Plum, sloe gin and hazelnut cobbler
Plums and sloe gin are such a great pairing; add a crumbly hazelnut cobbler topping and you know it’s going to taste pretty good, but when this came out of the oven, the plums deep magenta and the cobbler golden and puffed up, it looked and tasted even better than I had imagined. It’s taken over from crumble as my go-to autumn pudding. The plums are great too just stewed with the sloe gin and eaten with yoghurt.
60ml sloe gin
the seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2–4 tablespoons honey, to taste
FOR THE TOPPING
50g hazelnuts (skin on or off)
100g white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g raw cane sugar
100g unsalted butter, chilled
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
a pinch of flaky sea salt
crème fraîche, yoghurt or ice cream
Preheat the oven to 240oC/220oC fan/gas 9. Cut the plums in half and remove their stones. Put the plums into a saucepan with the sloe gin and vanilla and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat for 20–30 minutes, until the plums are soft and the liquid has thickened.
Meanwhile, make the cobbler topping. Blitz the hazelnuts in the food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs, then add the flour, baking powder and sugar and pulse a couple of times to combine everything. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the food processor with the thyme and salt. Blitz again until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of water and pulse again until it comes together as a firm dough.
Butter a 20cm baking dish and spoon the plums into the bottom. Drizzle over the honey and use a tablespoon to dollop the dough on top, leaving a few gaps in the topping so the juices can bubble through. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, until the cobbler topping has risen and is deep golden. Top with a few more hazelnuts if you like, and serve with crème fraîche and a swirl of honey or some ice cream.