amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Plum almond crisp with cardamom custard

POSTED ON September 25, 2012

warm crisp with cool custard

Lately I have been surrounded by an abundance of plums: Italian prune plums, back plums, Santa Rosa’s and many more that I can’t identify readily. Some varieties have pink flesh, some yellow, all delicious. I had no intension of bringing home so many from the farmer’s market the other day. I chose a few of each variety, but since there were more than I could resist, I ended up with a couple of good-sized bags. Although plums eaten fresh can be great, I think their real beauty and flavor shines once they’re cooked.  Whether stewed, sautéed or roasted, a cooked plum, crimson and delicious is the perfect ingredient for early fall baking.


Some of you may have seen a version of this crisp, along with other recipes I developed for the summer issue of Whole Living magazine. When I was testing the recipe, it got rave reviews. Many friends loved the combination of toasted almonds, warm succulent plums and the cool, cardamom custard. I hope you get a chance to make it before the plums disappear!  The fragrance of the fruit bubbling beneath the sweet oats and almonds will draw anyone in your home close to the stove, cup of tea in hand, while they wait for the crisp to emerge.

crisp and custard

black plum filling

crisp cooling


Plum almond crisp with cardamom custard

The plums I used were on the firm side, if your plums are very ripe and juicy you won’t need to bake them as long covered with foil. Reduce the covered baking time to 20 minutes, uncover and continue as directed.

I had the pleasure of developing this crisp and custard for Whole Living magazine’s July/ August issue.


¾ cup whole raw almonds

¾ cup regular rolled oats

1/3 cup whole spelt flour

1/3 cup maple sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


2 pounds plums, halved, pitted and sliced in ¼ slices (I used Black plums)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons arrowroot powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread almonds onto a baking sheet and toast for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium-size mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, maple sugar and cinnamon.  Add the coconut oil and mix well. Stir in maple syrup and vanilla. Roughly chop the almonds and add them to the oat mixture, set aside while you prepare the fruit.

In another bowl combine the plums, cinnamon, arrowroot powder, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla. Mix well and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Crumble to topping over the fruit, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.

Serves 6

Cardamom custard

½ cup cashews

2 cups plain rice milk, plus 1 tablespoon

Pinch sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup (grade A, the lighter the better)

5 cardamom pods, crushed

1 ½ teaspoons arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cashews, 2 cups of rice milk, salt and maple syrup in a blender and puree for 1 minute. Pour into a 1 to 2 quart pot, add cardamom and bring to a boil whisking constantly.  Cover, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl combine remaining tablespoon of rice milk with arrowroot and stir until dissolved. Remove lid from pot, raise heat to medium and while whisking constantly, slowly pour in arrowroot mixture. Whisk for 30 seconds, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Strain custard into a bowl and allow to cool. Place in the fridge and chill completely until ready to serve.

Makes 2 cups/serves 6 to 8


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  • judith scott says:

    this looks off the chain delicious! thank you..

  • Sharon says:

    this looks absolutely delicious!!!!!

  • Jessica Ramirez says:

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it with the last of the plums. Is there a flour you can recommend we can swap the spelt flour for? Trying to keep it g-free.


    • Amy Chaplin says:

      You could use a combination of ground oats, almond meal and a little rice flour…may want to reduce the liquid a little.
      L,et me know how it goes!

  • Diana says:

    I’ve made this two times and it was an absolute hit. One interesting thing to mention is that I had to leave the crumble in the oven for an additional 80 minutes in order to get the plums to break down and achieve that gooey texture. It was well worth the wait!

  • Rosalia says:

    Hi Amy,
    I don’t have cardamon pods on hand. Can I use the powder or what do you recommend?

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