How familiar are you with the collected works of Enid Blyton? If you’re considering choosing the English writing powerhouse as a Mastermind topic, I’d think again. She churned out hundreds and hundreds of books, short stories and other pieces during her lifetime – that’s a lot of Faraway Trees, Naughtiest Girls and Famous Fives, among others. Wikipedia says she’s the seventh-best-selling fiction author of all time, with an estimated 600 million copies sold. (In case you still want to refresh your memory, the Enid Blyton Society should be able to answer your every query.)
Many of her works seem hopelessly outdated now, reflecting the morals (and quite frankly, sexist and racist attitudes) of another time, but they still capture children’s imaginations with their adult-free adventures. Most recently I’ve been reacquainting myself with the boarding school stories (the St Clares’ and Malory Towers series’), in which midnight feasts, pranks and being sent to Coventry all feature frequently.
The midnight feasts all involve secret stashes of tinned goodies like condensed milk, pineapple and sardines (sometimes eaten together, such is the desperate creativity of the boarding school pupil) and bottles of ‘pop’. I’m not sure I could stay awake long enough for a midnight feast these days but if I was planning one based on tinned food I’d make sure to include Black Doris plums. Can’t you imagine slurping them down with a splash of condensed milk, perhaps with a slice of ginger cake from Janet’s aunt?
If your tastes are somewhat more adult and respectable, you might like to try the plums in this pudding. A clafoutis is a simple French pudding, traditionally made with cherries. I won’t tell them that we’re bending the rules if you don’t.
BLACK DORIS PLUM AND COCONUT CLAFOUTIS
It should go without saying that any leftovers are delicious cold for breakfast. If you like, reserve the syrup and heat it up to pour over the finished pudding when serving.
- 1 x 800g tin Black Doris plums, drained and stones removed
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons caster sugar
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup coconut cream (I use the Ayam brand, which comes in a 270g tin)
- 50g white chocolate, roughly chopped (optional)
- Icing sugar, for dusting
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a shallow ovenproof dish (like a 25cm enamel pie plate) and set aside.
Put the eggs, vanilla, sugar, flour and coconut cream in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and pour into the prepared dish. Push the plums down into the batter and scatter over the white chocolate (if using).
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and set in the middle. Leave for five minutes, then dust with icing sugar and serve in wedges with a dollop of coconut yoghurt or cream.