There is a definite nip in the air this morning and I feel we are now fully enveloped in Autumn and the treats it brings. There is bonfire night to look forward to which always reminds me of those when I was a child. Nibbling enthusiastically on a toffee apple but shamefully becoming bored once past the sugar and faced with the apple. Hot dogs which inevitably leaked ketchup onto my woolly gloves and the glowing face that comes from a huge bonfire.
It is then a speedy tumble towards Christmas but I don’t want to become distracted by this end of the year fiesta and rather enjoy now. Frosty mornings which lead to sunny but cold days, leaves changing colour then falling and the sparse bleakness of the garden. On the flip side there is sloe gin to be made and stashed away, fires to be lit and all those culinary delights that were cast aside somewhere around early April. Stews, hearty gratins and bakes, crumbles and cobblers filled with all manner of orchard fruits. Rib sticking food to keep out the cold and to enjoy around the table with family and friends as the daylight fades.
My previous recipe for a galette was a nectarine and cherry one (August 2013) and it seemed long overdue to offer a more autumnal version, this fits the bill perfectly. Unlike that summer version which suggested using bought pastry for speed (summer holidays and all) this time I make the pastry but you should do whichever works for you (I won’t judge). I have used plums here because I can’t resist their juicy tartness, the perfect foil to crisp sweet pastry but you can just as easily use a few crispy apples (eaters not cookers here) perhaps adding a little cinnamon along with the lemon juice. We have enjoyed this two or three times over the last week or so, my children love it with ice cream, I prefer it with cold pouring cream but can’t help thinking a really good vanilla custard would probably bring the house down.
The amount below is just right for the four of us, a generous quarter each but then none left winking at me from the counter begging me to finish it (for which I am grateful). The one in the photograph is simply this amount doubled and it happily served seven. You only need a teaspoon of beaten egg for the glaze so take it from another egg that is being cracked for another purpose if possible otherwise use milk.
100g plain flour plus a heaped teaspoon extra
60g cold butter, cubed or grated
A good pinch of fine salt
60g caster sugar, divided in two
30ml cold water
6 plums stoned and each cut into sixths
Squeeze of lemon juice
A teaspoon or so of beaten egg (see introduction)
A dessertspoon of demerara or caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 190. Put the flour and butter into a medium size bowl and rub together with your fingers. There isn’t really enough to justify getting a food processor out. When it looks like breadcrumbs add the salt and 30g of sugar followed by the water, bring it together into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave somewhere cool for half an hour. Mix the plums with the teaspoon of flour, remaining 30g of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Roll out the flour to a rough 30cm circle and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, tumble the plums onto the pastry leaving a good gap and turn this pastry edge over the plums. Brush with your glaze, egg or milk and sprinkle with the dessertspoon of sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top and crisp underneath.