Monday, 3 August 2015

Greengage Clafoutis

Greengages possess a complexity of flavour that makes them one of my all-time favourite fruits.  They are cultivars of the plum family and despite what their name infers are not always green – although most of the ones that are available to buy range in colour from pale amber through to quite a dark green, sometimes with pink tones mottling their flesh.

I absolutely love them!

Perfectly ripe greengages are lovely to eat fresh and possess an ambrosial sweetness which makes it impossible to eat just one! Smaller than plums, with a sweet and juicy flesh, they can be a little hard to come by unless you are lucky enough to know someone who has a greengage tree. When they are for sale in the grocery store, I tend to buy them by the dozen and end up overdosing on them for a couple of weeks. Not that I am complaining because I really don’t think that I could ever tire of them.
 
I love using them to make a Greengage Clafoutis, which all things considered must be one of the simplest and quickest desserts to make. A clafoutis is essentially a sweet batter pudding into which fruit, most usually Kirsch-soaked cherries are set and then baked. As it cooks, the batter puffs up to enrobe the fruit, which softens in the heat of the oven. From start to finish a clafoutis can be made in about 45 minutes which is a further tick in its favour!
 
If you can’t get your hands on greengages, you can of course make this using ordinary plums or even damsons, but for me, nothing beats using greengages! In fact I prefer them to the more commonly used cherries.
 
A dollop of lightly whipped fresh cream and this is a dessert that can’t be beaten.
 

Ingredients:

350g greengages
80g caster sugar, plus a couple of extra tablespoons to dust the dish
2 large eggs
½tsp vanilla extract
90g plain flour
30g butter, melted
150ml milk
 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 20cm round shallow, oven-proof dish with some butter and sprinkle over a couple of tablespoons of the caster sugar and place on a baking tray and set aside.
2. Halve and stone the greengages and place cut-side up in the baking dish, in a single layer.
3. Beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract together in a large jug, using a balloon whisk. Then whisk in the flour until it is completely incorporated and then add the melted butter. Finally add in the milk and beat gently to create a batter.
4. Pour the batter over the greengages and place in the preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes until the batter has puffed up and is a rich golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving, dusted with a little icing-sugar if desired and some freshly whipped cream.

Serves 4.