Scotland’s sorry excuse for the sunny bit in the middle of the year is over. The leaves are already pretty brown, the mornings are becoming ever-harder to face and the pub’s outdoor seating is back into storage, unused. The end of summer brings with it a glut of awesome fruit. Unless you’re a telly chef with your own personal orchard, it means loads of reduced stuff in the supermarket. Plums especially come into their own at this time. This recipe can make use of any plums, ripe or unripe, meaning you can take advantage of the best supermarket deals. Because they can be quite acidic, they do require a few wee changes to a standard muffin recipe. A perfect muffin means you have to balance the acidity of the ingredients with a little bicarb, giving you a superb rise and light final muffin.
First, preheat your oven to 190C/180C fan/gas 5. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases, or grease it with plenty of butter.
Into a large bowl, weigh your egg, milk, oil and caster sugar. Mix these together until they are combined – smooth, but not light and fluffy.
Add your flour, baking powder and bicarb, and fold it in very gently. Once the flour is mostly mixed, de-stone and chop your plums into a small roughly 1cm pieces, and add these in as well. Use only a few strokes of your spoon to finish the mixing. Your mix should still be lumpy.
Transfer your mixture into your muffin tins, trying your best to evenly distribute the filling. Bake your muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until they are springy when pressed and golden brown on top.
As your muffins cool, make your caramelly plumy topping. Halve and de-stone your remaining six plums, and place these in a saucepan with your sugar and butter. Heat this gently over a low-medium heat – you can mix gently and add a teaspoon of water if it begins to burn.
Once your plums are on the verge of falling apart, spoon and halve on to each muffin, and serve. They will keep for about a day or two before turning dry.
My caramelly stewed plums are simple but you might find that riper plums fall apart easily. If yours are very soft, dust the half plums with icing sugar and put them under the grill until golden.