I am continually amazed by the fruit and berries that grow right in my own backyard. Among all the different types of plants I have, my yard also boasts three blueberry bushes, one plum tree, one apple tree, a couple rows of strawberries, and some raspberries that are hanging on for dear life on a metal trellis I snatched from my grandparents.Not only is it fun to watch things bloom and grow, I get to see first-hand the Master’s handiwork. Little white buds that – barring any deer that jump our 6-foot fence and strip the branches – will turn into luscious blueberries. Or watching the raspberry vines creep up the metal gate I have plunked right in the middle of my garden. The most awe-inspiring though, has to be the fig trees. The photo below is ONE tree! It’s seriously like the Garden of Eden (minus the naked people) in my yard.
When Craig and Elsie picked plums the other day, I didn’t just want to throw them in a smoothie. I wanted a treat. I seem to gravitate towards bars. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because you get more than one texture. With a pie, it’s normally a crust and a filling. But with a bar, you get to have three layers! Score! These were especially good because almonds pair so well with plums. I also added flavors that remind me of fall – cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. As usual, I used King Arthur Flour’s Clearjel. I find this so much more appealing than cornstarch or flour as a thickener. It doesn’t cloud the fruit or give it a starchy flavor. It thickens beautifully and without cooking. You’ll notice I include both volume and weight measurements. It’s much more accurate to measure flours and sugars this way.Print
For the crust and crumble:
- 1 1/4 cups|6.25 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 cup|7 ounces brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 cups plums, pitted and sliced into quarters
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup|1.75 ounces sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Clearjel
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- generous pinch of ground cloves
To make the crust/crumble:
- Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 9×11 pan with non-stick spray and line with a parchment sling.
- Mix all of crust ingredients in a bowl and reserving 1 1/2 cups, spread remaining in bottom of pan.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
To make the filling:
- Wash and dry plums. Pit and slice into quarters. Toss with lemon juice.
- Mix sugar, spices, and Clearjel in a bowl. Add fruit mixture and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Spread filling over crust and top with remaining crumble, breaking apart large pieces.
- Bake an additional 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.
Store leftovers (if there are any!) in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days.
The crust layer puffs up quite a bit, so do not make it too thick. I chopped the almonds by hand – but you could use a food processor. Just be sure the almonds don’t turn into a paste. You want the crunchiness of the almonds to come through.