Weekend Bake: Plum, Blackberry and Bay Friand Bake with Homemade Custard

This weekend was one filled with loveliness. On Friday night, my partner and I went out for a meal at one of our favourite restaurants as I recently turned 30 and had generously received a voucher as a gift from his parents. Saturday morning was filled with bouncing around to upbeat tunes in Zumba – me, not him – followed by champagne afternoon tea for the both of us (via home for a shower and costume change of course), the latter another lovely gift from friends for our engagement last year.

With plenty of food in our bellies we woke up on Sunday morning and headed to an escape room, one of the ideas I had pulled from the date jar we set up last Christmas. It was so much fun, and genuinely quite terrifying at points, but we managed to escape with just a few minutes to spare! Sunday afternoon we drove to see some friends in a lovely little nearby village and I had offered to bring dessert.

I have been baking lots of new things lately, and with the dark nights closing in I wanted something warming and comforting, so chose Ottolenghi’s Blackberry and Plum Friand Bake from his cookbook Simple, which is essentially my cooking bible.

However, the friand bake required four large egg whites, and I didn’t want the yolks to go to waste, so I decided to attempt homemade custard for the first time. Or crème anglaise, if you’ve been watching this series of the Great British Bake Off and you’re feeling particularly fancy. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food, which is my go-to site for many recipes, both savoury and sweet.

I am delighted to report that both were a resounding success, and went down a treat. Both recipes were surprisingly easy, and I would absolutely encourage you to give them a go. The resulting combination is sweet and hearty, but balanced beautifully by the bay leaves. The recipe calls for fresh, but I wasn’t able to get hold of any and used dried, which were equally good. Just make sure you warn the recipients to remove them before eating!

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