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Mellow Fruitfulness

Inspirational recipes for using the finest of our autumn fruit 

As the summer draws to a close, autumn welcomes in new seasonal fruits that grow abundantly in the UK. Orchard fruit such as apples, pears and plums, as well as blackberries that have continued to ripen on hedgerows since August. 

Orchards are a fundamental (many would argue essential) component of the rural British landscape, so it’s distressing to discover that for the past half-century they’ve been in steady decline, with an estimated loss in area of 60 per cent nationally since 1950, and with some counties, such as Devon, seeing losses of up to 90 per cent. 

So why not shout about buying local British fruit from our native glut this autumn, and celebrate the traditional pleasures of fruit from British trees and hedgerows with some of our favourite recipes below. From classic, hearty crumbles, spiced compotes and moist cakes, you can rely on Maws for all the baking and dessert-making ingredients your kitchen needs. 

 

Autumnal Fruit Crumble 

All the classic flavours of English autumn are luxuriously combined with the addition of champagne and a splash of whisky, while the crumble topping is given extra rich, earthy notes with the incorporation of crushed toasted hazelnuts in this chef’s favourite. 

INGREDIENTS (Serves 12) 

Pears (2 whole) 

Plums (3 whole) 

Apples (2 whole) 

Caster sugar 50g 

Water 500 ml 

Champagne 500 ml 

Whisky 250 ml 

Blackberries 50g 

Icing sugar 25g 

Plain flour 225g 

Unsalted butter 160 g

Caster sugar 175g 

Oat flakes 50g 

Whole hazelnuts 50g 

METHOD 

1: Bring the champagne, water, sugar and whisky to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Wash the blackberries then toss through the icing sugar. Peel the apples and pears and cut in half, remove the core then cut each half into three. Add to the gently simmering liquor. Cut the plums in half, remove the stone and cut in half again. Allow the apples and pears to poach in the liquor for 10-15 minutes before adding the plums. After 5 minutes remove from the heat and add the blackberries. Stir and allow to cool in the liquor. 

2: Preheat oven to 180'C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, crush in a pestle and mortar leaving some texture to the nuts. Whisk the butter and sugar until pale and fold into the flour until well incorporated. Fold in the crushed hazelnuts. Add the oats and gently fold together. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir to break up the crumble. Return to the oven and carry on cooking until golden brown. Allow to cool. 

3: Place the apple and pears on one side of a large round plate with the plums nestled in amongst them. Make sure you leave a small gap between the edge of the plate and the fruit. Tuck the blackberries around the other fruit making sure all colours are on show. Place a neat pile of hazelnut crumble opposite the fruit with a quenelle of clotted cream next to that. Drizzle the poached fruit liquor liberally in between the fruit, cream and crumble. 


Rice Pudding With Plum Compote 

The comforting milky sweetness of soft rice is perfect for darker evening with a bite in the air, and even better when complemented by the tart warmth of plums. British plums are loose stones, so cook quickly and their natural balance of sweetness, tartness and scent make them perfect for taking strong spices; ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, even mild chilli. 

INGREDIENTS (Serves 8) 

Pudding rice 300g 

Full cream milk 1000ml 

Condensed milk 400ml 

Green cardamom (12 pods) 

Cloves (8 whole) 

Long pepper 4 pods (optional) 

Ripe plums (24 whole) 

Light muscovado sugar 100g 

Lemon (2 whole) 

METHOD 

 1: Put the rice into a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan with 500ml of water and bring to the boil. Watch carefully until the water has evaporated, then pour in the milk. Stir in the condensed milk. Crack the cardamom pods with a pestle, ensuring the seeds remain inside. As the liquid returns to the boil, add them, together with the cloves and the long pepper. Lower the heat and let it simmer for a further 15 minutes, or until the rice is soft and creamy. 

2: Meanwhile cook the plums: halve and stone the fruits and put them in a saucepan with the sugar. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice into the plums. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover partially with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes until the plums are soft, almost to the point of collapse. 

3: Ladle the warm rice into dishes, removing cardamom, cloves and pepper as you go, then spoon over the plums and their garnet-red juices. 


Chocolate And Marzipan Pear Tatin 

Another simple, deliciously sweet and satisfy autumnal dessert, this time employing wonderful culinary versatility of pears. As with red wine, chocolate is a classic pear pairing, and in this tasty traditional tartin, marzipan is also used to add depth with extra almond sweetness. 

INGREDIENTS (serves 12) 

Dark chocolate (we recommend Callebaut Plain Chocolate Shaving) 

160g Good quality marzipan 400g 

Caster sugar 200g 

Conference pears, unpeeled, quartered and cored (8 whole) 

Unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes, 80g 

All-butter puff pastry, 750g block 

Plain flour (for dusting) 

METHOD 

1: Heat and oven to 220°C, 220°C for fan, gas mark 7. Knead chocolate into the marzipan until both are blended together evenly, then wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge until required. 

2: Heat a large tatin dish or large ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add the sugar. Evenly melt the sugar and continue to heat until it forms a reddish-brown caramel (approx. 5-8mins). Then add the pears and butter in an even distributed layer. Cook the pears in the caramel for a further minute then remove from heat. 

3: Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until roughly 8mm thick then cut into a circle. Roughly tear off and flatten pieces of the chilled chocolate marzipan mixture. Scatter them over the pears, then top with the pastry circle and tuck the edges gently down around the fruit at the sides. Bake for 30mins or until pastry is cooked golden, the caramel is bubbling and the pears are tender. Allow to cool for 5mins then carefully invert onto a plate, slice and serve with cream, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream .