serves:4 - 6
- 300g wild plums or damsons, stoned and cut into wedges
- 75g caster sugar
- 200ml double cream
- For the custard:
- 2 large free-range egg yolks
- 20g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 100ml double cream
- 100ml whole milk
- For the sponge fingers (makes approx. 30):
- 3 large free-range eggs, separated
- 90g caster sugar
- 75g plain flour
- 6 tbsp icing sugar
For the custard, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until thick and pale. Bring the cream and milk to the boil in a non-stick pan, then whisk into the yolk mixture. Return the lot to the pan and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool, then chill for at least 4 hours.
Put the plums or damsons into a pan with the sugar and stir over a medium heat until the juices start to run, then increase the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked. Rub the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Cool, then cover and chill along with the custard.
For the sponge fingers, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Beat the egg whites in a large clean bowl into soft peaks. Whisk in the caster sugar, one teaspoon at a time, to make a stiff and glossy meringue. Lightly beat the egg yolks and gently fold into the meringue, then sift over the flour and fold in. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe 2cm wide strips in 8-10cm long lines across two large lined baking sheets, leaving 5cm between each one. Dust with half the icing sugar and leave to rest for 5 minutes, then dust with the remaining icing sugar and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool, then store in an airtight tin until needed.
To serve, whip the cream in a large mixing bowl until it just begins to form soft peaks. Gently fold in the custard and plum purée until only just mixed. Spoon into a serving bowl and serve with the sponge fingers for dipping.