The combination of what felt like a week of heavy rain followed by days of scorchy sunshine have resulted in a bumper forage of plump and ripe mirabelle plums.
Most of the wild fruit trees I’ve been keeping watch on seem to be doing really well, branches full and laden of fat fruit…I’m told it’s because we had a mild autumn last year so the trees and hedgerows were able to produce plenty of new growth….then when the blossoms were forming in the Spring the weather was lovely and sunny, even though we’ve had a lot of rain since it seems to have been once the blossoms were pollinated…thank you bees.
All the apple trees seem to have produced plenty of fruit (though I tend to call them all crab apples I think more are wildings…I’m thinking to make a supply of apple jellies as a base for some winter gravies…the blackberries are getting huge and if the day gets out nice I’ll wander out and see if any are ready to pick yet…(this time last year I’d already gathered loads but they seem a bit behind this year, though all the ones I’ve seen do look an most impressive size.)
As delicious as the ripe mirabelles taste with just a rinse under a cold tap you do need to be a bit careful, like all wild fruit they seem to be full of extra fruity goodness which is often a bit harsh on the digestive system so if you don’t want a gippy tummy (I’m talking the same effect as syrup of figs here) a little moderation is called for.
I’ve got a couple of new things planned for the mirabelles, I picked a fair few while still leaving the tree pretty laden so I’m a bit spoilt for choice with what to make. First choice will always be a jam, though this isn’t always the first jam grabbed from the pantry for toast, it is very nice especially on a fruited spicy loaf on those cold mornings, however I think it really comes into it’s own when it’s used in jam tarts. Less sweet than raspberry and with much more depth of flavour than strawberry, mirabelle tarts are just mmmmm and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like to find a couple along side a cup of tea at elevenises
As I’ve got plenty of mirabelles I thought I’d have a play with a couple of other newer recipes,
It seems a bit daft giving a bread and butter pudding as there’s very little to it, but also because it’s a bit warm for a hot dessert, however we’ve got some bread that’s now a bit too dry for sandwiches and I know Mister Tummy Tumpkins will still be appreciative of a pudding whatever the weather.
Mirabelle oeuf lah lah* bread and butter pudding
(I’ve given this a bit of a French sounding name as mirabelles are really a French plum, mostly in England we get myrobalan or cherry plums…they’re really similar to the French mirabelle and you won’t find any of them in the shops…)
*also I have a lovely French friend who when she says “ohh lah lah” it sounds like she is saying “oeuf”
A handful of mirabelle plums, washed and halved
A couple of slices of slightly stale homemade bread
about 300 ml milk (full fat but I often use semi skimmed..and you may need a little more if your bread is thirsty)
2 medium eggs
an ovenproof dish
Pop the plums in a heavy bottomed pan, sprinkle over some caster sugar and on a low heat allow to simmer so the fruit becomes tender and the juices begin to run. Keep a watch on them so the plums don’t stick, as long as they’re still wet from a wash then they should be okay.
Once the plums are ready, remove the stones (you can remove them before you cook them but I find it easier once they’re cooked)
Butter your dish.
Trim the crusts off your bread and butter. Cut each slice into 4.
Start placing the buttered bread slices into the oven proof dish, squidge in a spoonful or so of cooked plums between the slices.
Don’t cram your dish or it will all spill out.
Sprinkle over a couple of dessert spoons of caster sugar.
Beat the egg and 300ml of milk together and pour over the bread and plums. Allow to soak in for 15/20 minutes. If the bread seems particularly thirsty pour a little more.
Allow a full half hour for the eggy milk custard to soak through the bread before putting into an oven.
Bake in a medium oven (gas 5) for about 30/35 minutes.
Serve pretty quick while it’s still wobbly. Good as is but even nicer with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
Enough for 2 greedy pudding liking people.
I figure if you’re going to have a pudding then you want to know you’ve had one so my pudding portions tend to be on the generous size.
*I tend to have a jar filled with sugar with a couple of vanilla pods tucked in, everytime some is used, the jar is topped up and given a good shake