Hurry, while the damsons last. Their intense, tart flavour is unique. We're working our way through a compote - damsons simmered in sugared water until very soft, pushed through a sieve, and frozen in a Tupperware container. We warm up chunks of it, and eat it with a little cream or ice cream.
The following recipe comes, as do many of the pudding dishes on this blog, from Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookery Book (Grub Street). I quickly gave up the idea of stoning the damsons: most of the flesh adheres to the stones. So we had to pick out the stones as we ate.
It is difficult to rub butter efficiently into a mix of flour, oats and sugar. I ended up with a mixture that looked a bit like roughly ground hazelnuts. No matter.
This quantity served six at the end of a largish meal. It would be about right for four hungrier people.
115g brown sugar
55g porridge oats
25g plain flour
Pinch ground cinnamon
Put the damsons in a buttered oven dish, sprinkle over half the sugar, and scatter over about 60ml of water.
In a bowl, mix the rest of the sugar, the oats, flour, and cinnamon. Rub in the butter. Do not worry about the lumpy texture.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the damsons, and bake in a mark 5/190C oven for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the crumble is crunchy.