|Our neighbor's loquats|
We don't really do anything for the plums, they just grow and drop. The plums are about the size and color of a cherry tomato and they are sweet-tart. They are too small to do too much with so we occasionally snack on them, but usually they feed the birds. What I really love about them is the early Spring blooms, pale pink and white and just lovely.
The loquat branches drop over our side fence. The loquats taste like an apricot crossed with a lychee with a firmer texture and a slightly astringent skin. There is not a lot of flesh on each fruit. Inside are two large seeds. We don't get too many of these, since after all the tree is on the other side of the fence.
Unlike the plums, they are freestones so they are easier to eat or use in recipes. The fruit bruises easily and you rarely see it commercially available. I've had a great loquat vinegar (by Lulu, I think), other than that I don't know of any processed foods using them.
I have a soft spot for loquats because my sons attended a preschool with a loquat tree in the yard and they would come home splattered with loquat juice thrilled by the experience of picking and eating them.
|Backyard plums swaying in breeze|
The clafoutis (pronounced without the final s) recipe is very adaptable and can be made with any other fruit. I frequently use cherries (easiest if you skip the pitting) or berries.
It's a nice brunch dish or dessert on it's own or try serving it with ice cream and or whipped cream (vegan or not).
2 Tbs. oil, plus extra for greasing pan
1 lb. fresh Italian prune plums or other small, sweet plums (about 20)
1 cup flour
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup unflavored, unsweetened almond milk
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8” x 12” baking pan. Halve and pit the prunes and place evenly, cut side up, on bottom of prepared baking pan.
Stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. In large bowl mix eggs, almond milk, almond extract and vanilla extract until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg one, whisking well until very smooth. Pour over plums. Bake for 50-60 minutes until firm and golden. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.