These gorgeous little ruby red plums are extra sweet because they were hand-picked by friends. Jordan and her husband have an enormous plum tree in their front yard, which hasn’t yielded much fruit in years’ past, but this year is different.
This year, the tree’s limbs are drooping under the weight of ripening plums. Walking along the sidewalk to their front porch is like walking through a purple polka-dotted candy land.
I wasn’t sure what to do with my plums once I picked them up. Obviously, I had to make something beautiful out of them, something worthy of my friends’ plum-picking efforts. I really have the sweetest friends.
I thought the plums would make a beautiful plum upside-down cake (I think you could make one out of this honey-sweetened almond cake recipe) or sorbet (which reminded me of this peach and raspberry sorbet from two summers ago). I thought about making chia jam, too, but I’ve doing a lot of those lately. I’ve since found out that Tessa turned her plums into a gorgeous clafoutis. Brilliant!
I finally settled on my default fruity dessert: a crisp. One can never go wrong with a fuss-free fruit crisp. I topped my fuchsia, honey-sweetened plum crisp with a layer of pistachio, oat and almond meal crumble. I opted for a gluten-free topping so I could share it with friends, buuuuut I ended up eating it all by myself.
By the way, reheated crisp makes a fantastic breakfast. Just add plain yogurt.
A couple of notes before you start baking. My plums were super juicy, and I made the mistake of transferring all of their juice to the baking dish. That’s why some of the topping sunk down into the crisp. If your plums are super juicy, too, just scoop up the sliced plums with your hands and plop them into the dish, rather than scraping all of the juice in there with them.
Check the recipe notes for suggestions on how to make this crisp vegan and/or nut free. If you don’t have almond meal on hand, check the nut-free notes for an alternative topping that uses regular flour.
You can substitute any nuts for the pistachios. I buy shelled pistachios at Whole Foods, but they are pretty pricy. Slivered almonds would be a more affordable alternative. You really can’t go wrong with a crisp, so don’t hesitate to play with the recipe.
In unrelated news, I am looking to hire a nutrition student to help me make some changes to the site. It would be a short summer gig. I can’t promise that the work itself will be terribly exciting or high paying, but I’d be happy to share insights about blogging and food photography. Contact me if you are interested!
Gluten-Free Plum Crisp with Pistachio, Oat and Almond Meal Topping
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 55 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 1x
- Category: Dessert
This simple plum crisp recipe features honey-sweetened summer plums and a gluten-free oat and almond meal topping! Ginger and pistachios send it over the top (but feel free to substitute another nut for the pistachios).
- 2 pounds plums, halved, pitted and sliced (no need to peel)
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
- ½ cup almond meal or almond flour, lightly packed
- ⅓ cup chopped pistachios, almonds or walnuts
- ⅓ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 9 by 9-inch baking dish, mix together the sliced plums, honey, arrowroot or cornstarch and cinnamon.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal or flour, pistachios, brown sugar, ginger and salt. Mix in the melted butter and yogurt. Stir until the mixture is moistened throughout.
- Dollop spoonfuls of the oat mixture over the filling and use your fingers to break up the mixture until it is evenly distributed (no need to pack it down). Bake for 55 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is lightly golden. Let the crisp rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt, I insist.
Recipe adapted from my pear and cranberry crisp and spiced peach and pistachio crisp (developed for Fitness Magazine).
Make it vegan: I believe you could use melted coconut oil or olive oil in place of the butter and yogurt (use 4 tablespoons oil and add up to 3 more, until the topping mixture is moistened throughout) and maple syrup instead of the honey. I haven’t tried these substitutions, though.
Make it nut free: Omit the chopped nuts and use ¾ cup whole wheat flour and ¾ cup oats instead of the almond meal and oats specified above. It will no longer be gluten free. If you want to keep it gluten free, I suspect that you could replace the almond meal with oat flour or more oats (haven’t tried that, please comment if you do!).
Storage suggestions: Store this crisp in the refrigerator, covered. It will be good for 4 days or so.
Change it up: Substitute any variety of stone fruit for the plums!
