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I love to cook plums, and this slice, which could come under the category of pie, works a treat: crisp, buttery pastry filled with creamy sweet and tart plums is my idea of perfection.
500g plums, halved and stones removed
1 Tbsp water400g puff pastry
250g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
½ orange, zest only
4 Tbsp cane sugar, divided
½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 large egg, separated
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Put the halved plums in a heavy-based saucepan and add 50g sugar and 1 Tbsp water. Cook gently until the plums just start to soften (5-7minutes). Cool.
Roll the cold puff pastry out on a lightly floured bench so that it resembles a rectangle 30cm by 25cm about 3mm thick.
On a large baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, a silicone baking mat or foil, lay out the puff pastry, which should be cold but pliable.
In a small mixing bowl add together the softened cream cheese, 1 Tbsp sugar, orange zest, vanilla, egg yolk and flour and beat well to combine until thick and smooth. Scrape this mixture out on to the centre-third portion of the puff pastry down the middle and spread it evenly, leaving the two outer thirds bare.
Spoon over the cooled cooked plums and carefully spread them over the cream cheese layer.
This next step sounds more complicated than it is. Fold one side of the pastry over the cream cheese and plum mixture so that it covers it completely. Then fold the other half of the pastry over the pastry-encrusted plums so that it goes right over the pastry. Pull slightly to tuck the end under the entire pastry. Press down on the ends of the long rectangular pastry to seal in the cream cheese and jam.
Whisk the egg white together with 1 teaspoon water just a little to combine. Brush this over the entire pastry. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly and generously over the egg washed pastry. Use a thin, sharp knife to cut little vents along the dough.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190degC. Bake the pastry till puffed and golden for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160degC and continue cooking for a further 10-15minutes or until the pastry is cooked through.Cut into slices and serve warm.
• Alison Lambert, chef at the Otago Farmers Market, will be demonstrating this recipe at the market on Saturday morning.