You know the Billy Connolly quote: ‘There is no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes.’ Substitute the word clothes for food and you pretty much have my philosophy. Snow and drizzle in mid-March? Time for plum pies and nutmeg.
This is just a variation of the September Strawberry Frangipane. I always seem to be out of season.
Use either a 26cm tart tin or a rectangular baking tray about 20 x 32cm. (It shouldn’t be too shallow, at least 1.5 cm deep).
40g icing sugar
125g butter, straight from the fridge and cubed
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons tap water
Mix the first 4 ingredients in the processor, pulsing. Keep pulsing as you add the egg/water until it starts to clump. You might not need all of the liquid. Gently press into a lump and wrap in clingfilm. Keep in the fridge for 20 minutes or until you’re ready.
When you are ready, cut a piece of greaseproof paper a bit bigger than your tin. Roll your pastry onto the paper and gently lift it, paper and all, into your tin. Ease it in and tidy up the edges. If the pastry rips, just patch it up with some of the excess. Remember that it will shrink as it cooks. Don’t blind bake it. Just stick it in the fridge till you’ve made the filling.
The greaseproof lining works well: it means that you can lift the whole thing out after cooking and cooling without any disasters.
125g butter, melted but no longer too hot
125g golden caster sugar
150g ground almonds
3 eggs, beaten
2 teasp vanilla extract
2 level tablespoons self-raising flour
3 tablespoons apricot jam
4 fresh plums
light muscovado sugar (a tablespoon) and a little spiced rum.
Quarter and stone the plums, sprinkle with some spiced rum and a tablespoon of light muscovado sugar and bake hot (200 degrees) for 25 minutes until slightly singed. Put the plums to one side and reserve the juices.
Whoosh up the almonds,flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and a good grinding of nutmeg in the food processor. If the mixture is stiff, add a tablespoon of wine or lime juice and whizz up again. Make sure it’s well blended.
Spread the apricot jam carefully over the pastry base, then pour the filling mix evenly over the top.
Decorate artistically (!) with the quartered plums, skin side up.
Bake for 30 – 45 minutes at 180 degrees. When you start to smell it baking, check it, turn it round and if necessary, turn the oven down. When the middle bounces back, it’s ready. Do check, because all ovens are so different. In mine, it only takes about 25 minutes at 170 degrees.
3 tablespoons apricot jam
juice of one lime
the juices reserved from the baked plums
As soon as the frangipane comes out of the oven, gently warm the glaze ingredients in a small pan until just melted. Push through a tea-strainer into a mug, then brush evenly over the whole pie.
Serve at room temperature.