Plums are at their very best right now, juicy and bursting with flavour. My Dad has a plum tree in his garden with a small crop of plums this year. Trouble is, they were all very high up in the top branches. The other problem is that the wasps had gotten to most of them before we had. Undeterred, we got a ladder and poking stick (an old brush handle) and salvaged a few delicious organic plums from the very top.
Hard won food is always the best and these plums were certainly the tastiest ones I’ve had in a while. I didn’t have quite enough to make a whole dessert with them, so I decided to mix them with some fresh apricots. I was thinking of making something like a crumble, which is such an easy dessert, but I wanted something a little more portable. So these crumble bars are the perfect compromise. I added some almonds to give them some extra crunch, but you could add any variety of nuts or even oats to make them a bit more wholesome. These are my new favourite lunch box treat.
- 4 ripe apricots
- 4 ripe plums
- ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
- 200g of plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 50g of soft brown sugar
- 50g of white sugar
- 100g of butter, chopped up into small cubes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 20g of flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Slice the plums and apricots in half and remove the stones. Cut the fruit up into small segments and place in a bowl with the lemon juice. Leave aside. Grease an 8 inch x 6 inch tin with butter.
Sieve the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugars to the flour and combine with a wooden spoon. Add the butter, and rub the butter into the dry ingredients, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and combine. It will begin to look a bit crumbly and sticky, but keep stirring until all the egg is combined. Pour half the crumble mixture into the base of the tin, and press down evenly with the back of a spoon. Then pour the fruit over the base and spread out evenly. Finally, pour the rest of the crumble over the fruit so that all the fruit is covered with crumble. Place the tin in the oven on the centre shelf for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. I added the flaked almonds, about 5 minutes before the crumble was due to come out of the oven. Leave to cool for at least an hour before cutting. These bars are better when they are fully cool, and much easier to cut.