SHORTCAKE’S A PLUM TREAT WITH MOST AU­TUMN FRUITS

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | EYE FOOD - WEEK­END COOK WORDS: MAG­GIE COOPER mag­gies.col­[email protected]­pond.com

Au­tumn fruits are sub­lime in their own way: not as showy as, say, a mango or Shang­hai peach, but just as de­li­cious. Think of ripe, lus­cious figs (which go beau­ti­fully on a cheese plat­ter or poached and served as dessert), tart tamar­il­los – eaten raw or also poached in a sim­ple sugar syrup – or the many va­ri­eties of plum that are avail­able at this time of year. Any of those can be used in to­day’s recipe, a sim­ple shortcake baked with wedges of au­tumn fruit as top­ping. Shortcake is syn­ony­mous with straw­ber­ries, but any fruit in sea­son can be paired with the sim­ple base. It’s not un­like short­bread but is more cake-like in tex­ture thanks to the in­clu­sion of an egg and a ris­ing agent (in this case, bak­ing pow­der). To­day’s ver­sion uses plums but you could use just about any fruit in sea­son; figs would be de­li­cious. Try serv­ing it with a dol­lop of thick cream or Greek yo­ghurt.

PLUM SHORTCAKE Serves 6 IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

200g un­salted but­ter at room tem­per­a­ture, plus ex­tra for greas­ing tin; 3⁄4 cup caster sugar; 1 large free-range egg; 1 tsp vanilla paste; 2 cups plain flour; 2 tsp bak­ing pow­der; 6-8 large ripe plums; thick cream or Greek yo­ghurt, to serve

METHOD

Pre­heat oven to 180C. Grease a cake tin with a lit­tle but­ter and line base with bak­ing pa­per. Cream but­ter and sugar un­til pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla while still beat­ing; the mix­ture may look like it has cur­dled but that won’t mat­ter. Sift the flour and bak­ing pow­der to­gether into the wet in­gre­di­ents and fold in un­til com­bined. Turn bat­ter into the pre­pared cake tin and press gen­tly across the base. Slice plums into wedges, dis­card­ing the stones. Pack plums on to the shortcake and bake for 30–35 min­utes or un­til done. Cool shortcake in the tin. If plums are a lit­tle tart, you can dust them with a lit­tle ic­ing sugar. Serve with a dol­lop of thick cream or Greek yo­ghurt.

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