Products used to create this recipe: Bob’s Red Mill arrowroot starch and Crate and Barrel Everyday Square Baker
If you love this recipe: You’ll also love my strawberry rhubarb crisp, balsamic stone fruit sundae, individual peach crisps and honey almond cake.
Looks delicious!! Is it acceptable to have some for breakfast?! :)
That looks amazing! Such a great summer recipe and the plums your friends gave you are looking so good!
I know what I’m going to do with the rest of my plums! :) Love that this is gluten-free!
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
I’m super into this dessert for breakfast thing, heck yes!
Erin | The Law Student's Wife
So summer sweet! I love that these came from your friends’ tree. PS. Ate cherry crisp with yogurt for breakfast this morning. High fives!
sue/the view from great island
Hands down plums make the best crisps…love the addition of those pistachios!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Love that pistachio and oat topping!! Such a nice change!
This is exactly the kind of simple dessert I love to make with my backyard plums! Especially useful since you can get ten or twelve of them eaten at one feel swoop. :) And delicious besides!
J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats
This is beautiful! I love plums but they are such a gamble, sometimes your plum is lovely and deep red and sweet and other times it is bland and mealy. Boo. But putting them in a crisp and topping them with honey and butter and crumble topping is the great equalizer, they would all be delicious :)
Do you find that the shelled pistachios you buys taste any different/less fresh than the ones in the shell? Usually buy them in the shell but de-shelling is such a pain.
Hmm, good question! I have been buying my shelled pistachios at Whole Foods and they seem to taste very fresh, no different from shelled pistachios. I do not have the patience to shell all those pistachios for a recipe!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
This looks divine! I don’t eat a whole lot of desserts (mainly because I tend to have more savoury/spicy taste preferences), but when there’s fresh fruit involved…. that’s my weakness! The plums look stunning. I haven’t been to my farmer’s market in a few weeks but I’m going to grab some next time I’m there. They seem to be far more reliable than peaches, which are so hit and miss!
Good point! I have bought so many disappointing peaches and it’s almost impossible to get enough that are ripe at the same time to make a peach dessert. I think you would enjoy this crisp!
Crisps are my default fruit dessert too – when there’s good fruit to be had.
This looks delicious!
Thank you for the nice recipe. Have a Great Weekend!
Thank you, Liz! Hope you’re well!
kristie @ birchandwild.com
This looks so beautiful! I love the color of the plums. I need to find a friend with a plum tree…
i officially need more plums in my life
I have literally never had a fresh plum. I went through a loooong phase as a young kid of hating all fruit and I just wouldn’t eat any of it. Now I could live off just fruit! NEED to try this one out while all the good summer fruit is here. BTW I hope you see my comment on the cherry chocolate cake… and sort of just disregard what I say about it being too coffee-ish for me. Once it was fully cool (yes, I tried to judge a cake hot out of the oven… oops), it was PERFECT and I couldn’t stop eating it. I think I ‘m going to request that as my birthday cake this year!
Happy summer :)
What! You need to try some plums, Ella! There are several varieties and they all taste different. I’m happy to hear that the cake wasn’t too coffee-ish after all!
Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine
Pistachios make everything better. Beautiful crisp!
I wish I had a neighbor with a plum tree! YUM! This looks absolutely delicious!
This really is my type of dish. I love oats (that is an understatement) and this combination looks stunning!
I totally agree about summer crisps – there’s really nothing better is there?! This version sounds magical.
YUM! I love the idea of a ‘purple polka-dotted candy land’ – There should be more of those : )
Sigh…to have a fruit tree! In my mind I have a whole orchard of fruit trees to make crisps, pies, jams and preserves with. In reality, I live in an 800 square foot studio. Good thing for farmer’s markets! Thanks so much for posting this for us :)
Wouldn’t that be lovely? I have a backyard now but the neighborhood bunnies ate my mint and tomato plants!
Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
Kate! I have been dreaming about crisps and crumbles lately :) We are in the depths of winter at the moment, but I bet this would be just as delicious with our winter strawberries, or maybe a mix of apples and pears. I am totally on board for crisp breakfasts too. It’s just like super fruity oatmeal really :)
Also, I started my professional life as a dietitian and would love to be your intern. If only I lived near you (and didn’t have 50 hour work weeks!). Good luck with the changes to the site. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Thanks, Amy! This is definitely an easy base recipe to change up! It would be great with any of those fruits.
I love eating fruit crisps, or crumbles as we call them in Aussieland! Whether summer or winter, they’re just as delicious… particularly when the fruit is as beautiful as these tiny homegrown plums from Jordan’s tree (yay for friends with bountiful gardens!). I’m loving the addition of almond meal and pistachios here. I can imagine just how delicious the combination would be xx
I am so jealous of your fresh-from-the-tree plums! I tried to buy some the other day and I swear they went bad the day after I brought them home. I may have cried.
This crisp is a beauty! So much juicy goodness all up in this joint.
Aw man, I’m sorry your plums were no good! I just bought some beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the store, but when I sliced into them, I realized that they looked a lot better than they tasted. :*(
This is utterly my kind of heaven <3
Holy Moly! This is beautiful and IT LOOKS SO GOOD! Feed me, Kate!
Mmm! Fruit crisps are my number 1 favorite dessert and the flavors and colors of this one are exquisite.
You had me at “crisp”.
Christy @ My Invisible Crown
I love a good crisp and I’ve never even though about making it with plums!!! I love it!
This is such a fantastic recipe! I made it with Italian prune plums as a gluten-free Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) dessert. Huge hit! Foods made with honey are symbolic of a sweet New Year, and Italian plums are in season now, so it was perfect. I love the almond meal in the crisp — so good!
Hi Liz! Thank you! I’m so glad this crisp contributed to your holiday celebration.
Hi there. This crisp or “crumble” as we call them in Australia looks amazing. One thing though, if you use oats it won’t be gluten free unfortunately. They are all gluten contaminated and I can’t eat them myself. You can buy gluten free oats though or if you can’t tolerate oats at all like me, you could use a mixture of almond meal, GF flour and dessicated coconut for the crisp topping.
Helen De Gregorio
Hello Kate, just tuning in from down under (New Zealand) where plum season is underway – hooray! This recipe looks delicious, I look forward to making it with the plums I picked up at the farmer’s Market this morning. Happy baking.
Hello, Helen! I hope your crisp turned out wonderfully!
This recipe is just what I’m looking for. At our new house we have a tree with a ton of small plums that aren’t that great to eat on their own. I try not use dairy, any experience with how it will turn out if I leave out the yogurt? Thanks for the post!
Hi Joelle! I believe you could use melted coconut oil or olive oil in place of the butter and yogurt (use 4 tablespoons oil and add up to 3 more, until the topping mixture is moistened throughout).
I made this as a dessert for a ladies group dinner and everyone LOVED it! Thank you.
Hooray! Thank you for letting me know, Daniela!
I just made this (albeit with some small variations based on what I had in the cupboard) as my first attempt at a crisp and loved it! As a Brit I’ve always tended to head straight for my trsuty crumble topping, but I’ll definitely be adding this to my go-to list as an alternative :-)
Thank you, Jane! So glad you enjoyed it!
I made the topping from this recipe and put it on top of honey cornbread. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to use it for crisps and coffee cakes. Thank you!
forgot to mention I used walnuts in place of pistachios and omitted the ginger. ☺
I’m not gluten free, but I fixed this for my neighbor who is and it is the best crisp I have ever made…gluten free or not! A real keeper!
Hooray! Thank you, Sandi!
I made this last night. It turned out fantastic!! It’s not too sweet like typical “crisps” . I’m pregnant so trying to eat sweets with something healthy involved, lol. I even had it for breakfast this morning with yogurt!! Yummy
Thank you, Jessica! Sounds like a great breakfast. :)
We’ve had a plum tree for years, but never do anything with the fruit, so I was really excited when I found this! I gave it a try and it was so good! I was even able to decrease the honey in the fruit by 2 Tbsp. and it was still sweet enough, but that might just have been my fruit. Thanks for the great recipe!
