It’s finally cherry season! Yes, July is the perfect month for fresh, ripe cherries and everywhere I look punnets are being sold at low, low prices. So today’s thrifty recipe is for a cherry and plum crumble, and as it only uses a handful of cherries, you could probably get 3 or 4 crumbles out of a small £1 punnet of cherries! Not only is it seasonal and delicious, it’s a bargain recipe too!I often find that plums are reduced on market stalls and in supermarkets; they are rock-hard for so long and then suddenly ripen overnight, so they are often marked down so that retailers don’t get left with a truck-load of mushy plums. I usually wait until this happens before buying my plums, as we are going to cook them and make them even more soft and mushy anyway! It’s a great way of getting enough plums for a dessert for less than £1 – and a punnet of plums will also probably make 2 or 3 crumbles. Together with the cherries, you can bake a few crumbles and freeze a couple for later in the year – thrifty and you can continue to enjoy this delicious summer dish into autumn.Ingredients for a 4-person filling: a total of 350g fruit comprising a handful of cherries and about 5 plums, 100ml cherry juice (or normal apple juice would be fine), 50g sugar to taste.
Ingredients for a 2-person crumble topping: 50g margarine or slightly softened butter, 100g self-raising flour, 50g sugar.
Stone the plums by cutting in half or quarters to remove the stone in the centre. Pit the cherries by poking a chopstick or straw into the centre and wiggling it through until the pit pops out the other side. Lightly simmer these in a small pan with the cherry juice for a couple of minutes. Taste the fruit mixture as it begins to soften to see whether you need to add some sugar. It really depends on how ripe the plums are and your own preference! When the sugar has dissolved but the fruit is not yet mushy transfer it to an oven dish ready for the crumble topping.In a large mixing bowl add the margarine to the self-raising flour and rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir through – and if you want to add any other spices, such as ginger (cinnamon works great with an apple crumble), you can add it into the crumble mix at this point.Grease around the top of the oven dish with a little butter and then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the fruit and add a little extra sugar if desired. I actually grated a little marzipan on top of my crumble, as I think that marzipan and cherries is a killer combination!Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the top is golden. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or custard. Summer in a bowl! Let me know if you have a go at baking this crumble recipe and I’d love to see photos of your finished desserts so please tweet me any pics to @Cassiefairy.