January 29, 2012

Plum cobbler

A freezing cold January sunday requires, in my books, a delicious hot pudding to lift the spirits if not the waistline. Infact s*d the waistline, on a grisly day like this I am embracing sweet fragrant pastry and tangy aromatic warm fruit as if my life depended on it. Anyway, there is a garden to clear this afternoon, so today I am a guilt free zone!

This recipe is very loosely based on a Paul Hollywood one for apple and blackberry cobbler, but with various tweaks and changes in ingredients and measures. Wikipedia tells me these puds may have originated in the States, when early settlers had difficulty finding the ingredients for their favourite English suet puddings, so topped their seasonal fruit with a pastry/scone like topping - the final result of which resulted in crust resembling a cobbled street. Any which way, this plum one is so delicious: warm and fluffy, nutmeg-scented scone topping over aromatic plums stewed with brown sugar, orange juice and zest, a vanilla pod and a star anise. Dreamy.

This is for six:

preheat oven to 190C/gas mark 5

for the fruit

two punnets of ripe plums (about 800g)
1 orange - the juice and zest
40g light brown sugar
1 star anise
1 vanilla pod (or sprinkle of vanilla extract would do)
1 table spoon of brandy or water

add these ingredients to a pan and cook gently for 5 mins, until the fruit softens, and then tip, minus the star anise and pod, into an ovenproof dish. (And please remember to watch out for the stones later, if you like me, never manage to get them all out before cooking.)

for the topping, 

200g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
200g chilled, chopped butter
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg

put the flour, caster sugar, butter and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and gently knead to form a soft, slightly wet dough. Roll into about 12 balls and place on fruit. Bake for 20-25 mins until the pastry is golden.

The great thing about this recipe it is eminently tweakable - it would be delicious with peaches or apple and blackberries or whatever fruit you love that is in season. And the topping can have other ingredients added, cinnamon, peacans maybe or ground almonds instead of some of the flour, a sprinkling of demerara sugar?

However you make it, enjoy this gorgeous winter pud with cream or custard, it really is love in a bowl!

for more comforting recipes and winter crafts, pop over here.


  1. OMG I acn smell the Star Anise from here, could you pop a couple of dollops of marscapone under the cobbles so that it melts into the sweet fruit juice - I'll be round in a couple of hours, should still be warm? Tee hee,

    Sarah -x-

    PS Planning my cutting garden in earnest and re-reading lots of your posts, thank you Belinda you are encouraging me, did you know that?

  2. Mouth watering unattractively, here.

    Totally making it - with all that fruit it just has to be healthy!


  3. Oooh, yummy! Look at you and your new camera!!! I love those photos - I feel I can reach in and grab myself a bowlful!!!

    Your Soup comment on my blog made me laugh and laugh - thank you!!

  4. My goodness my mouth is watering just gazing on these sensuous images!
    I have never heard of a punnet before.

  5. Oh.... I have an apple..... not plums, but it would do nicely!

  6. Plum cobbler sound so good for a cold winter day. Your pics are making me hungry. Love your blog!...Greetings from Indiana...Heidi

  7. I see clotted cream ... we don't get clotted cream here!

  8. I love cobblers when it's cold outside. It looks delicious Belinda!

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

  9. Truly delicious. Thankyou so much Belinda, I will be bookmarking this.

  10. I've just spent a delightful afternoon browsing my cookery books deciding what pudding to cook next weekend. Still can't decide but it will be a Substantial Pudding or SP as they're called in our family, this definitely is an SP.

  11. SJ, thanks, and I'm excited about your summer of flowers-to-be!

    Nicki - definitely one or two of your 5 a day!

    Sarah, having fun and frustration with my big girl camera, but mainly fun!

    Hostess, that is interesting, it just means little basket for fruit or veg, in this case plastic, supermarket version.

    Rachel, apple and cinammon? Yum

    Heidi, Hi - thanks for popping by, is it snowing with you?

    Elephant's Eye, you did, such an indulgence, but so delicious. I would seriously consider an import licence!!

    Madelief, is there a Dutch version?

    Emma, thx, I posted a few of the pics to the flickr group. x

    JHD, SPs for evah!!

  12. Belinda, dear girl, we need some help on this side of the pond ... what is a "punnet" and what is "caster" sugar? In the states we have brown sugar, white sugar (granular, what one puts in tea) and powdered sugar (this one is soft, not granular, and we sift it onto the tops of things and use it with butter to make creamy frostings/icings for cakes). I'm thinking you mean granular ... but not sure. And, where in the world did you get plums this time of year!

    It looks wonderful and I am definitely willing to try it, even if I use the wrong sugar - just not sure how much/many plums? thanks. xo

  13. Sorry Webb, I mean't to write the weight of the plums - it is roughly 800g. Punnets are the little plastic baskets we buy our fruit in, in the Uk. Caster sugar is fine white granular sugar, not the powdered icing sugar. In the UK we have granulated sugar and caster sugar which are almost the same except castor is finer, less coarse. It is easy to forget how many differences we have in our shared language, sorry for the confusion. Have added the weight to the recipe. This should feed six hungry people, so for two, I would half, and it is nice cold if you get any leftover!x

  14. Haha! Serves the US contingent right! They insist on putting up recipes with "Half and Half" or 'take one tin of pumpkin'.

    Belinda: Keep it warm, I'll be over. I'll bring ice-cream.

  15. yum. yum. yum. nothing else to say x

  16. that looks amazing and has inspired me to make a plum pudding for when the girls get home from school later covered in damp snow! The photos are lovely too.

  17. Looks absolutely heavenly Belinda, thanks for the recipe! Hope the weather is not too awful? Love Linda x

  18. That looks lovely I love stewed plums and cobblers but I have never had then together so I will be trying this. Thanks.

  19. My kingdom for a punnett of ripe plums. Ripe anything really.

    I think a bowlful would be v.goog for my cold.....just saying.

    xo Jane

  20. Oh yum! A pudding with dumplings topped off with thick cream - delish!

    I never bother about my waistline this time of year.........so that'll be double helpings for me.

    Nina xxx

  21. That looks delicious, if I'm in a hurry I cheat and make my cobbler topping with cookie dough.