Back in the 18th century, Sir William Gage planted some French plum trees at Hengrave Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, without knowing exactly what type of fruit to expect. The plums turned out to be green and became known as the green Gage's plum, which eventually became shortened to greengage. They are sweet, oval and yellowy-green with a good flavour and are in season late August and early September.
serves 4 - 6
175 g (6 oz) plain wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
75 g (3 oz) butter
25 g (1 oz) toasted hazelnuts, very finely chopped
15 ml (1 tbsp) soft light brown sugar
450 g (1 lb) greengages or plums, halved and stoned
300 ml (10 fl oz) fresh single cream caster sugar (optional)
1. To make the pastry, put the flour and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the hazelnuts and sugar and enough water to bind the mixture together.
2. Knead lightly on a lightly greased floured surface, then roll out and use to line a greased 20.5 cm (8 inch) fluted flan dish or tin. Bake blind at 200°C (400°F) mark 6 for 10 - 15 minutes, until set.
3. Arrange the fruit, cut side down, in the pastry case. Beat the eggs with the cream and a little sugar, if liked, and pour over the fruit. Bake at 200°C (400°F) mark 6 for 30-40 minutes, until golden and puffy. Serve warm.