Pershore Plums

This eighteenth-century recipe from a manor house in the Pershore district is referred to as a special summer treat. It is a celestial late summer dish, but the plums must be freestone varieties and ripe but firm.

Ingredients

  • lb (¾ kg) red plums (Victorias are very good)
  • lb (¾ kg) yellow plums (true greengages or Coe’s Golden Drops are good)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup (180 g) castor sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 g) blanched almonds
  • ¾ cup (90 g) shelled walnuts
  • cups (3 dl) double cream, whipped just to hold a peak

Method

Halve the plums lengthways and remove the stones. Butter a very large, shallow dish (a baking tray lined with foil can be used but earthenware or oven glassware is better).

Lay out the plum halves in close rows, cut sides upwards, red at one end and yellow at the other.

Take pinches of nutmeg and cinnamon and sprinkle a very little on each half, and then sprinkle thickly with two-thirds of the sugar. Put in a moderate oven, 325°F (170°C, Gas Mark 3), and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.

Take the dish out and drop an almond or a walnut into each plum half, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, cool and then put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Put a good spoonful of whipped cream on each plum and serve.

,