Something warm for the wintery evenings with gently poached plums in a light sugar syrup infused with vanilla.  This recipe uses shop bought short crust pastry. You could make your own but it’s nice and quick and easy to use pre-made pastry and time is often against us so do whatever you feel happy with.

Serves: 4Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes (includes blind baking)

Ingredients

  • 100g Ground almonds
  • 100g soft butter (unsalted)
  • 120g Caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 400g shop bought shortcrust pastry
  • Plum jam (or blackberry)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 100ml water
  • 6 firm plums, halved and stoned

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees
  2. Roll out the pastry and line your pie dish, ideally approx 20cm in diameter, you can use anything you have handy but nothing too deep. Don’t trim the edges, the pastry will shrink when cooking.  Fork the base of the pastry a few times to prevent it from rising.
  3. Lay foil or baking powder on the pastry and fill with baking beans (or rice).  If you don’t line the pastry then the beans may stick to the bottom!
  4. Place in the over for 15 minutes, remove the foil or baking powder and baking beans and put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Place 20g of caster sugar into a large pan, a frying pan is perfect, and pour in the water.  Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds out and put into the pan. Put the remaining vanilla pod in too!
  6. Place the plums into the liquid flesh-side down and cook for 10 minutes on a gentle heat, we don’t want to boil the plums!
  7. Spoon a thin layer of jam into the pastry case (which will still be a little warm) and spread all over the base.
  8. Place the butter and remaining caster sugar into a bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon. Once mixed together add the ground almonds and egg and stir until well mixed.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and spread evenly
  10. Position the plums into the soft mixture in your dish, gently press into the mixture.
  11. Place the dish into the oven and cook on 180 degrees for 30 minutes.

To check if the mixture is cooked you should be able to put a knife into the deepest part of the pie and see a clean blade when pulled out. If the blade does not come out clean pop the dish back into the oven for 5 minutes and repeat the test.