Saturday, 1 September 2007

Plum crumble (Γλύκισμα με βανίλιες ή τζάνερα)

We have an endless supply of plums (called 'vaniles' or 'tzanera' in Greek) from our tree in the garden of our house. We're not great fans of them; they're not the kind of fruit you can eat loads of (like watermelon) without feeling a little sick afterwards. I decided to try making plum crumble, an English pudding, with our excess crop. The original internet recipe comes from Waitrose.

You need:
1kg English plums, stoned and quartered
175g unrefined demerara sugar (2/3 cup)
1 tbsp lemon juice
175g plain flour (1 1/3 cups)
150g firm, slightly salted butter, cut into pieces - use margarine to make this lenten fare
50g porridge oats - I used a muesli mixture because we don't use rolled oats on their own in our house, and ready muesli contains mainly rolled oats with various other natural products such as raisins, sunflower seeds. It made a crunchy alternative.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Scatter the plums in a 1-litre shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of cold water. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it look likes chunky breadcrumbs, then stir in the remaining sugar and oats and mix them in until the mixture begins to cling together. Tip the crumble over the plums, spreading it almost to the edges of the dish. Bake for about 45 minutes until the crumble is pale golden brown.

I dusted the crumble with cinnamon for an extra autumny aroma. It was absolutely delicious. This dessert goes really well with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. The plums can also be replaced with apples and the wild blackberries that grow on thorny bushes in Hania, although hardly anybody picks them here. Most soft fruits in season will work well instead of the plums.

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