Skillet Plum Buckle with Ginger-Almond Streusel

September 24, 2020

With my obsession about fruit bakes, you’d think I’d have made hundreds of buckles in my lifetime, but I’m going to let you in on a secret: this is the first one! Luckily, they are similar to coffee cakes, which I probably have made over a hundred of. The fun thing about a buckle is that you place the fruit and streusel on top of the batter, and when the cake rises, it “buckles” around those heavier pieces. Trust me, you’re going to want to give this skillet plum buckle a try.

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This buckle recipe features prune plums, also known as Italian plums. We get these from our farm share, and they are fun to experiment and bake with. I love stone fruit of all kinds, but this type of plum is especially good for cooking. They aren’t super juicy or sweet on their own, but they’re perfect for a little heat and sugar to work their magic.

What You Need to Get Started

You can easily find all of the ingredients for this plum buckle at your grocery store. You can also order online using Amazon Pantry, or try Amazon Fresh for grocery delivery.

How to Make Ginger-Almond Streusel

The first step of making this recipe is to prepare the streusel crumble topping, because we are going to chill it for a little bit while making the rest of the buckle. This streusel uses olive oil, so letting it cool in the fridge will help it solidify, which will make it easier to crumble on top.

Start making the streusel by combining the dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar and salt. You will also add the chopped almonds and ginger here. For the nuts, you will just want these roughly chopped, for some texture. Pieces that range from about an eighth to a third of an inch are fine.

I recommend using freshly grated ginger in this recipe. You can cut off about an inch-wide piece from the root, peel it (using a spoon or a paring knife), and then use a microplane zester to grate it right into the rest. If you don’t have fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp of dried grated ginger will have a similar flavor.

Normally, I’d whisk the dry ingredients of a streusel, but the large pieces of almond make that a little tougher here, so I recommend a wooden spoon. Stir until it’s all combined. Then drizzle the olive oil over the top.

Now for the fun part: get your hands in there and mix it all up with your fingertips. This is my favorite part of baking, really getting my hands dirty. I find it relaxing and sometimes a little cathartic. Mix until the oil is combined into the flour, and it has the texture of wet sand. Cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge while you make the rest.

Let’s Make a Skillet Plum Buckle

Once the streusel is chilling, the rest of the buckle comes together really easily. Preheat the oven first. Then, we have to get the plums prepared. To cut the plums into wedges, use a sharp knife to cut each fruit in half around the pit, along the natural ridge on the edge. Then twist the two halves opposite each other. On the side with the pit, use a paring knife to carefully pop it out.

Then cut each half into wedges. For these prune plums,  I got about four slices per half. If you are using larger plums in this recipe, you will get even more pieces out of each. Half an inch is the perfect width for the wedges. Then set them aside until the batter is ready.

In a large mixing bowl, combine together all of the dry ingredients. I use both all-purpose and white whole wheat flour in this to give it a bit more flavor and nutritional value. However, you can use only all-purpose and it will still be delicious. Brown sugar and salt add a touch of rich sweetness. For rise, you will want to use baking soda and cream of tartar as an acid, or you can substitute baking powder.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients: the eggs, heavy cream, olive oil, and extracts. I like using a combination of vanilla and almond extracts in this buckle for more depth in the flavor. The vanilla is aromatic and sweet, while the almond is nutty and perfectly complements the streusel.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry, and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to mix until they are just combined. There shouldn’t be any large pockets of flour, but it’s fine for there to be some lumps. If you over mix, you may introduce too much air or allow the gluten to develop. This results in a cake that is more chewy and dense.

Transfer the batter to a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one available, you can use a cake pan or casserole dish. Cast iron tends to heat more evenly, which allows the buckle to form a browned crust on the bottom for some extra flavor.

Use your silicone spatula to get every last drop of batter, and then to smooth it out in the skillet. Create a nice flat layer, because you are going to be placing the plums on top. Arrange the plums with the skin side up in order to fill as much of the surface as you can.

Don’t worry about it looking pretty or having a nice pattern. The plums will mostly get covered by the streusel topping. The idea with arranging is mostly to make sure you are really getting the buckle full of fruit and not leaving any empty space. Squeeze all those plum wedges into any holes.

Once the plums are all place, we can add the streusel as a final step. Pull this out of the fridge, and it should be crumblier and drier than when you first made it. Use your fingers, rubbing them together, to sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter and plums.

Bake the buckle for 25-35 minutes. You will know it’s done when the cake part bounces back after being gently touched. Also, you can use a butter knife to check the center. If you still see batter, it needs more time. However, plum juice is totally fine. Move the entire skillet to a cooling rack, and let it rest for about 30 minutes before cutting.

