Pimms & Star Anise Stewed Plums and Cherries with Amaretti Biscuits
Christmas in summer poses a challenge and an awkward one at that. Despite the weather, we’re almost attuned to think of and crave Christmas and holiday desserts that are rich, warm, comforting. The warm weather though, makes one lethargic. A few bites of an elaborate fruit pudding and you need to take a lazy nap in the hammock.
For this holiday dessert, I used stone fruit, poached in Pimms (usually enjoyed ice-cold in tall glasses with cucumber) and aniseed and some still fresh, layered with aniseed infused fresh cream and a few broken amaretti biscuits. I prefer the traditional amaretti that are slightly softer and more chewy, but the crisp variety is also acceptable, as they will be drizzled with lovely poaching juices.
You could call this a deconstructed summer Christmas pudding, with the flavours of the cherries, aniseed, spice and citrus from the Pimms, almond from the amaretti, all lightened by the luscious folds of cool fresh cream.
4 plums, halved & stones removed. (if hard to do, remove gently after poaching)
10-12 cherries (stoned, if you prefer)
200 ml Pimms
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 star anise
4-6 amaretti biscuits, depending on size
1 cup whipped cream (leave a star anise in for a few hours and store in the fridge)
handful fresh cherries (reserve for serving)
In a small pot on medium-high heat add Pimms and the star anise.
Add plums cut side down and the stoned cherries.
Add sugar and stir gently to dissolve.
Allow to boil and syrup to thicken, around 5-6 minutes. Plums should soften but still hold their shape.
Remove from stove and allow to cool thoroughly.
In a tall sundae glass or a serving bowl, crumble one amaretti and sprinkle at the bottom.
Spoon some syrup over, followed by fruit (use stewed fruit and fresh charries)
Add a layer of cream and repeat, finishing with crumbled amaretti.