July 20, 2023


A friend in the village has a tree loaded with very small plums and invited us to help ourselves.

I don’t know what variety they are but they’re about the size of a large cherry.

They are slightly sharp, not quite sweet enough to eat like cherries, but are excellent when cooked.  The only problem is the stones.  Plums make a delicious pudding but the stones take the edge off the pleasure of them I think and more so when the fruit is small and the number of stones even greater.  (I also love damsons but the zillions of little stones definitely spoil a damson pie or crumble for me!)

With over a pound of them in the bowl I decided to try using my pink cherry stoner. It worked a treat and I whistled through the whole bowlful in no time at all.  (I put the egg in the picture so you could gauge the size of the plums.)

I decided to use some of them for a favourite recipe by Mary Berry and the rest went into the freezer.

The base is made from slices of brioche and a basic ready sliced brioche loaf from the supermarket is ideal.  It creates a slightly cakey base that has a definite patisserie style to it.  (If a brioche loaf is not available you can use brioche finger rolls.)

The frangipane (almond) filling is quickly made using a food processor but a stick blender and mixing bowl would work.  Then you arrange the fruit on top as randomly or precisely as you fancy.

It looks good when it comes out of the oven but brushing it all over with melted apricot jam to give it a nice glaze is the finishing touch which definitely makes it look the business.  

I have made this recipe many times, or at least my own adaptation of it, using various different fruits.  It makes a great large dessert to feed a crowd and always goes down well.  Hence I make no apology for re-posting it and giving the recipe again.

Here are a few more versions:

I made it recently using apricots.

You can see how the brioche turns into a nice cakey base.

I made it with rhubarb, which you can see here.

It was very good when I accidentally made it upside down - see here.

It was delicious when I made it using apples as per Mary Berry's original recipe - see here.


4-5 slices of a brioche loaf
175g spreadable butter or baking spread
175g caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
150g ground almonds
3 eggs
50g plain flour
300-400g small plums, stoned and halved
2 tblsp apricot jam for glazing the pie


Preheat the oven to 200° C / 180° fan / gas mk 6.  Butter a large, shallow baking dish about 28cm dia.

Press slices of brioche into the bottom of the dish, filling in gaps but not overlapping.  (You could also use 5-6 brioche rolls, in which case slice off the top and bottom crusts then slice in half horizontally.)

Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and whizz until light and fluffy.  Add the extract, almonds, eggs and flour and whizz again until nice and smooth.  

Spread the mixture evenly over the brioche base and arrange the fruit on top.  

Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown and the centre is firm.  Warm the jam in a small saucepan to make it runny then brush it all over the top of the pie to glaze.  

Serve warm or at room temperature, with cream, ice cream or custard.

Cuts into 10-12 slices.


  1. Plums are a lovely fruit that are overlooked too often and this is a lovely way to serve them. The French do grow a lot of the smaller varieties and I've no idea what variety you have there, but I like the fact that you can often get them early in the season. I've yet to get around to trying the brioche base - I'm a fool to myself.

    1. Phil, the brioche base is a marvel and you owe it to yourself to try it!