This Plum Buckle is warm and rustic, perfect for fall! Plus it features a ginger and almond crumble topping.

How to Serve a Skillet Plum Buckle

Serve individual slices warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top. This is similar to a coffee cake, so it makes a wonderful quick breakfast, served alongside an iced latte or a chai white hot chocolate. You can also serve this as part of a larger brunch, alongside fried eggs and vegan sausage, or with a no-bake caramel apple cheesecake for that fall feeling.

If you’d prefer to enjoy this buckle as a dessert, try pairing it with a sweet cocktail, like a chocolate turtle martini. Or for something that accentuates the almond flavor, an amaretto old fashioned or almond Irish coffee hot cocoa.

If you need to prepare this in advance to serve later, the streusel can be made up to 3 days ahead, and stored in the fridge. Once prepared, the buckle should be baked immediately. After it’s cooked, it can be stored wrapped tightly at room temperature for 2-3 days, and warmed up in the microwave to serve. However, it tastes best the day it’s made.

Use Up Leftover Ingredients

Substitutions

  • Ginger: Use 1/4 tsp dry grated ginger to replace the 1 Tbsp fresh grated.
  • Baking Powder: You can use 2 tsp baking powder to replace both the baking soda and cream of tartar.
  • Fruit: Other stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, or pluots work well in this cake.
  • Almonds: You can use pecans, or leave the nuts out completely.
  • White whole wheat flour: You can use entirely all-purpose flour.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Skillet Plum Buckle with Ginger-Almond Streusel

A rustic-style fruit bake, this buckle is similar to a coffee cake, featuring fresh seasonal plums, and topped with a streusel that includes fresh grated ginger and almonds.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 Slices
Calories: 441kcal

Ingredients

Streusel

  • Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Cup Almonds finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger grated (or ¼ tsp dried grated ginger)
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Plum Buckle

  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ¾ Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar You can use 2 tsp baking powder to replace both the baking soda and cream of tartar.
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp Almond Extract
  • ¾ Lb Plums (about 10 small or 8 large) pitted and sliced into ½-inch wedges
  • Whipped Cream optional, for serving

Instructions

Ginger-Almond Streusel

  • In a medium mixing bowl, use a large spoon to mix together the flour, sugar, ginger, salt, and almonds, until combined.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the dry ingredients, and then use your hands to combine, until the mixture is coarse and crumbly, like wet sand. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the buckle.

Plum Buckle

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle, and set aside a well-seasoned 10-inch cast iron pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar until thoroughly combined. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the oil, cream, eggs, and extracts until uniform.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry, and stir until just combined, and there are no large pockets of flour. It's okay for it to be a bit lumpy, and you do not want to over mix.
  • Transfer the batter to the cast iron pan, using a silicone spatula to even it out. Place the sliced plums, cut side up into the batter. Remove the streusel from the fridge, and use your fingers to crumble it over the top of the entire cake.
  • Bake the buckle 25-35 minutes, until a butter knife inserted into the center of the cake, not plum, comes out clean. Place the entire pan on a cooling rack, and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Then slice and serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Notes

  • If you don't have a cast iron pan, or yours is not well-seasoned, you can bake this in a large cake pan or casserole dish. 
  • Make ahead tip: 
    • The streusel can be made up to 3 days in advance, and stored in the fridge.
    • Once prepared, the buckle should be baked immediately. After it's cooked, it can be stored wrapped tightly at room temperature for 2-3 days, and warmed up to serve. However, it tastes best the day it's made.
  • Substitutions:
    • Ginger: Use 1/4 tsp dry grated ginger to replace the 1 Tbsp fresh grated.
    • Baking Powder: You can use 2 tsp baking powder to replace both the baking soda and cream of tartar.
    • Fruit: Other stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, or pluots work well in this cake.
    • Almonds: You can use pecans, or leave the nuts out completely.
    • White whole wheat flour: You can use entirely all-purpose flour.
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5 thoughts on “Skillet Plum Buckle with Ginger-Almond Streusel

  1. I’ve never tried to make a streusel like this before, but this looks absolutely amazing! And my husband LOVES plums so we definitely will be trying this sometime this fall!

  2. Kait, I am a little envious about those fresh plums. I wish I could get them too straight from the farm. I can almost smell and taste them. This Streusel seriously speaks to me. It’s all about warmth, getting together, and entertaining your loved ones. Simply. Delicious. What a wonderful recipe and a keeper for this coming Holiday!

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