Plum lovely: dessert recipes to make the most of seasonal fruit

This year, with the combination of sun and rain it seems that everything in the garden’s gone a little crazy. We’re on course to have a bumper crop of soft fruit, and plums and apples are coming into season earlier than usual.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own plum tree, or to know someone who has, then it’s time to start dealing with the glut! Plum jam is always popular, and is a great way of dealing with large quantities of fruit.

If you’re not confident about making your own jam, though, this simple cake and compote are a sure-fire winner and will both freeze well.

To make both these recipes, we used approximately one kilo of plums.

Fresh plum pudding cake

This cake is packed full of fresh, seasonal tastes.

This is a squidgy, puddingy cake and the fresh fruit keeps it very moist. It’s ideal served as a dessert with a spoonful of compote, some plain yoghurt or creme fraiche or vanilla icecream. If you’d prefer to serve it for afternoon tea, you’ll need to hand some forks out!

You’ll need:

  • 110g butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 100g white sugar
  • 70g dark brown sugar
  • 3 freerange eggs
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 8 to 10 plums
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Grease a 20cm square baking tin, and line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper (don’t be tempted to skip this step, or that cake will never come out of the tin!)

Mix the yoghurt and margarine together and beat in both the sugars until fully combined. Beat in the eggs, then gradually fold in the flour until you have a smooth batter. Add the mixed spice.

Wash the plums, remove the stones and chop them into quarters, or into eighths if they’re large. Tip them into the batter,a nd mix roughly to combine, taking care not to break the fruit up too much.

Don’t try and turn the cake out while it’s too hot, let it rest in the tin first.

Tip it all into the tin, and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25 to 30 mins until well risen and golden on top. A skewer inserted through the thickest part of the cake should come out clean.

Leave the cake in the tin to cool for a few minutes before turning it out and removing the paper. Let it cool again until just warm before cutting into squares and serving.

This will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, or can be frozen.

Plum and apple compote

Plum and apple compote makes a perfect weekend breakfast

This compote recipe couldn’t be easier, and it makes an ideal accompaniment to the plum cake. Alternative, serve it for breakfast with plain yoghurt and granola.

You’ll need:

  • The remaining plums from the 1kg quantity
  • 1 large Bramley cooking apple
  • 75ml orange juice
  • sugar

Prepare the plums by washing them, removing the stones and cutting them into quarters. Peel and core the apple, and cut it into chunks.

Put everything in a pan with 75ml water, and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the orange juice.

Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is really soft and pulpy. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

Add sugar to taste – this can vary a lot depending on the ripeness of the fruit, so add it a little at a time and taste between additions.

This will keep for up to a week in the fridge, or will freeze.

TIP: Add a cinnamon stick or vanilla pod along with the orange juice for a different flavour.

By Sara Walker

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