After hand-making some pasta for the first time today, with my new Italian pasta roller deeply discounted from work, we were perusing the dessert section of one of my Italian cookbooks. Hub happened on something called Italian custard, an airy little soup of egg yolk, sugar and, mmmmm, alcohol. Explained below.
Braised Plums with Sweet Cream and Italian Custard
4 egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
5 tbsp dessert wine of choice
To make caster sugar, place 5 tbsp sugar in a food processor, turn on and walk away for about five minutes.
I chose an Austarlian Tokay for my dessert wine because it was something I had on hand. It has a wonderful nutty and toffee flavor that is perfect with fall fruits. Typically, any Botrytised dessert wine like Sauternes or Tokay, or something like a Late Harvest, Ice Wine, or Beerenauslese, will all work for this recipe. Cook with what you would also like to drink.
Heat a 4 qt sauce pan with 2 cups water to boiling. At the same time, combine the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl well suited to act as a double boiler and whip until pale yellow. Mix in wine. Place bowl over hot water and continue to whip until mixture is light and frothy and coats the back of a spoon thickly (about 6-8 mins). Remove from heat.
(Okay, here comes the part of my own invention.)
6 or 7 firm plums, pitted and quartered
1 tbsp butter
3 or 4 tbsp dessert wine
1/4 packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Heat butter in a wide (preferably cast-iron) saute pan. Add plums when butter just begins to brown, cover. Saute for 5 minutes, stir, cover. Add a little water if things get to dry or crispy. (We're going for tender here.) Saute another 3 mins, add dessert wine, sugar and cinnamon. Stir until plums well coated, cover and reduce to medium low heat. When plums are desired consistency (according to taste) and sauce has begun to thicken, remove from heat.
Whip 1/4 cup heavy cream in a small bowl, adding any remaining caster sugar.
To serve, spoon plums into shallow bowl, followed by generous helping of custard, top with a spoonful of sweet cream.
This recipe might also be good with very tart apples (fresh from the orchard!) or firm peaches. Adjust wine flavor and cooking time to suit fruit choice.
Could serve 4 people, though we ate it all up between the two of us.