This is a recipe dedicated to all those time-deprived cooks still looking to impress.
Work, eat, sleep, repeat (and occasionally tweet). This is fine if you can get the balance of each one right. When we look at the angelic pictures of children in some of the major American food blogs (you know the ones): kids strolling through sunny fields, rustic baskets in hand, followed by beautifully prepared and styled food, we have to admit to feeling a little inadequate. Not on the parenting front, but how on earth do they manage to take pictures so gorgeous they have 557 people ‘like’ it on instagram within 15 minutes? Heyho our life is more like the infographic below (reproduced with permission).
( copyright of www.howtobeadad.com)
So our cooking and blogging time is very limited but we have to share this seasonal plum crumble tart. We made it for a weekend lunch party. It’s one of those things you can do in stages. Cooking in stages is a great thing. A thing that allows people who are at the extreme ends of time deprivation (like us) to cook luscious tarts (like this) every now and then. You make the pastry and jam one night, or even cheat and use ready made- which is fine we like short cuts – and then put it together the next day, whipping the finished tart out when friends pop round.
The pastry is rich and crisp, the ruby red sweetly spiced jam in the base peeps out from under the finely sliced fresh plum. A crumble topping of oats and agave syrup gives a satisfying crunchy finish. Top with warm custard for a perfect autumn treat.
Be warned the jam recipe makes a generous amount – more than you will need for the tart. Keep it for breakfasts or gift it. The warm scents of cinnamon and star anise make it a perfect jam for the cold season.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 star anise pod
1 cinnamon stick
Sweet shortcrust pastry
200g unsalted butter cut into 2cm cubes
2 beaten egg yolks
Pinch of salt
300g plums – slicked thinly
1 teaspoon butter
3 tablespoons porridge oats
1 tablespoon agave syrup
Half teaspoon mixed spice
For the jam, put the plums, sugar, lemon juice and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or preserving pan if you have one). Add the star anise and cinnamon stick.
Cook over a medium heat until it comes to the boil.
Reduce the hear and simmer until the jam reaches setting point (105 degrees, if you have a jam thermometer). You can check by testing if the jam crinkles once cooled if you place a glad teaspoon of if onto a saucer that has been cooled in the freezer.
Remove the anise pod and cinnamon.
Pour the jam into sterilised jars.
Allow to cool before using in the tart.
For the pastry, you can use shop bought sweet shortcrust. Otherwise put the flour, salt, sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse till it is resembles breadcrumbs.
Put in the beaten egg and process the mixture till it forms a ball of dough. If it is still a little dry, add a little cold milk, but only a trickle (a teaspoon or so) to bind it if it is needed.
Roll the pastry into a ball, wrap in cling film and cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 200 degree C
Roll out the pastry to 5 mm thick and line a greased flan tin (ours is 12inches, 31 cm).
Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork.
Cover the pastry with a sheet of grease proof paper, top with baking beans and bake the pastry shell blind for 20 mins or till the pastry is starting to go golden.
Keep the oven on.
Whilst it is baking prepare the crumble. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the porridge oats and agave syrup. As the syrup heats ans thins it will coat the oats. Ass the mixed spice and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes but keep it in the flan it.
Spread the jam over the base and top with the sliced plum and the crumble.
Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes till the crumble has turned golden brown.
Serve with custard!