July 17, 2014


three fruit cobbler3 It has been a while since I baked anything.  Moving house is an all-consuming, full-on, exhausting activity.  Especially when, even though we had disposed of an awful lot of our belongings and put at least half of our furniture and other stuff into store, we still have too much to fit comfortably into our new house.

The new house has a brand new kitchen.  I managed to stop myself from laughing when the (very) young man who showed us round it said everything was “top of the range”.  Brand new it certainly was, top of the range it most definitely wasn’t.  Good quality but very basic is the way I would describe it.

Nick absolutely hates the hob and oven.  The hob is a very basic induction model, which is, to say the least, taking some getting used to.  The oven is a very basic fan oven.  So basic that the thermostat has very few temperature markings on it.  It goes from 150 – 175 - 200° with nothing in between.  So setting the oven temperature is a bit of a guesstimate.   Consequently I haven’t felt much inclined to bake a cake, although cooking of sorts has been going on.  You can only live on take-aways for so long.

three fruit cobbler4

After two weeks and a bit of climbing over cardboard boxes and assembling flat pack furniture we abandoned ship and headed for our little holiday home in France for a break.  And also to begin the next phase of our adventure, house-hunting in France.

(In case anyone needs reminding, we have downsized in the UK in order to upsize in France.  Phase one is complete.)  Within days of being chez nous all the trials and tribulations of moving house and new kitchens had been completely forgotten.  This is good.  We needed to remind ourselves of exactly why we were doing this. 

One of the things I find really touching in our little corner of rural France is how gifts of food are so freely given.  Friends will give us armfuls of home grown fruit and veg when we visit.  We regularly open the front door to find flowers or veg on the doorstep, left there by our neighbour Mme André.

One day last week we went for dinner with some friends to the hotel in the village and with coffee were served tiny red plums instead of chocolates.  A discussion about the plums followed and the manager assured us they were mirabelles, from a tree in the hotel courtyard.  I always thought mirabelles were yellow.

Anyhow, we finished our coffee and headed out into the deserted lobby.  After a few minutes the back door burst open and the manager and the waitress appeared with big grins on their faces and a huge bag of the little plums.  “Surprise – cadeaux !!” they said.

I made a crumble and a clafoutis with some of them and with the remainder I made a three fruit cobbler.  I used about 300g plums, two dessert apples and a handful of strawberries that were slightly past their best.  I also added about 75g marzipan, cut into small cubes.

three fruit cobbler2

It was delicious.  My feeling is that the little plums are not quite as sweet as the yellow mirabelles I have had before, more like a cooking plum than a dessert plum.  Whatever they are, they’re very good in a crumble, clafoutis or cobbler !!

three fruit cobbler 


For the fruit filling

300g small plums, halved and stoned

2 dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped

a few strawberries, hulled and halved

75g marzipan, cubed

100g granulated sugar

For the topping

80g cold butter, diced

200g self raising flour

100g caster sugar

100ml crème fraîche

50ml milk

a handful of flaked almonds


Put the plums and apples in a medium saucepan with a splash of water and heat gently until softened.  Stir in the sugar.

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 170° fan / gas mk 5.

Put the flour and butter into a food processor and process to breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and process briefly to combine.  Add the liquids and process to make a soft dough.

Tip the fruit into a suitable greased baking dish or tin.  Distribute the strawberries and marzipan amongst the fruit.

Dollop dessert spoonfuls of the topping mixture on top and sprinkle the flaked almonds over.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is browned and firm and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm with cream, ice cream, custard or crème fraîche.

Serves 6-8


  1. oh my word YES!... and look at those little plums... how cute are they. I love stuff like this but i'm a bit odd cos I would put it in the fridge and eat it with lashings of cream!

    1. Dom, I wouldn't say odd. Out of the ordinary perhaps!

  2. They are not mirabelles! I reckon they are damsons or maybe even bullaces. I once had a bullace tree in my garden; I made the best jam _ever_ with those. I still remember it fondly ... sadly we only lived in that house for a year.

    1. Veronica, I think damsons are smaller and darker than these plums. Damson jam is heavenly.
      When I met Nick he lived in a house with a fabulous Victoria plum tree and the year he sold it the crop was amazing. I really miss those plums!

  3. I agree with Veronica. They are not mirabelles. I reckon they are probably plums from a tree grown from a seed. They tend to have small round plums that can be yellow, orangey -pink or dark red like this, and not overly sweet, but make great cooking plums. They are everywhere on the side of the roads and edges of the forest, dropping their fruit at the moment.

    1. Susan, there is another tree further up our street with the same plums. Nobody is picking them, they just fall to the ground.
      It seems such a waste, when people are paying good money for plums on the market and these plums were really tasty.

  4. Wow - how delicious! Glad all is sort of going smoothly - I know your feeling about inadequate cookers...

  5. This looks lovely. I don't make enough cobblers. (Although I have been known to talk it). Friends of mine who live in France have a tree in their garden producing very similar looking plums but they don't know what they are either. They make great jam, though. Best of luck with the house hunt.

  6. Goodness, what an awful lot you have on your plate but what exciting plans! I love reading the French tales and stories, what kind neighbours you have. Lovely pud too!

  7. I have about 6 trees of those plums, they are wonderful. I don't eat them like that so much, I cook them with a little sugar (no water), then pass them through a sieve with the back of a ladle; taking out all the pips and skins etc. I then freeze the resulting sauce in small cheap plastic cups; it's wonderful with yog or fromage frais etc.

    They are NOT mirabelles. Plant a pip, they grow v easily.

    1. Hi Cro, fancy you turning up here!
      I will go up the hill after dark when everyone is in bed, all the shutters are closed and the bats have gone to bed, and gather a few of these gorgeous little plums from the tree that nobody seems to bother with, and plant a stone or two.
      I would really like a tree of these plums, they're delicious and I'll take your word for it that they're easy to grow.

  8. This looks good - I love fruit cobblers. Those little plums sound interesting.