Category Archives: Plums

Autumn Eton mess

autumn eton mess3

Sorry it’s taken me a while to post any recipes. You’d think with all the harvests at this time of year I’d have recipes flying off my fingers at the keyboard, but I’ve just been so busy. We’ve been eating lots of homegrown produce, but quite simply. Courgettes chopped and added to pasta dishes, sweetcorn eaten straight from the cob or mixed with tuna and mayo for lunch, raspberries stewed down to pour over ice-cream, new potatoes boiled or roasted with garlic, and the first plums of the season, eaten straight from the bowl or chopped into my breakfast granola. Nothing really worthy of a recipe.

I did make a marrow and pecan cake, all prepared to post the recipe for it, but it was a disaster. Paul Hollywood would have given me one his death stares. I think I know where I went wrong, and in true GBBO style, I shall dust myself down, hold my head up high, and try again. After throwing the dud one in the bin. There’s always time to start again – actually no, there really isn’t Nadia!

So, I came across a recipe for autumn Eton mess on my M&S cook app, but decided to adapt it slightly, partly due to not having a ready supply of cinnamon sticks or vanilla pods (I know, I’ve let myself down there) but I also wanted to add some of my autumn fruiting raspberries to the mix. I wasn’t sure whether plums and raspberries would work together, but they worked for me. I think a true Eton mess has more meringue to cream ratio than I’ve done here, so just adjust it to however you like it. I might need to make a few to get these just right, damn!

Ingredients (per serving):

  • 1 regular meringue nest (I used 3 mini). Feel free to make your own, I cheated/efficiently time saved, and bought some.
  • 1 heaped tbsp creme fraiche. Use double cream and whip it into soft peaks if preferred.
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • a drizzle of maple syrup (or you could use honey)
  • a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe plums
  • a handful of raspberries
  1. Heat your oven to 190ºc.
  2. Halve your plums and then place them cut side up in a roasting tray. Sprinkle the cinnamon over and give them a drizzle of honey or syrup. Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, fold together the creme fraiche and yoghurt with a dash of vanilla extract, then mix in the meringues, breaking them up as you do so.
  4. When the plums have roasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Chop them into chunks.
  5. Take your finest wine goblet, or any other posh glass receptacle, and layer up the creamy meringue mix with the plums and raspberries, finishing with a few raspberries ontop, and drizzle over any fruit juices or extra syrup.

Perhaps a little decadent for a Friday lunch time, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. Apart from the creme fraiche, and the little matter of the sugary meringues (let’s just gloss over those for a mo) they’re basically a layered fruit smoothy. Quite healthy really! Of course you could use all yoghurt and leave out the syrup to make them healthier. And feel free to use whatever fruit you have to hand.

vic plums autumn eton mess1 autumn eton mess2

Plum crumble bars

plum crumble bar01

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the flour (100g) to the remaining crumble mixture and mix together with a splash of milk to form a dough.
  3. Spread this over the base of a greased tin, or you could use a ceramic dish lined with parchment.
  4. Put into the oven to bake for 15 mins.
  5. 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.
  6. Once the base has baked, remove from the oven, spread the almond paste over, top with the chopped fruit and finally the crumble topping.
  7. Bake for around 20 mins. Allow to cool in the tin and then cut into 9 squares.

plum crumble bar02

 

plum crumble bar03

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