Saturday, 4 September 2010
When we lived down in Kent we were really spoiled. We were surrounded by Orchards and in the autumn had our pick of windfalls . . . several varieties of apples, and pears . . . not to mention hedgerows filled to over flowing with sloes and blackberries
On the Estate where I worked as the cook we also had apples, pears, figs and fresh plums as well, not to mention cages filled with raspberries . . . yes, we were very lucky!
When we moved back here to Chester, in our effort to be self sustaining we put in several fruit trees. Dwarf apple, pear and plum, all self propagating. Next year we hope to put in an apricot tree and perhaps some raspberry and blackberry canes. We are lucky enough to already have strawberries and rhubarb.
I hadn't really expected to get much out of the fruit trees this first year but imagine my surprise when the plum tree produced some plums! We have been waiting patiently all summer for them to ripen, and I reckon I got a nice little basket full of them.
Oh, can anything be better than fresh fruit you have grown yourself? I think NOT!
Well . . . okay . . . so this delicious slice comes a close second!
It has a nutty buttery base almost like a pastry, and then a layer of hazelnut cake, stogged full of lovely plums. The whole thing is topped with a crunchy nutty streusel. Moreishly scrummy!!
The best part is that you use the same basic recipe to produce all three layers, with just a few alterations made for each. Easy peazy, Lemon Squeezy!!
A tasty dollop of creme fraiche or clotted cream is the perfect accompaniment, natch!!
*Plum and Hazelnut Crumble Slice*
It's a pie! It's a cake! It's a crumble! It's all three and delicious! Perfect to share over a cup of tea or served warm as a dessert with lashings of cream or custard!
250g of butter (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
(your butter should be very cold)
225g of caster sugar (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
(Plus extra for sprinkling)
10 ounces of ground hazelnuts
5 ounces plain flour (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
plus an extra 2 TBS
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
half a dozen or so large ripe plums, stoned and sliced
2 ounces flaked almonds (1/4 cup)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/375*F/ Gas mark 4. Butter an 8 by 12 tay bake pan well. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the cold butter, 225g of sugar, and ground nuts into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles a rough crumble. Measure half of it out into another bowl. Set aside. To the remaining crumb mixture add the 5 ounces of flour and pulse just until it forms a dough. Press this into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place in the heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Return the remaining crumbs (Reserve 2 heaped dessertspoons for the end) to the food processor. Tip in the extra 2 TBS of flour, eggs, cinnamon and baking powder. Pulse to a soft batter. Scrape onto the baked base and spread out evenly. Top with the sliced plums. Sprinkle with a bit of extra sugar and cinnamon. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes.
Stir the flaked almonds into the remaining measure of the crumbs, mixing in well. Remove the cake from the oven and spinkle evenly with the almond mixture. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.