Most of my meals begin with a craving for just one ingredient. I just ate two weeks of Mexican food because I had a craving for avocados that led into a deep need for black beans.
This Sunday’s food-based love letter started with a pot in the corner of my eye in M&S. I absolutely adore homemade custard, but I have to admit there is a very special place in my heart for the kind you can buy from the shops, made with thick cream and big flecks of vanilla. Once I saw this, I knew I would need a pudding to accompany it. If you’re going to have a pudding with custard it should really be a crumble or a pie, and I knew this one should be a crumble. I didn’t want apple – I’ve overloaded on apple puddings recently – so what was it to be?
Plums, of course.
I bought yellow and purple plums for my pudding, and stewed these down for the filling. I kept a few back, then sliced them and popped the slices in at the end, before adding the topping. This way you get a variety of textures rather than just a stewed mess. If you like yours more like a compote you can leave out this step, or stew the fruit for much less time for an even more textured affair. I added a dash of peach juice and the merest sprinkle of sugar to these already-sweet fruits, but you could add more sugar to taste or a splash of red wine. Plums love red wine.
Then you just need to add your crumble topping of choice. Mine is 200g flour (self-raising is fine, it adds a more cobbler-like crust), 100g butter, 75g sugar – rub it all together, throw it on your fruit and then use Nigel Slater’s trick of splashing a little water onto the surface to get a variety of crumbs in there. I also sprinkle on some oats, because they’re delicious.
Bake it until it’s golden brown and bubbling at the edges (my favourite bit of crumble is the little sticky bits that catch on the tin). Then you can spoon it out and dollop on the custard that started this whole kitchen session.
Preferably you should prefix this kind of pudding with an amazing roast dinner. Use all your crockery and make a mess of your kitchen. Eat it all up and leave the washing up until you’ve had a nap.
Which ingredients set you off on kitchen adventures? Is this just me?