I love cooking on that cusp of summer to autumn, and in culinary terms it’s definitely one of my favourite times of year. I regularly get gifted fruit from generous friends, and being given these lovely figs and plums was what led me to think of combining them in a slice once we’d eaten our fill of them fresh.
It’s not an obvious combination in some ways, but I find the incredible sweetness of figs when cooked is tempered beautifully by the tart plums, and the juiciness of the plums, collapsing almost to jam by the end of their baking, contrasts with the firmer figs – they’re really the perfect marriage!
The inspiration for this comes originally from Nigel Slater. I’ve commented before that Nigel Slater’s wonderful books Tender Vol I and II are so useful when dealing with piles of fruit (or vegetables), as they are completely focussed on the varied things you can do with the produce from your garden, but structured to talk about each ingredient individually. Need I say they are also an incredible read, with such evocative descriptions of gardens, fruits, flavours and scents…
You could certainly make this with just plums (as the original does), or just figs, but I urge you to try the combination if you get the chance. The proportions don’t matter terribly (as you can see above I had mostly plums this time) nor does ripeness; I’ve successfully used plums from firm slicing stage, to so ripe they’re little more than bags of juice. This is lovely warm, fantastic room temperature on a picnic, and also delicious the next day with some cream or yoghurt. Francesca, I hope you enjoy 🙂
Plum, fig and almond slice
Inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe in Tender Volume II
- 260g plain flour
- 100g almond meal/ground almonds
- 125g brown sugar
- 225g cold butter
- 300g plums approx
- 300g fresh figs approx
- 50g slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 180C. Stir together the flour, almond meal and sugar. Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until you get rough crumbs. Line a 22cm (9”) square tin with baking paper and tip in 2/3 of the crumbs, pressing gently into a mostly even layer.
Remove stones and stalks and quarter plums and figs, arranging over the base. Crumble over the remaining pastry with the slivered almonds. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Cool in the tin on a rack until lukewarm at least before slicing.
Makes 16 squares, and will last a few days in a airtight container at room temperature, though the topping will soften a bit.