I had a fantastic harvest from my little Victoria plum tree last autumn, to the point that I was desperately trying to give them away to anyone I could. Friends, family and fellow allotment plot holders. Little bags of them were left in sheds, and a basket full outside my back door with a cardboard sign pleading for the neighbours to help themselves.
I used as many as I could in classic crumbles, upside-down puddings, and I made a ridiculous amount of jam. And then I resorted to filling up freezer bags with them, de-stoned, cut into halves and consigned to the bottom drawer of my freezer.
So I know a plum recipe might seem a little out of season, but there’s not much else in the fruit garden right now. Some people seem to be lucky enough to have rhubarb already, and if that’s you, please feel free to substitute the plums for rhubarb, as it would work just as well. And trust me, as soon as my rhubarb is ready I’ll be making these again, as they really are delicious. They’re like a crumble, but in a cake form, what’s not to love?
Makes 9 squares in a 20cm / 8inch square tin. Preheat the oven to 180ºc.
- 150g butter
- 120g sugar (I used soft brown, but caster or granulated is fine)
- 200g ground almonds
- 100g plain flour (+ another tbsp)
- 1 large egg
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp either cinnamon or ground ginger (or a bit of both spices)
- few drops of vanilla essence
- 8 or 9 plums, de-stoned and roughly chopped.
- Optional extra – roughly 2 tbsp porridge oats
- To make the crumble topping, mix the butter with the sugar and ground almond until it roughly resembles breadcrumbs. Take half of this out of the bowl and put aside.
- Add the flour (100g) to the remaining crumble mixture and mix together with a splash of milk to form a dough.
- Spread this over the base of a greased tin, or you could use a ceramic dish lined with parchment.
- Put into the oven to bake for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, take a few spoonfuls of the crumble mixture out and save for the topping. Add the oats to this if desired. Then into the remaining mixture, add the extra tbsp of flour, baking powder, the egg, the vanilla essence and the spice and beat (preferably in a mixer or food processor) until it forms a paste.
- Once the base has baked, remove from the oven, spread the almond paste over, top with the chopped fruit and finally the crumble topping.
- Bake for around 20 mins. Allow to cool in the tin and then cut into 9 squares.