I keep buying more and more fruit. Every week I scoop up as many peaches, plums, and berries as I can reasonably justify. Most of the fruit is eaten raw, their freshness savored over breakfast and midday snacks. The rest sit idly ripening, earmarked for baked goods. And so these plum crumble bars were born.
The original recipe calls for peaches, but I haven’t been able to muster any self restraint when it comes to peaches — I keep gobbling them one by one rather than baking with them. So plums it was. I also omitted the nuts, because ick. As we’ve well established by now, nuts have no place in dessert. And in the spirit of my recent revelation re: balsamic vinegar and fruit, I added a generous tablespoon of balsamic to the plums. (For the record, balsamic is better with blueberries. I didn’t detect the flavor at all with the plums.)
Part shortbread cookie, part gooey fruit center, part crumbly sweet oat topping, these bars have something for everyone. As Pops would say, num-o!
Plum Oat Crumble Bars
Adapted from Peach & Pecan Oat Crumble Bars by The Kitchn
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 packed cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 pound plums, unpeeled (about 4 plums)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Heat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8x8-inch baking dish. (I opted for a large pie plate.)
In a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Turn off the mixer and manually fold in the flour, salt, and ginger. Take care not to overmix; incorporate dry ingredients just until the dough comes together. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and refrigerate while preparing the filling and topping.
Roughly chop the plums into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the sugar, flour, balsamic (if using), and salt. Set aside. Using the same bowl as for the dough, mix softened butter with oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt until crumbly. Spread the chopped plums over the chilled dough base. Evenly crumble the topping over plums, and drizzle with melted butter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned. Cool (or chill) for at least an hour before slicing and serving. I do recommend chilling these, as they slice much easier when cool. Bars will stay fresh for about 5 days when stored well-covered in the fridge.