Our kitchen garden cook reveals her favourite recipes with sweet and juicy plums.
Delicious sweet and juicy plums have appeared at last and my only issue was harvesting them before them split and invited an invasion from the wasps. Luckily I got there first and returned from the kitchen garden with basket upon basket full to create these delicious summer recipes. The pavlova with ginger nuts is a real treat.
Plum, ginger and almond pavlova (serves 8)
150g ginger-nut biscuits
50g ground almonds
1tspn cream of tartar
8 eggs, preferably free range
350g caster sugar 1tspn white-wine vinegar
800g plums 4tbspn preserved ginger
syrup 600ml double cream 200g mascarpone 200g flaked almonds
25g icing sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 200 ̊C/400 ̊F/gas mark 6 and line three baking trays with baking parchment. Pulse the ginger-nut biscuits in a processor until fine before adding the ground almonds, cream of tartar and cornflour and whisking them all together.
Place the egg whites in a separate clean, grease-free bowl. Beat them until stiff peaks appear, then add the sugar in small batches, mixing well after each addition. Splash in the white-wine vinegar and fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites as gently as possible, before spooning the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in three even-sized circles. Place them in the oven for five minutes before dropping the temperature to 150 ̊C/300 ̊F/gas mark 2 and baking for one hour, then allowing to cool completely in the oven.
In the meantime, gently simmer the pitted and sliced plums in a sauce- pan with the ginger syrup until juicy and set aside to cool.
Whip the double cream, before mixing in the mascarpone. (You could add icing sugar, but I think there’s enough sweetness in meringues.) Take one of the meringues and carefully peel off the greaseproof paper. Spoon a third of the whipped cream over it followed by a third of the cooked plums. Add lightly toasted flaked almonds and then repeat with the next two meringue layers. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
More ways with plums
Take 6 stoned and sliced plums, 1tspn vanilla-bean paste, a good pinch of cinnamon and a few tablespoons of brown sugar. Simmer gently in a saucepan for about 15 minutes. Serve it swirled through porridge with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
Upside-down plum cake with maple syrup
Mix together 125g butter and 100ml maple syrup in a small saucepan. Pour into the base of a foil-lined 8in loose-bottomed cake tin. Arrange 3 stoned and sliced plums in the base and then pour a cake mixture over them made by mixing the following: 250g butter creamed with 250g caster sugar, 1tspn vanilla-bean paste, 4 beaten eggs and gently folded-in 150g self-raising flour and 100g ground almonds. Bake in a moderate oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Serve with ice cream.
Easy plum tarts
Place a large sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet. Scatter roughly 3tbspn of caster sugar over it and a few ground almonds. Arrange about 8 halved and stoned plums over the pastry and then place in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.
Frozen into an ice-cream terrine or baked into a lemon tart: just two of our favourite blueberry recipes this summer.