If you’re lucky, like me, to have plum trees in your garden, you’ll occasionally end up with a surfeit to enable you to make this rather unusual dish. Unusual in that it’s a chilled soup as a dessert but it’s a doddle to make. In this recipe we’ve used a vanilla pod. If you can’t get your hands on one, you could use a few drops of vanilla extract but please, don’t use anything called vanilla flavouring. It just won’t have the same effect.
Seven ripe plums – halved and stoned
A handful of caster sugar
One vanilla pod
Zest and juice of one orange
One tablespoon of honey
First make a vanilla syrup by putting the caster sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and adding enough water to cover. Add the vanilla pod, bring to the boil and reduce for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.
Using half the plums, place them in another saucepan, coat them in icing sugar and, over a gentle heat, allow them to caramelise for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the honey and orange zest and juice and again allow to caramelise for another two minutes. Then, after removing the vanilla pod, add the vanilla syrup. Bring it all to the boil before whizzing in a food processor or liquidiser or pureeing with a stick blender – and experience the wonderful citrus smell it produces.
Pour into a serving bowl, add the other halved plums, stir and chill.
This is fabulous served with a good quality vanilla ice cream. Or you could use a spoonful of Mascarpone, crème fraîche or even some natural yoghurt.
Previously published in The Northern Echo