If it is your turn to host the annual family Christmas lunch, cue the big, festive tree with flashing lights, gold and silver tinsel, red charger plates and Father Christmas themed serviettes. And then cue your grandmother reserving her prime place at the table for what she demands – roast turkey with all the trimmings. And then cue all the other family members and their whims and desires and you begin to sigh wistfully about introducing something less traditional but still as cheery and delicious.
Enter stoned fruit and your wishes are granted. Peaches, nectarines and plums are all in season – they’re colourful, locally grown, and definitely worthy of some celebration themselves. So take a side-step from some of the tradition and try your hand at some of these beauties:
1) South African Peachy Plum Parma Bites
Perfect for an appetizer and these smart nibbles are good for you too
Preparation time: 10 minutes
2 South African peaches or nectarines
4 South African plums
100g ricotta cheese
8 slices Parma ham, cut in half
Handful of rocket
Freshly ground black pepper
- Pit and thickly slice the peaches or nectarines, then halve and pit the plums.
- Top each piece of fruit with a dollop of ricotta cheese, then top with a piece of Parma ham and a sprig of rocket.
- Season with black pepper and serve with extra rocket on the side.
- Cook’s tips: South African apricots are perfect in this recipe too – simply cut them in half and remove their stones.
2) South African Queen of Plum Puddings
Enjoy this gorgeous easy-to-make pudding with its layer of simmered South African plums.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Suitable for vegetarians
6 South African plums
60g caster sugar
Pinch ground mixed spice
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
400ml semi-skimmed milk
1tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
- Halve, pit and slice the plums. Put them into a saucepan with 20g of the sugar, the mixed spice and 100ml water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Leave to cool.
- Grease a 1 litre baking dish with half the butter. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the dish.
- Heat the milk with the remaining butter and vanilla extract until lukewarm. Remove from the heat and add half the remaining sugar (20g), stirring to dissolve it. Pour into the baking dish. Add the beaten egg yolks and stir into the breadcrumbs. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/ Gas Mark 4.
- Bake the pudding for 20-25 minutes, until set. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then spoon the plums over the surface.
- Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl until they hold their shape, then add the remaining sugar, whisking again until stiff and glossy. Pile on top of the pudding, then bake for a further 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Serve at once.
- Cook’s tips: This is a great recipe for making the most of bread that’s 2-3 days old. Remember, egg whites won’t whip if there is the slightest trace of grease in the bowl or on the beaters – and that includes egg yolk – so take care when separating the eggs.
These recipes and more are loaded on www.beautifulcountrybeautifulfruit.com
For more inspiration visit www.juicydelicious.co.za