22 February 2011

Caramelised Plum & Nectarine Sponge, with Amaretto

Photograph by our son
Having been sent the lovely gift box of South African stone fruit from Red Communications, my mind immediately set to with regard to the best way of using them - apart from just eating the lot there and then, of course.  Which, I have got to tell you, was sorely tempting.

I pondered on fools, and tarts, and pies - but nothing really said "yes!" until I considered doing a sponge dessert for after our Sunday dinner.

Although they are all delicious, I didn't want to venture into steamed sponge pudding land (as I can't but help thinking that this is a dangerous road to travel, being such a short hop to syrup sponge pudding), so I began thinking along the baked sponge line - and upside-down cake in particular.

I used to make a seriously nice upside down cake using pineapple, but had stopped because they were just so huge, we'd spend all week eating the stuff.  Which was nice in a way - but seriously bad for our expanding waistlines.

So, upside-down cake it was, using plums (one of which tasted so much like bubblegum it was incredible) and white flesh nectarines.  However, how to provide enough juice to make the cake luscious and moist, and what flavouring to use in the sponge to make it interesting?

Answer?  Hubby's Amaretto.  Now he swears it isn't HIS Amaretto, but I'm sure at Christmas I heard him say he would be fighting off all comers who had intentions of getting near HIS Amaretto.  *chuckle*

So, the end result is slices of nectarine and plum fried off in a blindingly hot pan with a little butter and teensy bit of oil until they colour.  Then add some sugar and let it caramelise, then let the whole thing down with a splash of Amaretto - and include 3 tbsp of Amaretto in the sponge mix.  Completely and utterly gorgeous, both hot and cold two days later.


Ingredients :

1 knob of butter
1 tsp flavourless vegetable oil
1 large deep red plum, halved, stoned and cut into sixths
1 large nectarine, halved, stoned and cut into sixths
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp Amaretto + 3 tbsp Amaretto for the sponge
110g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
110g butter (room temperature) or soft margarine
90g caster sugar
2 large eggs

Method :

1.  Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan until sizzling and drop the fruit in gently.  Do not stir, just allow each slice to colour and then turn and do the other side.  It's important that the pan is hot, or the fruit will stew - and you don't want that.  The whole process just takes a few seconds.

2.  Add the sugar and toss the fruit while the sugar melts and caramelises, then add the Amaretto and toss the fruit to coat.  Pour the fruit and the sauce into the base of your baking tin, arrange the fruit prettily and put to one side while you make the sponge.

3.  This sponge couldn't be any easier.  Place all ingredients (bar the fruit) into a bowl and whisk until well incorporated.

4.  Pour over the top of the fruit and level the surface gently.  Then put into the oven to bake for 25-30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.

5.  Allow to cool slightly and turn out onto a serving dish.  Don't let it cool too much, or the caramel will be too sticky to turn out.

Serve with double cream.


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