Vegan Blackberry Plum Crisp
August 31, 2015

Vegan blackberry plum crisp

Plums are a fruit that I didn’t grow up eating or cooking with until pretty recently. But I’m discovering them more and more each summer and early fall. They’ve become one of my favorite fruits to bake with, and there’s no better way to show them off than with this fresh, juicy vegan blackberry plum crisp.

I always get confused over the difference between crisp and crumble, and I think I’ve finally got it memorized: the streusel topping of a crisp contains oats, whereas the topping in crumble is just flour, sugar, and butter (and maybe nuts). I like both, but this is a crisp, and it’s true to its name. The oats crips up during cooking, which is a nice contrast with the juicy fruit underneath.

One of the nice things about rustic fruit desserts like this one is their flexibility. They can withstand swaps and substitutions. If you don’t have plums or blackberries, you can try peaches and raspberries. Or mixed berries. Or apples and berries. Have fun with the recipe, and let it adapt to the season and whatever you’re bringing from the market to your home.

Baked vegan blackberry plum crisp

Vegan blackberry plum crisp ingredients

Flour

I used unbleached, all-purpose flour here, which is my go-to for most baking. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can absolutely use a gluten-free, all purpose flour blend that you’ve tried and liked before (I like King Arthur’s Measure for Measure flour). You could also add a little extra fiber and wholesomeness to the recipe by doing a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. Rye flour and spelt flour could be used in place of whole wheat, too.

Fat

I’ve made this recipe with both vegan butter and solid coconut oil for a fat source in the topping. They both work well! I love the flavor of vegan butter, and it’s generally my preference for baking. But solid coconut oil is perfect for this recipe. It becomes solid when it’s cold, so you can store it in the fridge prior to using it in the streusel topping.

Oats

I think that rolled oats (sometimes labeled as “old-fashioned oats”) have the best texture for crisp toppings. You can use quick oats in a pinch, but they may get a little less crispy than rolled. I don’t recommend steel cut oats for the recipe.

Fruits

Plums can be replaced with any stone fruit: peaches, apricots, cherries, or nectarines. The blackberries can be replaced with any other berry. I especially like peaches and raspberries together, so that’s an excellent combination to try. In the fall and winter, you could replace all of the fruit with apples and/or pears.

Making a vegan crisp (aka the beauty of messy desserts)

The beauty of a crisp is the simplicity of making it. Simply toss your fruits together with the sugar and a couple tablespoons flour. Use a food processor to make the streusel topping (it’s also fine to use a biscuit cutter or your hands—the best kitchen tool of all!). Pile the fruit into an oiled baking dish, top it with the streusel, and bake till brown and bubbly.

Crisps and crumbles and cobblers are usually pretty messy looking, but I think that’s part of their beauty and appeal. The first time I made this recipe, the top was a little too brown and the fruit had nearly bubbled out of my baking dish. It was a total mess, and I wondered if I should remake it. I’ve made neater batches since, using a slightly bigger baking dish and adjusting oven time. But they’ve all been equally tasty.

It’s hard to beat a summer dessert that’s both this delicious and this low-key. The fact that crisps are packed enough with fruit and oats to be a pretty reasonable breakfast option is a nice perk. But I like this crisp best when it’s topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or a big spoon of banana soft serve.

Vegan Blackberry Plum Crisp | The Full Helping

Vegan Blackberry Plum Crisp

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet plums, pitted and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 heaping cup blackberries (about 1/2 pint)
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour (or gluten free, all purpose flour)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons vegan butter or solid coconut oil (refrigerated before use)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly oil a deep, 9 inch pie dish or an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, toss the plums and blackberries together with the 3 tablespoons sugar and the 2 tablespoons flour.
  • Place the 1/3 cup sugar, the 1 cup flour, oats, salt, and vegan butter or coconut oil together in a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the cold water. Pulse until the mixture has formed large crumbs. Add another tablespoon of water if it's too crumbly. When it's all crumbs, you're done. Alternately, you can mix the crumble topping together by rubbing it all together with your fingertips until it has that nice crumb consistency.
  • Place the plums and blackberries in the dish and distribute the crumb topping over them. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until the filling is very bubbly and the top is browning. Allow the crisp to cool somewhat before serving, so that the filling isn't too runny. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to four days.

Notes

Leftover crisp can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Vegan summer dessert

If you love plums already, then I’m reasonably sure you’ll like this vibrantly colored, juicy vegan blackberry plum crisp. If you’re more of a pie crust person, you can also try my vegan plum and spelt galette, which is another favorite of mine during plum season.

