It always terrifies me when really good chefs get their own TV series, so I was filled with trepidation when I turned on Tom Kerridge’s ‘Proper Pub Food’ on Monday night. Luckily they hadn’t turned him into a clown for the occasion (Hairy Bikers style), but I have to say that whilst I really enjoyed the programme, I did feel as though I was going to have a heart attack just watching it. There wasn’t a vegetable in sight until he prepared some to go in his salt beef bagel by pickling in a load of sugar!
Still, I found the unapologetic gluttony strangely refreshing in this age of nutritional over-analysis where we seem to be constantly lectured on what is, and isn’t, good for us. So it is in this spirit that I offer you another recipe from Sarah Raven’s brilliant ‘Garden Cook Book’. I attempted this at the weekend when my parents bought me over a lovely large bag of juicy ripe plums from their garden.
It’s a fantastic way to turn a healthy plum into something very, very naughty indeed.
Sarah Raven’s Tuscan Plum Tart
150g soft butter
200g self-raising flour
Use a 25 cm sauté pan or a cast iron frying pan, one with a removable handle, or one which can go in the oven handle and all like mine.
Preheat your oven to 170oC.
Prepare the plums by halving and stoning them.
Put 275g sugar and 150ml water into the pan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then cook without stirring until the sugar caramelises to a golden brown. The trick here is to keep an eye on it and do not leave the side of the pan even for a moment. Once the caramel starts to colour it does so very rapidly and it will keep cooking even once you have taken it off the heat.
Arrange the prepared plums cut side down in a single layer over the caramel in the pan.
Put the butter, remaining sugar and flour into a food processor and whiz for a second or two. Add the eggs and stop whizzing as soon as the mixture comes together. Spoon over the plums and spread gently in as even a layer as possible. The plums will poke through a little bit but don’t worry about this.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 1 hour. The centre should be firm and the edges shrunk slightly away from the sides of the pan.
Allow to rest in the pan for a few minute before taking a deep breath and flipping over onto a serving plate.
Serve with cream.
NOTE: My frying pan was only 22 cm across the bottom so I halved and stoned enough plums to lay in a single layer over the bottom. I then weighed them. They came to roughly half the amount used in the recipe above so I just halved all the other ingredients. I then cooked for 40 minutes rather than 1 hour and this was just right.