plum, sloe gin and hazelnut cobbler

Plums and sloe gin are such a great pairing - add a crumbly hazelnut cobbler topping and you know it's going to taste pretty good, but when this first came out of the oven, the plums a deep magenta and the cobbler golden and puffed up, it looked and tasted even better than I had imagined. It's taken over from crumble as my go-to autumn pudding. The plums are also great just stewed with the sloe gin and eaten with yoghurt.

serves 4

900g plums, halved and stones removed
60m1 sloe gin
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla paste
2-4 tbsp honey, to taste

for the topping
50g hazelnuts (skin on or or
100g white spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g raw cane sugar (use light brown sugar if you can't find any)
100g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

to serve
crème fraîche, yoghurt or ice cream

Heat the oven to 220C (non-fan 240C). Place the plums in a saucepan with the sloe gin and vanilla and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the plums are soft and the liquid has thickened.

Meanwhile, make the cobbler topping. Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs, then add the flour, baking powder and sugar and pulse a couple of times to combine. Now add the cubes of butter with the thyme and a pinch of sea salt flakes. Blitz again, until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Add 1 tbsp water and pulse again, until it comes together as a firm dough.

Butter a 20cm baking dish and spoon the plums into the bottom. Drizzle over the honey and use a tablespoon to dollop the dough on top, leaving a few gaps so the juices can bubble through.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the cobbler has risen and is a deep golden colour. Top with more hazelnuts if you like, and serve with crème fraîche with a swirl of honey, or yoghurt or ice cream.

The Sunday Times Magazine