A new season

I’m making my way back to grad school (again!) this fall. This time, it’s to begin my masters in nutrition science. My start date for classes is right around the corner. I’m excited, but I’m nervous, too. The last year has been such a gift, a chance to dive back into writing, blogging, and counseling with purpose and pleasure. It’s hard to leave it behind. But I realize that the education I’m getting— more thorough understanding of nutrition science and how it works—is precious.

This fall, I’ll have courses in nutritional ecology, nutritional biochemistry, and human development. I’ll report back to you on what I’m learning from time to time. I also plan to share with you some of my strategies for meal prep and planning as a part-time student. This was something I really wanted to do more constructively during my post-bacc, but those years were so chaotic that I never really shared in a way that was helpful. I think I can do better now!

On that note, everyone, have a great night. And enjoy the beautifully messy crisp.

xo

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    47 Comments
  1. […] that are less extreme, although she is still inspired by her raw food background. Check out this gluten-free plum and blackberry crisp (pictured) or her totally addictive creamy cashew carrot dressing and quinoa bowl. As a certified […]

  2. […] that are less extreme, although she is still inspired by her raw food background. Check out this gluten-free plum and blackberry crisp (pictured) or her totally addictive creamy cashew carrot dressing and quinoa bowl. As a certified […]

  3. […] that are less extreme, although she is still inspired by her raw food background. Check out this gluten-free plum and blackberry crisp (pictured) or her totally addictive creamy cashew carrot dressing and quinoa bowl. As a certified […]

  4. Sending you so much love going forward, it’s been an honour to follow your journey, to learn alongside you, to watch (read) you grow and find your calling. And I just *know* your super-keen to dig out your student lunch boxes really! (you know the tiffin i mean 😉 ) xxxxxxx

  5. I’m looking forward to making this. Personally, I love when food appears a little messy around the edges – it just calls to be eaten!
    Best of luck this semester. Sounds like you have a great balance worked out. Xo

  6. Hi Gena! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and wanted to tell you good luck with your new studies! I am starting my MS in nutrition this semester as well after a long time coming. I wasn’t sure whether or not to go the RDN route but now I am really considering it after reading some of your posts. I looked at the ACEND site but didn’t see my school on there so I’m hoping to contact the Counsil and see if I might be eligible as well. I look forward to seeing your meal posts to get some inspiration during this new back to school season!

  7. Your writing is so honest and beautiful in this post, Gena. It sounds like you’re heading into this new chapter from a great mental place–wise, calm, and ready!

    Not posting a recipe because of the messiness is something I would consider too, but I think the messiness of this summer crisp definitely adds to its charm. XO

  8. The mess makes it all the more beautiful. I always say “cook and bake with abandon,” and if that means I make a mess, so be it! This is a beautiful crisp and I love that you used plums and blackberries together. Best of luck to you with your classes!!

  9. “Life is too short. I will work hard, I will apply myself with rigor, and I will enjoy the material. But there will be things I don’t grasp easily, and mistakes will be made. Life will go on, and I’ll cherish the learning process anyway.” — I’m going to write this on a post-it note and carry it with me everywhere. Perfect words. And the recipe looks amazing.

  10. I am applying for the didactic program this spring at the University of North Dakota so I am still working through my pre-reqs. Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle has been my favorite class so far, especially the sections on breastfeeding. I had a fantastic professor who made all of the info easy for us to soak up. Good luck with your semester!

    • So glad that you’re enjoying your coursework, Erin, and I love the tip about Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. I actually just switched up fall classes so that it’ll be Human Development instead, but Life Cycle is in a future semester. Can’t wait to explore the class.

  11. I constantly read about healthy lifestyles, and try to keep an alkaline ph.(as a result of repeated UTI’s, reflux, etc…to keep from taking any kind of meds, which can destroy my bone density) I have used strictly almond milk for 2 years, but just read that the ingredient, carrageenan, is cancer causing…therefore, we should make our own almond milk. Are you aware of carrageenan and it’s consequences? I also eat lots of raw foods as I know cooking destroys some of the nutrition, so I watch your site for those recipes without sugar and other acidic foods. I had a great desire of becoming a dietitian many years ago, but didn’t know where to start, as I felt most dietitions were not taught true nutririon. Congrats to you and good luck with your adventure of learning more…and for passing it on to us.

  12. I’m glad you posted this! I agree that the messy edges are part of a crisp’s charm and I especially love using plums in crisps for that pretty purple/pink colour they impart. Wishing you the most restful unofficial “last weekend of summer” before your studies begin xo

    • Many thanks for the kind words, Christine! Crisps are so lovely (I say this still basking in the glow of yesterday’s leftovers!).

  13. Aw so happy for you Gena, it sounds like things are really falling into place and you’re at a great place life, school, and careerwise. I’ve been following your blog since the beginning and find it inspiring. Thanks for sharing your personal journey with school and work. I’m trying to get into an RD program, came from an arts background and am facing set backs and your stories encourage me to preservere. Best of luck with this semester. It sounds like it will be a great balance and all very fulfilling.

    • Sylvia,

      I’ve been enjoying your thoughtful comments for as long as you’ve been enjoying the blog! Thanks so much for the kind words. I can’t encourage you strongly enough to persevere with the RD track, if that is what you want. I know it’s humbling and often exasperating to switch gears from a lifetime in the humanities to the hard sciences. But what I can tell you now that I’ve been at it for a long time is that the material really *is* starting to cohere, to resonate, to take shape, and the methodology is truly starting to feel like second nature. It’s a new way of thinking for sure (just like they say law school is), but with patience, it can open up a lot of fascinating material. Be tough, but be gentle on yourself, and I wish you much luck.

      xo

  14. Good luck going back to school Gena! You’ll do wonderfully and are definitely on the right track. I’d be a student (nearly) all my life if I could too. The field of nutrition is always changing, interesting and inspiring. That’s one—of the many— things I love. Good luck and enjoy! Lovely recipe too:) Looking forward to reading your new book out with Food 52!

  15. Gena, I loved this post soooo much! So happy you’re doing the right thing for you. Looking forward to updates about school and any tips/techniques for planning, etc. That’s one of my biggest downfalls, for sure. And of course, I love this recipe. Planning a trip to the market this Saturday to look for plums. Thanks for all you do!

    • Thanks, Sheri! I have vowed to address planning *many* times over, and this time I’m really determined to put my money where my mouth is. So, stay tuned–and enjoy the crisp!

    • Ah, nutritional ecology is nutrition studies from a global, or ecological perspective. So, according to the syllabus, the topics covered will be food/population problems and food aid, food product development and promotion here and abroad, energy and food relationships, food safety and the changing American diet, organic agriculture and natural food, and biotechnology. A *lot* of rich and provocative material. The teacher of this course, Joan Gussow, is a bit of a legend, and as it turns out, Ginny Messina (whose work I admire very much) was quite influenced by her as she was starting her own nutrition studies.

      Anyway, I’ll certainly be sharing along the way!

  16. Oh Gena, I’m SO glad you didn’t banish this lovely crisp on “messiness” grounds! I was admiring the heck out of it, and remembering with fondness all the berry and plum crisps I’ve made over the years and how that baked beautiful purple is my favorite cooked-fruit color–so when I read you almost banished it I gasped!! Glad for that sense of humor and seeing the charm in the mess (thanks Steven, excellent observation). 🙂 Also really enjoyed your back to school thoughts. It’s so very wonderful when we get on a path that feels “right” down in our bones. I’m very happy for you, and also think it’s wise to take the pace you are taking. Bravo! And here’s to life’s delicious messes. 🙂 xoxo

    • Thank you, Maria! I can’t tell you how often I didn’t post something on this blog because it didn’t seem photogenic enough (or some other kind of “not enough”–not creative enough, not complex enough, etc.). It’s something I’m letting go of, another layer I’m shedding as I grow into my love of food and my love of food blogging. And I totally agree with you about the beauty of cooked purple fruits! Such a lovely sight (and all of those healthful anthocyanins….) 🙂

  17. You rock, Gena. I’m consistently so impressed with how brave you are.. It takes so much courage to share your story, and I think your story is incredible. Congratulations on finding your place (I think that’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself). And I hope you’re enjoying being a student, even though it’s bittersweet… I feel like part of being in the healthcare field is being a lifelong learner. I’m so looking forward to your meal planning post, as my life as the busiest student I’ve ever been is leading me to eat store-bought hummus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (eek!)

    • Hey Hailey,

      I know that you of all people understand the humility that comes with being a health science student! I hope that your own path is taking you to interesting places, places in which you’re learning about yourself and about how to take care of others. When you boil pre-health and health studies down to those two primary pursuits, the whole thing feels profoundly worth it, doesn’t it?

      Gena x