Plum Clafoutis

DSC_9116

Reverting back to patterns of childhood, I have been doing the grocery shopping with my mum for the past six months. Moving back into a busy home, we slipped into a rhythm where the shopping became our thing, time together each week. Gradually, as we shopped, weeks passed and the summer stone fruit began to leave the shelves – these Teagan plums were some of the last. I was drawn to their dusty, frosted blue. Beautiful both in themselves and as an ingredient, I felt compelled to cook with them. I had had a general awareness of this very much French dessert but had never eaten or made it. I’ve said before that my recent delight in baked dessert is very much recent, so that probably has something to do with clafouits’ absence from my repertoire! After some Internet research I settled on this one from Honest Fare as a guide to work from. Here follows my suggested variation. Gabi from Honest Fare suggests that you can refrigerate any leftovers, which is helpful to know. However, my suspicion is that there will be no need for concern! The busy, hungry household I mentioned earlier made very swift work of it!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs vanilla
2-3 tsp lemon zest (to taste!)
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg (to taste!)
6 teagan plums
1 cup raspberries
sprinkle of brown sugar

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 175oC.
2. Combine the milk, sugar, eggs, flour, almond meal, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg in a tall jug. Use a handheld blender (like a Barmix) to blend the ingredients well (this step could also be done in a bench top blender or by whisking really, really thoroughly!).
3. Pour about 1-2cm of batter into the bottom of a greased baking dish (I used a glass pyrex pie dish). Bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes so that the mixture becomes firm enough to hold the fruit up!
4. Rinse, and chop the plums into quarters, removing the stones. Scatter these, and the raspberries, artfully over the just-cooked-base. Pour the remaining batter over the fruit and return to the oven.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes, longer depending on your oven. The batter will puff up around the plums and turn a golden colour round the edges. Check that it is set through before removing from the oven and serving.
6. Whipped cream, ice cream, custard even greek yoghurt would be perfect served alongside this light fruit dessert. Enjoy!

Rising to the Occasion: Pavlova

DSC_8642

DSC_8643

DSC_8648

DSC_8654

DSC_8655

My mum-in-law had a birthday a while back and now, with a uni course on celebrating with food, and having enjoyed cooking a couple of other desserts recently, I decided it was really time to post these lovely pictures of the Pavlova I made for the family dinner held in honour of her day!

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp white vinegar
300mL thickened cream
250g strawberries
2 nectarines
2 plums
1/4 cup raspberry jam
3/4 cup water

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 130°C. Line oven tray with baking paper, dust with cornflour.
2. Ideally you would beat eggwhites with electric mixer until soft peaks form, then start to gradually add sugar, beating until sugar dissolves. I forgot this in the heat of the moment and was relieved to discover that when I beat them up anyhow a meringue still formed! This doesn’t always happen though … best to do it as the recipe prescribes! Once all the sugar has been beaten in, add extract and vinegar; beat a little more until combined.
3. Spread meringue in an attractive looking circular shape on the baking paper, building up a disk of meringue with an even thickness and smoothing the ‘walls’ making decorative grooves round the sides of the Pavlova.
4. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours and then let the Pavlova cool in the oven with the door ajar.
5. Slice up the strawberries, nectarines and plums. Combine and set aside till serving time.
6. Add the jam and water to a small pot, stir over a medium heat till jam has disolved and melted into the water making a runny pink sauce.
7. Just before dessert time, whip the cream to soft peaks, spread over the pavlova, sprinkle with fruit and drizzle over with raspberry sauce. Enjoy with a few other hungry friends or family!

Crispy-crumble for dessert

DSC_6644

DSC_6647

DSC_6652

This recipe is from Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread and Wine. The lovely Jill gave it to me because she (Shauna) loves food and is married to a musican … two things we share. I enjoyed the book and thought I would have a go at making this very simple recipe (the first one in the book!). It is a pretty generous recipe, quite flexible and seems like it would work with lots of variations (think different fruit, think different nuts …). It was the first recipe I cooked in a very pretty baking dish that the same lovely friend gifted me with a few weeks ago. It was shared round our little table with friends. What a lovely collision of good things!

Ingredients:
2-3 cups frozen blueberries
1 cup chopped plums

Crisp/Crumble topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds (the original recipe used pecans)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup brown sugar (the original recipe used maple syrup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (I just did a sprinkle)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
2. Pour the berries into a smallish baking dish. Chop the plums and add to the dish too.
3. Chop the almonds so they are half-way between fine and chunky.
4. Mix the topping ingredients together in a bowl.
5. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit.
6. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or till the topping is golden and the fruit bubbling. I did about 25-30 minutes and then left it in the fridge and did the last 5-10 minutes just before serving.
7. Serve with vanilla bean gelato for dessert, or perhaps some yoghurt or custard for a more homely, everyday treat!