Damson fool with macaroon fingers
- September 2014
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 40 min, simmering time 20 min, oven time 25 min, plus chilling
Debbie Major’s damson fool with macaroon fingers makes a great dinner party dessert – and it can be made in advance.
Looking for more ways to use the seasonal fruit? Take a look at all of our damson recipes, here.
- 35.7g (17.9g saturated)
- 58.9g (56.2g sugars)
- 600g damsons
- 180g caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 2 tbsp kirsch
For the custard
- 2 large free-range egg yolks
- 25g caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 100ml double cream
- 100ml whole milk
For the macaroon fingers (makes 24)
- 2 large free-range egg whites
- 100g ground almonds
- 175g caster sugar
- 25g ground rice or semolina (both are widely available from supermarkets)
- A few drops pure almond extract
- For the custard, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and pale. Bring the cream and milk up to the boil in a non-stick pan, whisk it into the egg yolks, then tip the mixture into the pan and stir over a low heat until it thickens and coats the back of the wooden spoon. Don’t overheat it or it will split. Pour into a bowl, cool, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Put the damsons in a pan with the 180g sugar and stir over a medium heat until the juices start to run. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the fruit has turned to pulp. Leave to cool, then rub through a sieve into a bowl, using the back of a spoon (discard the skins and stones). Cover and chill.
- For the macaroon fingers, heat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites in a large clean bowl to soft peaks (when you lift out the beaters, the peaks will droop). Gently fold in the ground almonds, sugar, ground rice/ semolina and almond extract.
- Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe 8cm strips on the lined baking sheets, leaving 5cm between each. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the sheets if necessary so they cook evenly, until golden. Cool on the sheets for 4-5 minutes, then carefully lift off using a palette knife. Cool on a wire rack.
- Assemble the fool just before serving. Whip the cream in a large bowl to soft peaks. Fold in the custard, damson purée and kirsch until just mixed but still streaky. Spoon into a serving bowl or pretty dessert glasses and serve with the macaroon fingers.
Uncooked, most damsons (apart from merryweathers) are mouth-puckeringly sour so you can’t eat them raw. Cooked with sugar, they produce a thick purée with a depth of flavour that few other plums can beat.
To stone damsons, cut along the little crease running around the fruit, then twist the fruit apart and prise out the stone with the point of a small knife. Use them straightaway as they quickly turn brown.
Fresh picked, undamaged fruit keep well in the fridge for a few days. Wash and dry them, spread them out in shallow trays, then chill until you’re ready to use. Damsons freeze well, but they’ll be soft after thawing, so you’ll only be able to make purée-based recipes such as a fool.
Make the macaroon fingers the day before or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Make the custard and the fruit purée the day before, then combine it all at the last minute.
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