Purple Plum Crisp

To me, small purple plums mean autumn. I always associate them with September, when the bins in the supermarkets fill with these and the first leaves on the trees begin to yellow out. When Rosh Hashanah is near and Jewish cooks everywhere in America are planning to bake a holiday Plum Cake.

There are plums all summer long of course. Red ones, black ones, green ones. But Italian prune plums, small and purple, are always the last, a harbinger that the season is about to change.

But it’s only August now! Is everything just rushing by for me?

Is it rushing by for you?

Or are these plums here early because of the weather?

Or maybe we’re just lucky.

Whatever the reason, I caught the first binful a few days ago and bought myself several pounds of these. They’re the best plums to bake with because they’re not as sweet as eating-out-of-hand kinds and besides, they are freestone, which means the pit comes out easily, so they’re a cinch to cook with. And, of course, you can do a whole lot with them beyond Plum Cake, although that recipe is always part of my fall repertoire.

Here’s my first recipe of the next season, a fragrant Plum Crisp. 

Purple Plum Crisp

  • 2 pounds Italian prune plums
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • crust:
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup bran flakes or raisin bran flakes
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the plums, cut them in half and remove the pits. Slice the plums into smaller pieces. Mix the plums with the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and tapioca. Place the fruit mixture into a baking dish and set aside.

To make the crust: Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Crush the bran flakes slightly and put them in a bowl. Add the oats, nuts, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the melted butter. Mix until the dry the ingredients are covered with the melted butter. Place the cereal mixture over the fruit. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the crust is crispy and golden brown.

Makes 6-8 servings