Plum, Dumb & Full of Crumb

Sorry, people who put him in the “crazy” camp: Steve was not doing exactly the same thing and expecting different results. After all, these smaller, redder plums were purchased from a different vendor. And this time Steve did not leave them sitting in a bowl on the counter.  He left them sitting on the counter in a paper bag, which somehow rendered them invisible.

Fortunately, these plums ripened much less violently than their predecessors, with only a few having matured past pleasurable eating when Steve finally remembered the brown bag. He appealed to Michelle’s insatiable interest in dessert, singing the praises of this particular strain of plum (having sampled some on-the-brink beauties while sorting out the overripe ones). Michelle consulted her cookbooks, coming up with this “Plum crumble tart” from Nigel Slater’s Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard (that’s Tender: Vol. II for those of you in the U.K.), filling out the fruit with some blueberries we still had stashed in the freezer. Slater mentions in the recipe that he can’t decide if this is a “tart or a cake,” but Steve sees it more as a soft, delicate bar, able to be eaten out of hand once it’s set and cooled. It was a little lacking in sweet for Michelle’s taste, but she did enjoy it enough to consider the recipe another alternative for what will certainly be more fruit-salvaging situations.


(adapted from Nigel Slater’s Ripe)

  • 2 c. + 1 TB all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 c. ground almonds
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 lb. plums, pitted and cut into halves or quarters
  • 5 oz. blueberries
  • 2-1/2 TB sugar
  • 1/3 c. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a 9″ square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper, with enough extra paper on 2 sides to be able to lift the tart out.

Mix flour, brown sugar, ground almonds and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers as you would for pie dough or biscuits.  (Slater says to make it resemble “coarse fresh breadcrumbs.”)

Put 2/3 of the flour mixture atop the parchment in the baking pan.  Push it down gently to form a base, making sure to push into the four corners.  Firm it, without compacting.

Cover the base with the fruit.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Mix the sliced almonds into the remaining flour mixture.  Scatter over the fruit.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.   Cool pan on a wire rack for a bit until the tart firms up.  Lift out of the baking pan using the parchment ends, and let cool further.



  1. An Ng.

    I do so love Nigel Slater’s books, even though I still don’t have Ripe. I recently finished his memoir Toast and it endears him to me even more. The picture with the bee is really lovely.

    • He’s a lovely writer, isn’t he? I read Toast several years ago and was just thinking I needed to find my copy and read it again. I must admit that I’ve had difficulty with making some of his baked goods. I blame the differences between European and American flours though, not him!

      • An Ng.

        Actually, you might be right. I’ve also had little luck with baking recipes from British authors, especially Nigella Lawson. It happens often enough for me to believe that maybe the recipes aren’t completely at fault.

  2. I love Nigel Slater’s books too! I sometimes wish I were Nigel Slater . . . but I kind of like being a little Asian person more . . .

    The crumble/bar looks great! Are you guys back from the European vacay?

  3. I’m not at all familiar with Slater’s cookbooks but seeing that cake/tart/bar makes me wish I were. It’s the ground almonds in the crust. I bet they go quite well with that the mix of plums and blueberries. I’ve pinned the recipe for future reference, This I must try!

  4. Mmm…I’m so now interested in reading of Slater with all these comments! And I’m very interested in the recipe. I love those that feel like old time summer desserts, perfect for a picnic!

  5. Now you could appeal to both Michelle’s “insatiable interest in dessert” and Steve’s preoccupation with the porky and replace some (or all) of the butter with a little good lard. NOW we’re talking phat.

  6. Your fruit storage system sounds like mine! Except that mine also includes the fridge at this time of year to ward off fruit flies. This sounds like a delicious way to salvage the opaque bags that get lost in back!

  7. I’ve had my eye on it, but I don’t own Ripe (yet). I don’t like my desserts too sweet, and with all of those almonds and that juicy fruit, I might need to make this before the summer slips away.

  8. How have i missed out on visiting before. Roger sent me and here I find many of my friends lurking about in your comments section. Were they keeping you a secret? i can see why! your work is lovely. very lovely. But the secret is out. Have a wonderful evening.. I am cecilia and my plum tree is still too small for a pie but soon.. soon.. c

  9. I wish “Roger” would do some forwarding to MY blog. (It’s always ME ME ME.) Are you in beautiful windswept Normandy yet? Feasting on tiny mussels and unpasteurized cheeses?

    OH and I like this post, and I agree that with a shortbread crust this might be the plummy crumby sweet of the summer.

  10. Pingback: In our absence… « The Garum Factory

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