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8 September 2015

Call me crazy, but this year I am ready for summer to be over. While the long evenings will be sorely missed, I felt much less sadness than usual packing away my shorts and sandals for another year.

American film plots always seem to resolve 'come Fall', and it's true that there's something truly comforting about the routine that Autumn brings. Rutland, my home county, is never more gorgeous than in the golden days of Autumn, and I'm yet to tire of crisp and bright London mornings. The grey bitterness of November arrives just in time to save me the embarrassment of singing "Autumn days" on my commute.

I barely need add that Autumn also brings with it a delightful justification to reintroduce stodgy home puddings into the fold. Bikini season is over, and I for one am already joyfully donning an elasticated waistband in anticipation of how many proper puddings I will be eating.

First up, a recipe to make the most of the last of the summer's cherries. 2015 was a fantastic year for cherries, and they are the perfect way to send summer off in style.

My recipe uses polenta to make the pud 100% {gluten free}, but you could easily top the fruit with regular wheat-flour dumplings or crumble. This would also be great with plums, apples, blackberries and pears, which are all coming into season this month.

What do you like to cook with in Autumn? 
250g cherries
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
100g polenta
200ml water
pinch salt
25g brown sugar
25g butter

Preheat your oven to 180C. Stone the cherries, then mix with the caster sugar, lemon juice, zest and kirsch and leave to marinade.

To make the polenta topping, put the polenta in a small pan with the water, salt and brown sugar. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is thick and grainy. Add the butter, mix through, and leave to cool for an hour.

Use your hands to form the polenta mixture into balls, and place on top of the cherries in an ovenproof dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the dumplings are golden. 

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