I made this one Christmas, after a trial run at home. The trial run went better, my oven heats evenly and I know the sizes of my pans. On the day, in a rented house, it came out unevenly, but it was still delicious. This is a simple recipe that is worth rehearsing to get it right.
- 4 large ripe plums, stoned, quartered, and chilled overnight
- 60g butter
- 60g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 300g puff pastry
- Put the plums into a dish lined with kitchen paper, cut side down, and chill overnight.
- Turn the oven to 200C
- Take a non-stick oven-proof pan, and cover the base with the butter, sliced, and the sugar. Next, put the plums in, cut side down, in a well-packed layer, and then sprinkle with cinnamon. Heat until the butter/sugar caramelises, gently agitating the pan and keeping a close eye. (An 8 inch dish would be fine) This doesn’t take long, five to ten minutes, and the caramel should be a lovely brown colour.
- Next, roll out the pastry, cut to fit over the plums in the dish. Tuck the edges down over the plums to create an upside-down pastry case.
- Bake for 15 minutes. If the pastry is not completely golden-brown and crisp, lower the heat to 180C and continue for up to another 10 minutes.
Turn the tarte out onto a serving dish, and serve with thick cream, mascarpone or ice-cream.
We had poached pears with ice-cream and chocolate sauce tonight, inspiration from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries.
- 4 pears
- 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar
- a vanilla pod
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 200g dark chocolate
- Pour a litre of water into a large saucepan, add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores with a teaspoon.
- Add the pears to the boiling syrup, and poach for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool in the syrup
- To serve, take 200ml of the syrup, and boil this with the chocolate.
- Serve the pears over the ice-cream with chocolate sauce poured over the top.
For the person who left us some apples.
We came home to find a line of cooking apples marching across the kitchen table. Tonight we had apple and pecan pudding.
- 1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
- 2 oz organic pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped
- 4 oz organic dates, stoned and chopped
- 4 oz self-raising flour, organic/wholemeal for preference
- 4 oz fairtrade soft brown sugar
- 1 oz melted butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Mix the flour with the chopped fruit and nuts, then add all the other ingredients and stir well
- The mixture should be scraped into a greased 8 inch square baking dish, and baked for half an hour
We had this served with cream. The pudding had a wonderful mixture of flavours and textures.
This is the strangest recipe for rice pudding I ever saw. But it works. These proportions serve six. I’ve adapted this from an American recipe, so it is by volume rather than weight.
- 125ml short-grain rice (we used arborio)
- 500ml water
- a pinch of salt
- 750ml full fat milk
- 125ml of whipping cream
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 50ml cup rose water
- 50g sugar
- Put the rice, water and salt in a large pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender
- Add the milk and cream, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 55 minutes
- Add the sugar, rose-water and cardamom, and simmer for a further 10 minutes
Either serve whilst warm, or chill in individual serving bowls to be served with stewed pears or quince.