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Cardamom Plum Crumble Bars

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cardamom plum crumble on a white plate with fork

Cardamom Plum Crumble Bars ~ plums are in their element right now so no time to dither about what to do with them: bake them up to their juiciest potential in this buttery cardamom laced crumble!

cardamom plum crumble bar on a white plate with fork

My farmers market and supermarket are both loaded with all sorts of plums, so I’m still baking up stone fruit like crazy.  

It’s no time to get fancy so I’m conscripting my no fail crumble bar dough ~ I just scented it with warm cardamom and stuffed it full of juicy tart chopped plums.  This is what seasonal eating is all about and omg is it good.  

cardamom plum crumble squares on foil

I used European style Italian plums today, and you may not realize that they come into season in September.  

Yes, they are sometimes called prune plums because they’re the type that are made into prunes, but that’s completely besides the point.  These deep purple oval fruits with a pretty yellow green flesh are incredibly flavorful, especially when you bake them.  They’re the crème de la crème of plums, so don’t pass them up.

Italian plums in a strainer

I only added a tablespoon of brown sugar and a light squeeze of lemon juice and they came out incredible.  No need to peel them, so it’s a quick job of halving and chopping them up.  You can see the interesting color transformation that takes place, too…from purple and green to magenta and gold, so gorgeous!

A note about plums 

  • These prune plums were ripe but still firm.  They aren’t as loose and juicy as regular round plums, and so I didn’t have to worry about adding any thickener to them.  I don’t recommend using very ripe/very juicy plums unless you want to cook up a thickened filling first.
  • Feel free to use a good plum jam in place of fresh.

slicing Italian plums

For these crumble bars you don’t need much fruit, just enough to lightly cover the bottom crust, which was about 1 1/2 cups in this case.

assembling a cardamom plum crumble

This kind of simple buttery crumb cake is just the thing for when somebody stops by for coffee (which nobody does anymore, but we can pretend.)  More likely, bring it to work and prepare to get raves.  

Can I freeze these plum crumble bars?

Yes!  You can freeze them individually and pull them out, one by one, when you get the craving.

Cool the bars completely, then cut into squares.  

Place the squares on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.  Then stack the bars, separated by sheets of waxed paper, and place in storage container.

a square of Cardamom Plum Crumble

Please don’t skip the cardamom, it gives these plum crumble bars such a unique flavor.  You could use cinnamon, but why?

plum and cardamom crumble bars, stacked

If you read this blog regularly you know I love to stack my cookies and bars for photographing…but these plum crumble bars were almost too soft and plush and schlumpy to stack…in a good way 😉  I hope you try these, they’re wonderful.


cardamom plum crumble on a white plate with fork
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5 from 4 votes

Cardamom Plum Crumble Bars

Cardamom Plum Crumble Bars ~ plums are in their element right now so no time to dither about what to make with them: bake them up to their juiciest potential in this buttery cardamom laced crumble...
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 12


  • 1 cup or 226 grams, unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup or 153 grams, granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups or 266 grams, all purpose flour
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting


  • a generous 1 1/2 cups, or 318 grams, chopped plums. I chop them fairly small, into 1/3 inch dice
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • a squeeze of lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 350F Line a 9x9 square baking pan with foil or parchment paper with long ends so you can lift the bars out after they've cooled for easy cutting.
  • Cream the soft butter, sugar, and cardamom until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Note: it's important that your butter be at room temperature. I like to leave it out overnight when I know I'll be baking.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and mix just until there is no dry flour left. Don't over mix.
  • Take 2/3 of the dough and pat it into the bottom of your pan. I like to scatter the dough in crumbles across the bottom, and then start to pat it down. It helps to flour your fingers, or use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to tamp it down. Take the time to get the dough evenly distributed. Note: you're not looking to go up the sides of the pan with the dough, just to make an even flat layer. Steal a little more dough if you need it to cover the bottom. I like to refrigerate the pan and the remaining dough while I make the filling, just to keep it chilled.
  • Toss the fruit with the sugar, extract, and lemon and mix well.
  • Spoon onto the crust, spreading out evenly. Top with the remaining dough, making crumbles with you fingers as you add it. Some of the fruit will show through, that's not a problem.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until just starting to turn golden and the fruit is sizzling. Let cool before lifting the crumble out and slicing into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.


cardamom and plum crumble bars


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Would this recipe work with blackberries or some other summer fruit?

    • Reply
      July 21, 2020 at 5:34 am

      Absolutely 🙂

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Sue, these are gorgeous! I love cardamom, and it’s totally perfect with these prune plums! Also, I love the word schlumpy. Perfect!

    • Reply
      September 24, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      I love a good schlumpy dessert 😉