Polly (Login Pollyuk) The Frugalista Files Posted Feb 28, 2012 8:41 AM
I have tried it with other fruits too - equally good
6-8large plums, halved and stoned
125g caster sugar, plus extra for the plums
About 1/2 loaf of slightly stale white bread
25g softened unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod
500ml double cream
200ml full cream milk
2 egg yolks
1.Lay the plum halves cut side up in an ovenproof dish and place 1/2 teaspoon of caster sugar in the centre of each one. Bake in a fairly hot oven (200°C/gas 6) for 15 -20 mins, until they are tender and the juices have run. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
2.Cut the crusts off the bread and cut it into slices that roughly correspond to the depth of the ovenproof dish you have chosen for the pudding: when laid in the dish at a slight angle from the vertical, the slices should come close to or level with the top. Spread the slices with the butter, then use any leftover butter to grease the dish.
3.Split the vanilla pod open lengthways and place it in a pan with the cream and milk. Bring them almost to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar together until they are thoroughly blended.
4.Remove the vanilla pod from the hot cream mixture (you can rinse it, wrap it in clingfilm and use it again), then pour the cream over the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time, until you have a thin but smooth and well-blended custard. (If you're in a hurry or you just simply want to make life easier, you can omit the vanilla pod and then you don't have to scald the cream and milk: simply whisk cold into the eggs and sugar.)
5.Arrange the buttered bread slices in your greased dish - if possible, at an angle somewhere between vertical and 45 degrees. Place the roasted plum halves between the bread slices, trying to distribute them fairly evenly throughout the pudding. Plug any glaring gaps by cutting leftover bread slices to fit; your dish should end up full but not overcrammed. Any syrupy juices from the dish in which the plums were baked can be poured over at this stage.
6.Bake in the over for 30-40 mins.
The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, published by Collins, priced at £17.99 in paperback