So as I have already mentioned, I recently returned from a holiday in France and upon leaving the little gite, I was presented with a huge bag of plums from the hosts who had been busy harvesting the variety of wonderful trees in their garden. I have never really been overly fussed about plums but being one not to let anything go to waste, I thought I’d try my hand at baking something with them and this pudding is the result.
Sharp plums are topped with a light sponge flavoured with almonds and scented with zesty lemons for a really satisfying treat.
8 ripe plums, quartered and stoned
zest 2 lemons
4 tbsp brandy (optional)
100g soft butter
100g light brown sugar
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp almond extract
50g ground almonds
3 tbsp flaked almond
Custard/cream/icecream, to serve
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Toss the plums, cinnamon, lemon zest and brandy together in a bowl, then leave to macerate while you make the batter.
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time then tip in the flour, almond extract and ground almonds. Mix until completely combined.
Tip the fruit into a buttered shallow baking dish, spoon over the cake batter, then sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Bake for 35-40 mins until browned and cooked through. Test if the pudding is ready by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean, the pudding is ready. If there is some batter on the skewer then give it a few minutes more. Remove from the oven and serve warm with custard.
Credit to my amazing friend, Jess, for this little gem. Instead of getting down about the depressing English weather, we laughed in its face, pinched a recipe from a cook book in a shop, bought lots of lemons and whipped up a tasty treat for everyone to enjoy!
Tuck in to a slice of this quick and easily mixed lemon cake. You just need a bowl and a wooden spoon and you can be enjoying delicious cake and a cuppa in a no time. The sponge has a bright yellow crumb with a moist texture from the light olive oil and tangy flavour thanks to the inclusion of thick creamy yoghurt and lemon zest. While the cake is still hot, a lemon and yoghurt glaze is added to give a shiny finish with a slight crunch.
As a general rule of thumb when adding glazes to cake it is helpful to remember this top tip: add hot glaze to cooled cakes and cold glaze to hot cakes. The glaze is absorbed better this way and permiated the sponge to add more depth of flavour.
Makes 1 x 450g loaf tin or 1 x 8″ loose-bottom round cake tin
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
good pinch of salt
50g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
125ml Greek-style yoghurt
125 ml mild light olive oil
For the lemon glaze:
100g icing sugar, sifted
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
1-2 Tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line your chosen tin with greaseproof paper and margarine. Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and lemon zest then ake a well in the mix.
Combine the eggs, yoghurt and oil in a measuring jug and beat well with a fork until well mixed. Pour into the well in the bowl then beat everything together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading evenly amd making sure the corners are well filled (if using a loaf tin).Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes if using a round sandwhich tin or 55-60 mintes if using a loaf tin. The cake should be well risen and a deep golden brown colour. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Towards the end of the baking time make the lemon glaze so it will be ready when you need it.Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Mix in the lemon then stir in enough yoghurt to make a smooth, shiny glaze with the consistency of double cream. If your yoghurt is particularly thick, add a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen.
As soon as the cake is ready, remove fro the oven and set the tin on a wire rack. Leave the cake to firm up for 5 minutes. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the loaf/cake then carefully lift it out onto the wire rack. Place a plate underneath the rack to catch drips. Spoon the glaze over the hot cake letting the glaze slowly drip down the sides. Leave until the cake is cold and the glaze has set.
Serve cut in thick slices. Store in an airtight container and eat within 4 days. The flavours and aromas will be even more pronounced a day or so after baking.
Oh wow! What a surprise these were. I made these for a festive alternative to Christmas pudding for the pud haters that unfortunately walk among us but unlike many alternatives, these slices turned out to be ridiculously tasty, zingy and rich with soft marzipan layers running through the creamy lemon filling for a Christmas vibe. You could make these at any time of year and I plan to… many times a year!
Set the oven to 160°C. Roll out the pastry thinly to a square and use to line a 19cm (7½in) square shallow tin base and up the sides. Divide the marzipan in half and roll out each piece to an 18cm (7in) square.
Put one piece of marzipan on the pastry in the tin. Soften the cream cheese in a bowl, beat in the egg yolks, lemon rind and juice, sugar, flour and milk.
Whisk egg whites until stiff then carefully fold them into cheese mixture. Spoon half mixture over marzipan base, put other piece of marzipan on top then spoon rest of cake mixture on top. Bake for 1 hour.
Cool then dust with icing sugar before cutting into slices to serve.
These keep really well in an airtight container. You can even freeze them… or just eat them!
In case you hadn’t already gathered from looking through my blog, I like lemon curd! Here is another recipe for the wonderful stuff incorporated into a sweet, sticky, nutty cake encased in a rich, buttery pastry case that is the perfect bite-size to enjoy with a brew.
