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When cold rainy days happen to Southern California, it might as well be the Canadian Rockies in January. This is our cold season, the trigger that brings out Uggs, woolen coats, and scarves and gives us a long overdue excuse to stay inside. We had two days of California winter and I launched into hibernation mode with soups and baked desserts. Let’s not forget that a record heatwave would likely follow, but for the moment we were resigned to winter cozy.

Armed with a smart set of juicy plums, reds and blacks from my farming friends, and rather tired of snacking on these fine stone fruits as is, I tried another incarnation. I had held onto this recipe which I had found while looking for a new fix on granola. This inspired dessert relies on oatmeal and almonds for the crumble . Sure, like everyone, I delight over crumbles and cobblers with their intensely brown-sugared and buttery toppings – heck, I don’t even need the fruit with that kind of delectable – but we are always trying to have real food work on our behalf not against us, so I opted for more whole grain and less whole fat preparation. And, not to be outdone by the starring role of oats in this dessert, almonds joined in for a performance by adding good flavor and natural oils providing a much needed dosage of brain power. Now, that’s good thinking.

I could have prepared this dessert in advance had I been on top of things that day, but this recipe is fast and easy – the crunchtime mantra – so it was no feat to make it after dinner, allowing the family time to build up an appetite.

At this point, we could freeze the dish for presentation at a later date, which is a good way to extend the life of fruit that’s about to take a turn for the worse. Tryserving it for breakfast as a warm parfait.But, if you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait to eat this tasty, healthy concoction.


plum & pear oatmeal crumble for dessert or breakfast

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 35 minutes

1/2 c quick cooking oats

1/2 c light brown sugar (packed)

3 T flour (whole wheat if you have it)

2 T canola oil

2 T sliced almonds

2 ripe pears peeled and thinly sliced

4 plums peeled, pitted and thinly sliced

2 T sugar

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 t ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix oats, brown sugar, and flour. Add in oil and toss to form crumbs. Mix in almonds.

Combine fruit in a baking dish. Toss with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour crumble mixture over. Bake for about 35 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Cook’s options: serve for breakfast as a warm parfait, use other fruit combinations you have on-hand: apples, peaches, nectarines or berries. If you use berries, add 1-2 teaspoons of corn starch to thicken the warmed juices.

recipe adapted from bon appetit and provided by your friends at


  1. Dr. April says Oct 26th 2010 11:01 am

    Just had it with apples for breakfast!! My cheat is using packets of organic, all natural maple nut oatmeal plus flour for the crust…

  2. Jen Andert says Jun 30th 2012 11:25 am

    YUM !!! I will be trying this when chi-town embarks on real winter. 🙂 It reminds me of this which has been my go-to for the past couple of years. I don’t usually use a crust and just beef up the oats on top instead 🙂 and I put some apples into balance out the tart-ness of the cranberries.

    • Sherri says Jul 2nd 2012 4:47 pm

      Love the low butter content in that recipe Jen. No wonder you’ve been a devotee. I’ll give it a try.

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