Let's Cook: Perfect plums and crisp filo pastry
While out walking last week I nearly slipped on a stray plum that had fallen from a tree that was absolutely straining from the amount of fruit.
I managed to restrain myself from jumping up and grabbing a few (I think at my age it would be very embarrassing to be caught "scrumping" plums). I had to make do with buying some greengages and yellow plums.
Plums are an extremely versatile fruit - they make wonderful savoury chutneys redolent with spices and sweet sour flavours and are also fantastic in warm crumbles and cobblers.
Soft, squishy, sweet plums are a perfect foil for crisp, buttery filo pastry. This middle eastern pastry has the reputation of being difficult to manage, but is quite easy in reality.
The key for success in using it is to brush it with butter to stop it breaking up and to cover with a tea towel the pastry you're not using, to prevent it drying out.
Lightly poaching plums with orange give them a fragrant twist and a poaching liquor that's fab combined with cream and almonds to serve with the golden delights.
Use whatever variety of plum you fancy, but personally I'd make the most of sweet greengages as they've got a limited season that needs to be made the most of.
Plum and almond filo turnovers with toasted almond cream
75g castor sugar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g flaked almonds
50g melted butter
4 sheets filo
1 tablespoon honey
Place the sugar, orange juice, zest and cinnamon in a saucepan and boil to a syrup. Cut the plums in half, remove the stone and cut in half again. Add the plums to the syrup and simmer gently until soft. Cool completely.
Toast the almonds on a baking tray in a 200°c oven until golden - about five minutes. Chop and add to the plum mixture. Alternatively, you can buy already toasted almonds.
Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush with melted butter all over. Place another sheet of pastry directly on top. Cut the sheet in half and then in half again so you have four strips.
Place a spoonful of the plum mix (spoon off the liquid) at the top of one strip of pastry. Fold over to form a triangle towards the bottom of the pastry and then fold again to enclose the pastry - do this until you reach the bottom and have a triangular shape. Repeat with the other three strips and then repeat with the other filo pastry. Place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper and brush with butter. Bake for 12- 15 minutes or until crisp and golden. Warm the honey slightly and brush over the turnovers as they come out of the oven.
Toasted almond cream
200ml double cream
Juice from the plums
50g toasted chopped flaked almonds
Icing sugar to taste
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold in the plum juice and almonds. Add icing sugar to taste.