Nigel Slater’s plum recipes | Food

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A tree has seeded within the yew hedge that crosses the backyard path. A stone dropped by a passing chicken, maybe. More possible it was a plum stone I wanged far into the backyard, too lazy to take to the compost. Whatever, the deserted seed has grown right into a romantically gangly tree that peppers the darkish hedge with tiny white and pink petals in spring, and in late summer time hangs low with wild inexperienced and pink plums. It is sod’s legislation wilding ought to settle in additional efficiently than any of my oh-so-thoughtfully planted fruit bushes.

There is a bowl of plums within the fridge proper now, chilling, prepared for breakfast tomorrow

There is a bowl of plums within the fridge proper now, chilling, prepared for breakfast tomorrow. I often eat them with kefir, whose bitter notes flatter the candy, jelly-flesh of the fruit. I bake them too, typically with a bunch of grapes (the strawberry-scented fragola selection are simply coming into season and ideal for this) or a punnet of blackcurrants so as to add fruity clout. The heat fruit and its juice is there for breakfast or to observe a light-weight lunch but additionally to share a plate with blue cheese. I ate them heat with slices of Cote Hill Blue this week, although it might simply as simply have been a gorgonzola or any one of many household of veined cheeses.

An ideal plum, its flesh deepest gold, its juices honey-sweet and fast to flee, is a totally good factor, however like damsons, rhubarb and gooseberries, they’re one thing appreciated extra below a sugar-stubbled pastry crust or the mushy almond-scented crumb of a cake than eaten straight from the hand.

This week I made pies, 1 apiece, with a filling of plums, ruby-red jam and almond cream. Wrapped in pastry, they swelled like little pasties and we ate them alongside jagged items of cheddar with as a lot umami as a lump of parmesan, the pastry one thing of a balm for the punch of the cheese.

Plum and frangipane pies

You might make a big model of this for slicing. Small pies are exceptionally helpful for hiding in a picnic hamper or for packed lunches – the filling doesn’t ooze over your tuck field in the best way a slice of pie may. If you do take that route, roll the pastry much less thinly than I recommend under, as a result of it wants a bit extra heft whether it is to be lifted from baking sheet to desk with out bursting its banks.

Makes 4 tarts

For the frangipane:
butter 75g
caster sugar 75g
a big egg crushed
floor almonds 75g
plain flour 1 tbsp

puff pastry 325g
plums, ripe 4 giant or 8 small
plum jam 4 heaped tbsp
just a little crushed egg
caster sugar 1 tbsp

Make the frangipane. Cream the butter and sugar collectively until gentle and fluffy then slowly introduce the crushed egg, almonds and flour till you’ve gotten a mushy, easy cream.

Halve the plums and discard the stones. Slice every half of into 4 small segments.

On a floured board, roll the pastry to a rectangle measuring roughly 50 x 40cm. The pastry ought to be very skinny. Using a 12cm spherical cutter, press out 8 discs of pastry, then take away the leftover dough from round them and switch 4 of them to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Divide the almond frangipane between the 4 pastry discs, smoothing the highest and leaving a 2cm rim of naked pastry across the edge. Divide the sliced plums between the pies, setting them on high of the frangipane. Spoon over the plum jam, letting it trickle over the fruit.

Brush the rim of pastry on every pie with crushed egg then decrease a disc of the reserved pastry on high of every. Press firmly across the edges to seal, then chill the pies for 30 minutes.

Set the oven at 180C/fuel mark 4. Place an upturned baking sheet within the oven to get scorching. Brush the chilled pies with just a little of the crushed egg then mud the pastry with the caster sugar. Pierce a small gap within the high of every pie utilizing the deal with of a wood spoon or a chopstick. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or till golden brown. Allow to chill just a little earlier than serving.

Roast plums with grapes and blue cheese

Winning combination: roast plums with grapes and blue cheese.

Winning combination: roast plums with grapes and blue cheese. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Greengages – you will just catch them before they disappear till next year – are wonderfully aromatic cooked with marsala and fruit preserve. In which case, I would chill the fruits before marrying them with the cheese. If blue cheese is not your thing, try a soft, very young goat’s milk variety, chalk white and mousse-soft.

Serves 4

plums 350g
black grapes 500g
plum jam or grape jelly 4 tbsp
marsala 4 tbsp

to serve:
blue cheese 300g
hot toast 8 slices

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Wipe the plums and place them in a baking dish. Tuck the grapes, still on the branch if you wish, among the plums.

If blue cheese is not your thing, try a soft, very young goat’s milk variety, chalk white and mousse-soft

Mix together the plum jam and marsala then pour over the fruit. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, basting the fruit once after 20, until the plums have burst their skins and the juices are sweet-sharp and deep crimson.

Remove the fruit from the oven and let it cool a little (it is good hot, warm or chilled). Slice the blue cheese – or spoon if it is very soft – on to plates. Serve with the fruit and toast.

I should add that this combination of sweet fruit and blue cheese makes a fine breakfast, too – although I would probably chill the fruit and its syrup.

Email Nigel at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater


Nigel Slater from theguardian.com

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