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I They have been gorging themselves on the last plums, the last Victorias still in the fridge, their skin almost translucent, their flesh tender as a bruise. I made the tail of the greengages into soft, syrupy jam to eat with scoops of snow-white fudge. And now it’s the turn of the damson plum, the curtain call for the stone fruits of summer, the tiny dark plums whose brief season is over in an instant.

I pounced on the first sighting of damson last week, my favorite fruit to cook, more precious even than the first rhubarb or gooseberries, and froze them, ready for pies and cakes or to eat with roast pork instead of the Usual apple sauce. . This week, I baked a batch with a little sugar in a roasting pan and served them warm, dipping crumbled hazelnut butter cookies in the juice.

That cake had more than the usual pinch of salt, and it was better for him, eliciting the taste of roasted walnuts. I also cooked my annual marrow this week, actually one a year is plenty, grated and mixed into fluffy cakes with sweet corn and served hot from the skillet with tomato chili sauce.

Muscovado hazelnut cookies

Makes 12 cookies

butter 225g
gold powdered sugar 75g
light muscovado 75g
peeled hazelnuts 125 g, plus 50 g
common flour 175g
Cornmeal 60g
sea ​​salt flakes ¼ teaspoon

You will also need a 20 cm square baking pan, lined with parchment paper.

Cut the butter into cubes and then place it in the bowl of a food mixer equipped with a whisk attachment. Add both sugars and beat until smooth and creamy, regularly scraping the mixture down the inside of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Preheat the oven to 160C / gas mark 3. Meanwhile, toast all the hazelnuts, including the additional 50g, in a dry skillet over moderate heat, regularly stirring the pan so that they brown evenly. They are ready when they are pale gold. Set aside 50 g of toasted walnuts. Pour the rest into a food processor and reduce to fine crumbs, roughly the same texture as ground almonds. Cut the reserved walnuts in half.

When the butter and sugars are light and fluffy, gently add the ground hazelnuts, flour, and cornstarch. Mix gently until all the ingredients come together into a smooth batter. Transfer to the lined cake pan and gently smooth the surface. Spread the halved hazelnuts on the surface and bake for 45 minutes.

When they come out of the oven, dial 12 and chill in their tin, before breaking into pieces and storing in a cookie tin until needed.

Baked plums

Another way to cook plums is to put them in a medium saucepan with sugar and water and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the fruit breaks open and the juices turn a deep purple color. For 4 people

plums or plums 500g
granulated or powdered sugar 3 tablespoons
Water 120 ml

Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / gas mark 6. Pick the stems of the plums, rinse the fruit briefly under running water and then pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the sugar, pour in the water and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the fruit pops and is surrounded by purple juice.

Serve the fruit, warm or cold, with its syrup and a plate of hazelnut butter cookies on top.

Marrow and sweet corn fritters

Nigel Slater’s Recipes for Hazelnut Cupcakes, Baked Plums, and Sweet Corn Fritters |  Meal
Soft Yellow: You can’t use marrow very often, but it works well as part of a sweet corn fritter. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin / The Observer

I seasoned these soft and tender shredded marrow and sweet corn cakes with togarashi, the Japanese spice mix of dried chili powder, dried orange peel and sesame. If you prefer something spicier and less aromatic, use ½ to 1 teaspoon of ground chili. Makes 8, makes 4

marrow 750g
sweet corn 2 heads of 250 g
common flour 75g
togarashi seasoning 1 tsp
nigella seeds 1 tsp
eggs 2
Petroleum to fry
Tomatoes 500g
Red pepper 1, large

Peel and seed the marrow (it should have about 600 g of meat) and then coarsely grate (I use a food processor equipped with a large “remoulade” disc). Transfer to a colander or colander, salt generously and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Remove sweet corn from ears with sharp knife; it should be about 250 g. Place the sweet corn in a bowl, add the flour, togarashi seasoning, and nigella seeds. Separate the eggs, lightly beat the yolks and toss with the sweet corn.

Squeeze the marrow firmly with your fist to remove excess liquid, then fold in the sweet corn mixture with a fork. With a large whisk, beat the egg white until stiff, then mix with the marrow-sweet corn mixture.

Over moderate heat, heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet. Spoon four large tablespoons of the mixture, one for each fritter, into the hot oil, then cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and firm. Place on a serving plate and keep warm while you repeat with the remaining batter.

To make a quick tomato sauce to go with fritters, cut 500g tomatoes in half, place cut side up on a grill or baking sheet, then spread over a finely chopped large red chili pepper and a seasoning of salt and black pepper. Cook under a hot grill for 12-15 minutes until soft and starting to brown here and there. Mash with a fork and serve with the marrow cakes.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater




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