The season for plums and damsons is relatively short-lived, and for me, marks a turning point in my cookery year. Simmering damsons for jam or making a spiced, honeyed plum cake reminds me that summer is inevitably turning gently into autumn. It’s a time of softer light and colour. It’s a time for warmer, kinder cooking, it’s a season that seems to always bring an air of calm to my kitchen.
- 400g plums or damsons
- 1 fresh vanilla pod
- 2 tablespoons runny honey, plus extra to taste
- 1 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 175g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ orange, finely grated zest
- 40g golden caster sugar
- A pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 egg
- 100ml milk
- 1 tablespoon runny honey, plus extra to serve
- 1 large knob of butter, plus extra to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C Fan/ Gas Mark 6
- Halve the plums and remove the stones. If they are stubborn, use the tip of the knife to tease them out.
- Place the plum halves into a small roasting dish with 2 tablespoons of water. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the black seeds and add these to the plums. Tumble the plums around the dish to disperse the vanilla.
- Split the pod halves again and add these to the plums too. Trickle over the runny honey then roughly bash the star anise and add this to the plums along with the bay leaves.
- Place the dish in the preheated oven and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the plums are beginning to collapse and are sweet and fragrant.
- To make the drop scone batter, place the flour into a large mixing bowl with the baking powder, orange zest, sugar and salt. Crack in the egg, then add the milk and honey. Use a whisk to combine fully.
- Melt the butter on the non-stick crêpe pan over a medium heat. Then, pour most of the bubbling butter into the drop scone batter and stir it through to combine thoroughly.
- One by one, add 4 generous tablespoons of batter to the pan to make four individual pools of batter. Cook them for 1-2 minutes, until the undersides are golden, then use a small spatula to flip each drop scone over and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes until that side is golden too.
- Place the cooked drop scones onto a plate or board while you cook the remaining batter.
- Serve the scones warm with heaped spoons of the vanilla-roasted plums and an extra trickle of runny honey for good measure. These are also great with a serving of rich natural yoghurt on the side.