It’s starting to look a lot like silly season; but we prefer to think about the arrival of stone fruit season. It’s a time for enjoying ripe juicy peaches, rich dark plums and sweet and fragrant nectarines. Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has put together a multi-textured recipe that uses stone fruits in the most celebratory and creative way.

Spiced Poached Plum and Stone Fruit Trifle with Orange Blossom Marshmallow

Serves 4

Spiced Poached Plums

1kg blood plums, halved and pipped
4 cups water
3 cups brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon quills
4 star anise
4 cardamom pods
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

Method

1. Place all ingredients except the plums in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, add plums and poach until soft.

3. Allow plums to cool in liquid to infuse flavours. Can be preserved in jars.

4. Strain fruit ready for serving and reserve liquid for jelly preparation.

Spiced Poached Plum Jelly

500ml poaching liquid
3 tsp gelatine powder
3 tbsp warm water

1. Add the warm water into a small bowl and evenly sprinkle the gelatine powder over the water.

2. Allow to stand for 3-4 minutes until gelatine has dissolved.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, add the poaching liquid and gently stir in the dissolved gelatine water.

4. Set the jelly in a small tray lined with cling wrap. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours until set.

Teardrop Meringues

Pre-heat oven to 90C

6 egg whites
375g caster sugar
Pinch salt
1 tbsp white vinegar

Method

1. Whisk egg whites while slowly adding caster sugar. Whisk for 10-12 minutes until stiff peaks form and all sugar has dissolved. When it’s right you should be able to hold the bowl upside down. If you’re scared to do so, whisk some more!

2. Add vinegar and a pinch of salt and continue to whisk.

3. Place the meringue mixture into a piping bag and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

4. Pipe 20 cent coin-sized meringue teardrop shapes onto the lined baking tray, leaving a 1cm spacing between each meringue.

5. Bake for 90 minutes.

6. Switch oven off. Leave meringues in the oven for 3 to 4 hours to cool gradually.

Vanilla Cream

300ml thickened cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

Method

Whip cream and vanilla seeds together until soft peaks form.

Orange Blossom Marshmallow
Orange Blossom Marshmallow

Orange Blossom Marshmallow
See our recipe for Orange Blossom Marshmallow here.

Crème Pâtissière

Makes 500ml

300ml full cream milk
40ml thickened cream
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped
5 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
15g cornflour, sifted
10g plain flour, sifted

Method

1. In a heavy-base saucepan add the milk, cream, scraped vanilla pod halves and seeds and slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to infuse with flavour for 5-10 minutes.

3. Place the egg yolks and sugar into an electric mixer bowl and using the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar until ribbon stage, meaning that when you lift the whisk over the mixture the batter should fall slowly forming a ribbon that will hold its shape for a few minutes.

4. Carefully fold the sifted cornflour and plain flour into your thickened egg yolk and sugar mixture.

5. Slowly pour the vanilla-flavoured milk and cream into the thickened egg yolk, sugar and flour mixture, and continue to whisk gently until well combined.

6. