Plum Crumble with Crystallized Ginger {gluten-free, vegan}

We attended a very popular music festival last weekend.  There were bands galore.  Surprisingly, I had even heard of many of them and I am notoriously out-of-the-music-loop.  However, despite the amount of fun I was supposed to be having, I couldn’t help but wish, every few minutes or so, that I was back home, snuggled up under the soft light of a lamp, finishing Anna Karenina, with a cup of tea and a few warm bites of this crumble.

Try the crumble and then perhaps in a small way you can empathize with my feelings of dissent.

The tart plum skins, when left intact, melt into the rest of the dish to create a warm, strikingly crimson-colored pudding. Finely-diced candied ginger lends a soft hum of spice, all of this beneath a crumbly, almost-cookie top.

PLUM CRUMBLE WITH CRYSTALLIZED GINGER
Adapted from Marian Burros

I scaled back the amount of crystalized ginger to my tastes from 2 heaping tablespoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons. If you quite like ginger go all the way; otherwise, I would recommend the moderate approach.

Look for firm plums, not too ripe, but not rock hard, either. Also, the recipe calls for Italian prune plums. They are rather small and oval. The first time I made this I was able to find exactly that variety. However, since then, I’ve simply substituted a more everyday type easily found in stores, the round ones with skin almost as dark as an eggplant. The results were just as good.

Prep the plums:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown or white rice flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 scant tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
12 purple Italian or prune plums, cut in half and pitted, or 6 regular dark purple plums, quartered and pitted

For the crumbly top:
1/3 cup sorghum flour (or brown rice flour)
1/3 cup white rice flour
3 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted clarified butter, melted (or butter, or Spectrum organic shortening)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the plums, beginning with the brown sugar through the ground ginger. Add the sliced plums to the bowl and using your hands, stir to coat. Place the plums in an ungreased 9″ pie pan or 8″ square baking dish. Sprinkle the candied ginger over the plums. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients for the crumble topping. Pour in the melted oil and using your fingers mix and shape to form little crumbs and clumps. Scatter handfuls over the plums so that they are thoroughly coated and covered.
  • Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or longer, until the top is a nice golden brown and the plum filling is tender.