Plum fool with pink peppercorns and shortbread
For the plum fool
- 150g/5½oz salted butter
- 100g/3½oz sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1kg/2lb 4oz plums, halved and stones removed
- 1 lemon, juice only
For the custard
For the shortbread
For the plum fool, melt the salted butter in a pan. Add the sugar and cinnamon sticks. Add the plums and lemon juice.
Cook on a low heat until the plums have softened to form a purée. Remove the cinnamon sticks and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside until needed.
For the custard, bring the double cream and milk to the boil in a pan. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together. Pour the hot cream and milk onto the eggs and whisk. Return to the pan and place on a low heat. Gently cook the custard, stirring all the time, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or reaches 82C/180F on a cooking thermometer.
Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl (to cool the custard quickly place a few freezer blocks in the bowl). Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming and leave to chill in the fridge
To make the shortbread, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
Place the butter, sugar and flour together in a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together.
Add the pink peppercorns and pulse once more. Remove the mixture from the processor and wrap in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the shortbread dough out to 1cm/½in thick. Cut into the shapes of your choice and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until just cooked and dried out. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Set aside to cool.
To serve, mix together 400g/14oz of plum purée with the custard mixture. Pass through a fine sieve and pour into an espuma gun or cream whipper. Charge with two chargers and give it a good shake. Leave to settle for 10-15 minutes.
Spoon a little leftover purée into serving bowls. Squirt the fool mix on top, sprinkle with pink peppercorns and serve with the shortbread - or let your guests serve themselves from the cream whipper for a fun party trick.
Feel free to use whatever fruit is in season. Greengages and damsons both work particularly well.