You’re welcome, Jess!
I LOVE this recipe! I made it with oat flour instead of almond flour and a combination of butter and coconut oil for the topping. Turned out amazing. I also made it with a combination of peaches and plums :)
Great to hear, Ashley! Thanks for sharing.
This gluten free recipe is great. Thanks for posting.
I’m glad you loved it, Clinton!
Can’t wait to try this out! Is it best to use ripe plums for this recipe or can you use slightly underripe ones?
Ripe work best, but slightly unripe should be ok. Make just not be as naturally sweet.
I am always looking for a crumble type recipe that my coeliac children can eat. While oats are technically gluten free, they contain a protein which is very similar to gluten and which makes some coeliacs very ill, including, unfortunately, my children. This is why the Australian Coeliac Society recommends that coeliacs don’t eat oats, even if labelled gluten free. I have tried replacing the oats with quinoa flakes but that didn’t work very well. Do you have other ideas for replacing the oats? I love your recipes and everything I have cooked from your site has worked wonderfully well. Thanks in advance for any brainwaves.
Hi Rosemary, I’m sorry, I’ve racked my brain and really can’t think of another substitute for the oats. I don’t have a crumble recipe, but if you could find one that worked with gluten-free all-purpose flour, that might be your best bet.
Thank you for giving it some thought Kate. I really appreciate it.
I love all of your recipes! I just picked a lot of plums off my tree and want to try this crumble recipe. I have everything on hand except yogurt. Do you have any substitute recommendation?
Hi Desiree! I have a note on how to make it vegan that might work. Check that out below the recipe notes. You may be able to use coconut oil, although I haven’t tried it.
This is one of my favorite desserts I’ve ever made! So delicious. Made it vegan with maple syrup and vegan butter with a little coconut oil. Highly recommend making this yummy August treat.
Great recipe. I love the topping. Making again this week. Thank you.
FYI I made this recipe with plums that were a day or so beyond perfect ripeness (=less firm and starting to be soft and squishy) and this dessert was a great way to disguise that fact.
While my family all said they prefer my usual crisp topping (hence only 4 stars), we did enjoy the additional crunch of slivered almonds and I loved the ginger.
I’m glad that I found this delicious and simple way to use plums! It was yummy reheated too.
Thank you for your feedback, Shelli.
Can I use frozen cherries as a substitute
Hi, I haven’t tried it, but it might work. Let me know.
I’m wondering how to freeze these? I was thinking how nice they would be to pull out randomly in the winter. What would you suggest? Also, amazing recipe and great way to use up our plums!
I haven’t tried freezing this recipe so I can’t say for sure, sorry!
I know it’s not ideal, but could I use jarred plums? Or is there anything I could make with them? (Bought some for the kids, in juice, not syrup, of course, but they are too tart for them by themselves)
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, Genevieve. Sorry!
I loved the recipe. Thank you very much❤️
Can I substitute white or whole wheat flour for the almond flour? If yes, how much should I use?
Hi, I haven’t tried it here so I can’t say for sure.
Many thanks for the great idea. We picked many Damson plums from a neighbor’s tree and used some in this recipe, which I modified to make it super-celiac safe (no oats) as well as vegan (cashew yogurt, maple syrup, olive oil). I also added coconut flakes. It tastes fantastic!
I don’t usually eat vegan or gluten-free, but there is definitely nothing missing in this version either. Again, thank you for the base recipe. I’ll be making it again in different forms, I’m sure.
I’m glad you liked it, Plisca! I appreciate your review.
Yes, made this and it was delicious. I believe I put too much corn flour in relation to the plums I used.
I will be using the recipe again and will be sharing it with my friends.
Thank you Cookie and Kate
After making your scrumptious gluten free peach crisp adding some blueberries( with requests for the recipe), I’m on to your other crisps. Easy and yet elegant dessert for company and gets my husband to eat more fruit! I made it with maple syrup in place of the honey and sugar and coconut oil in place of the butter and YUM!
I’m delighted you enjoyed it, Jeanne! I appreciate your review.