For the sweet pastry:
85g butter, at room temperature
zest 1 lemon
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the filling:
zest 2 lemons
100g butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
85g ground almonds
25g plain flour
6 Tbsp lemon curd
25g flaked almonds
icing sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 180C. To make the pastry, place the butter and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and blitz again until light and creamy. Mix in the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water, then add in the flour until it’s just combined.
On a lightly floured surface, bring the pastry together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and flatten lightly to form a disc. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
Roll out the pastry and cut out 12 rounds with a pastry cutter. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with the circles. Put in the fridge while making the filling.
To make the filling, beat together the lemon zest, butter and caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, including a spoonful of the ground almonds with each addition. When all the egg has been added, mix in the remaining ground almonds and flour.
Spread the lemon curd into the pastry cases. Spoon over the filling and smooth over gently. The tarts will be full to the top, which is fine. Scatter over the flaked almonds, sit tarts on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the tin and serve warm or cool, dusted with icing sugar.
As you can see from the final picture, this mix can also be used to make transportable little Bakewell slices. Just place the ingredients into a greased and lined 20cm x 20cm baking tin and bake as instructed.
I had lemon curd that needed using so these are lemon tarts but you can use your favourite jams too. Seedy raspberry jam, blackcurrant and strawberry are all tried and tested favourites but use whatever you like.
The pastry is flaky and crisp and the filling is sweet and sticky. It’s a perfect little sweet treat plus the recipe for shortcrust pastry is so simple and delivers great results. Give it a go!
Makes approx 18-24
For the shortcrust pastry:
6oz plain flour
1 ½oz lard
1 ½oz margarine
A pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice
Ice cold water, to mix
For the filling:
Jam of your choice
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve up as high as possible to give the flour an airing. Cut the fat into small cubes and add them to the flour. Now, using your fingertips, gently rub the pieces of fat into the flour – lifting your hands up high as you do this (again to incorporate air) – and being as quick as possible. When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 2 tablespoons of water and a squeeze of lemon all over. Use a round-bladed knife to start the mixing, cutting and bringing the mixture together. Carefully add more water as needed, a little at a time. Finally, bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that leaves the bowl clean. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll the pastry out on a well floured surface to an even thickness of about 3-4mm. Use a 3 inch cutter to cut out as many rounds as you can and lay them into cupcake tins then lightly press them down to shape.
Fill each pastry case with a teaspoon of your chosen filling and bake in an oven pre-heated at 200C for 10-12 minutes until the pastry has lightly browned around the edges and the filling is bubbling and hot.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cooled tarts in an airtight container for a few days.
Here is a real homely, feel-good, taste-good baking recipe for a gooey lemon curd slice topped with marshmallow-like meringue and a subtle coconut flavour running throughout.
This recipe would also work really well with a tangy jam such as raspberry or blackcurrant.
Makes 12 slices
For the base:
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
100g plain flour
100g white caster sugar
85g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
4-5 tbsp lemon curd
For the topping:
3 large egg whites
75g white caster sugar
50g desiccated coconut
handful coconut flakes (optional)
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease a 20 x 23cm traybake tin with a little butter and line the base with a long strip of baking parchment that extends above the rim of the tin at either end – this will make it easier to get the slices out of the tin later.
To make the base, tip the flour, sugar, salt and coconut into a bowl, mix everything together then rub in the butter with your fingers to make coarse crumbs. Stir in the egg yolks with the blade of a knife and bring the mixture together with your hands to make a dough. Press the dough into the base of the tin, smoothing it with the back of a spoon to make an even layer. Spread the curd over most of the dough, keeping it a little bit away from the sides of the tin.
To make the topping, whisk the egg whites until stiff then gradually add the sugar to make a glossy meringue. Fold in the desiccated coconut then spoon over the curd layer. Scatter with the coconut flakes, if using, and bake for 25 minutes until golden.
Leave to cool in the tin, then carefully lift out, using the parchment to help you, and cut into slices. These will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.
Here is a lovely light, zingy and fresh muffin recipe perfect for a summer treat. These easy orange sponge cupcakes are finished with a crunchy, zesty sugar topping and conceal a lemon curd centre. (Makes 9).
200g plain flour
140g white caster sugar, plus 1 ½ tbsp
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange (about 85ml juice)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g pot plain yogurt
1 large egg
9 tsp lemon curd
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan and line a muffin tin with 9 paper cases. Tip the flour, 140g sugar, the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, and mix together with a fork.
Stir together ½ tsp orange zest and 1 ½ Tbsp sugar and set aside. Whisk together the orange juice and remaining zest, the oil, vanilla, yogurt and egg with a fork until well blended. Lightly stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Fill the muffin cases about 2/3 full. There will be some mix left over. Put 1 tsp curd in the centre of each and just cover with the remaining muffin mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm and pale golden.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the orange sugar. Leave to cool on a wire rack. These will keep for 4 days in the fridge – return to room temperature to serve.