Today I'm feeling blessed. As I write this it is New Years Day 2015. Last night, I was pyjamma'ed and drinking tea by nine and asleep by 10pm. I know, I know - 'YAWN' you may say but I woke up feeling pretty freakin' fabulous...so there! We've just returned from a camping trip to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world that lies not far from our doorstep. We scored one of the best spots in a very busy campsite. This was our view each morning as I led my two rambunctious early risers away from the rest of the campers, lest we get too rowdy...not bad eh?
It was a lovely lazy few days but it had to come to an end so we wistfully made our way back home. It's a mammoth task putting the household back together again after a camp but since our return, as I wade through the piles of laundry (still going!) random bundles of homegrown goodness keep arriving at our door and I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Our own patch is turning out an impressive load of vege at the moment keeping us well supplied with strawberries, squash (trombocino and yellow button), beans, corn, garlic, spuds and tomatoes. But I still did a happy dance to find a massive bag of someone elses tomatoes on my kitchen bench when we got home, because in my world - there is NO SUCH THING as 'too many tomatoes' so these have already been dispatched into my slow roasted tomato sauce. At the moment it is being padded out with yellow button squash rather than eggplant because I'm really not sure what else to do with them in such ridiculous quantities. Seriously, it's one plant! I'm getting three or four big 'uns a day. Heaven help me when the zucchinis start pumping out, although Rose has an awesome zucchini pickle recipe I'll be trying out for these.
We visited another friend today who sent us home with armloads of leeks and onions (red, white and brown). Some onions went into the tomato sauce and the leeks are destined for a caramelised leek and fetta ...something... but there's more. A big box of plums was found on our back doorstep. Satsumas perhaps, lovely little deep purple-fleshed gems and plenty of them. Jam is inevitable, jelly a possibility but those lovely plums deserve to be celebrated too so I'm making a plum tarte tartan with the sumptuous recipe below.
Spiced Caramel Brandy Plum Tarte Tatin Recipe
(quantities depend a bit on the size of the pan you're using so don't hesitate to up the butter/sugar/brandy quantities if you need to... or just want it more saucy, just keep the ratio the same)
4 tbsp brandy
4 tbsp rapadura sugar
1 star anise pod
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cardamon pods
4 tbsp butter
Firm ripe plums halved and seeded, enough to fill the pan
1 sheet of puff pastry cut into a circle to fit the diameter of the chosen pan
Double cream to serve
Using an oven happy fry pan, heat the sugar, brandy and spices, stirring frequently until it thickens into caramel. Mix through the butter and remove from the heat to arrange the plums, cut side up, then return the pan to a low heat. Let it simmer away for about 10 minutes until the plums soften. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a little while (maybe 10 minutes) before topping with the pastry circle. Place the pan in a medium oven (170-180oc) and cook until the pastry is puffy and golden (about 20 minutes). Remove the pan and let cool for a bit before attempting the 'flip'. You'll need to wear oven mitts, cover the pan with the plate you intend to serve on, put one hand under the pan, the other on the plate then quickly and confidently flip it. Your tarte tatin should land on the plate and the syrupy caramel should ooze deliciously over the top of it. Serve with a generous dollop of cream.
If there's one thing I love about summertime, it's this kind of bounty from the beautiful people that surround me. Lucky me to know so many generous gardening friends. Thanks all! Best I make a few more of these and share them around.
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