipe should lead you to making it immediately.
I found it in last week’s New York Times, in an article called “Plums and Pumpkins: Autumn’s Lush Bounty Arrives.” The writer, Marian Burros, led me down the plum crumble path with this writing:
“In fact, it was as good as—no, better than—a plum torte recipe I created that was published in The New York Times nine times between 1984 and 1985, until the day an editor said: ‘Enough! We’ll print it extra large and tell your readers to laminate it and stick it on the refrigerator.’
The plum crumble, made with the little dark plums called Italian, prune, or purple, uses most of the same ingredients as the torte, but doesn’t require a mixer—a fork and fingers will do—and contains bits of crystallized ginger and ground ginger. It has a cruty top with a bit of soft cake underneath, enrobing the plums.”
Since her description of the plum crumble is so wonderfully evocative of the actual taste, I’m not going to add to it. I can’t. I just want to run back to the kitchen and taste it again.
Today, I took a significant chunk of the crumble to school with me, to share it with people there. And to keep it away from me. I’m not kidding—I had to work hard last night to not just stand at the stove and spoon the entire crumble into my mouth. It’s that damn good. So I took it to school and spooned it into the mouths of my colleagues instead. One of them, my dear friend who is a vegan, approved of it, even though it’s full of butter. Everyone made that little moan. Most of them asked for another bite. But it was gone fairly quickly. And one of my students, the boy who loves to cook, took one bite and said, “I can’t tell the difference between this gluten-free flour and regular flour.” Bingo.
Suddenly, I’m thrilled that it’s autumn. I couldn’t have made this crumble in July. But I’m going to make it again this weekend.
And I suggest you do the same.
THE PLUM CRUMBLE OF MY DREAMS
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablspoon plus 1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped candied ginger
12 Italian plums
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 well-beaten egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
°Heat oven to 375° degrees, with rack in center.
° Thoroughly mix brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground ginger, and candied ginger. Add to plums an dmix well. Arrange, skin side up, in ungreased, deep 9-inch pie plate.
°Combine remaining sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Stir in egg. Then, using hands, mix thoroughly to produce little particles. Sprinkle over plums.
°Drizzle butter evenly over crumb mixture and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The crumble is done when the top is browned and plums yield easily when pricked. Remove from oven and cool.
°Serve warm or refrigerate for up to two days or freeze well covered.