It never fails to amaze me that people can think that free fruit is probably ghastly or at worst poisonous. It’s very useful that such ignorance pervades when foraging, as free food of this ilk is a superb bounty for the cook that desires high quality but doesn’t want to pay through the nose at the local supermarket. Sometimes free food is growing in one’s own garden.
Fanny has a very old plum tree in her garden which she studiously ignores, as it obliterates a ghastly anti social neighbour when it’s in full leaf in the summer. So it is rather unruly but rather fabulously it does tend to crop quite heavily. I suspect it is an Early Rivers plum, – small purpley skin with yellow flesh. It’s better cooked than raw – there are more interesting plums for the fruit bowl if I am honest.
Ruby the cat looked astonished as she saw me scrabbling around on all fours picking up the fallers. I tend to leave the ones that have been eaten by the insects (- although they are probably the sweeter ones). However once I had my kg of plums I strode back to the kitchen, washed them, de-stoned them and put them in a small pan with about 200ml of water and some sugar to stew them for about quarter of an hour.
And all this before breakfast! Fanny meanwhile was sleeping her head off upstairs and I can tell you the snoring was horrendous. How there aren’t cracks in the foundations I really don’t know.
Whilst the plums were stewing I got out some ground almonds, butter and some almond flour and combined them till I had a flakey texture in my hands.
I poured the gorgeous plums into the souffle dish, added some cinnamon and star anise and a measure of plum liqueur. Actually I added two measures and knocked one back myself to check it was ok. It was perfect. The day had started well.
I then put the almond flour mixture on top and then added a layer of demerara sugar. The trick here is to cook for 35 minutes at 150° and then whack up the temperature for the last 15 mins to 200° to get the sugar to crisp
We then served it with some of Fanny’s home made plain yoghurt!
1 kg of plums
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 measures of plum liqueur ( we used Prucia)
100g ground almonds
100g almond flour
30g of butter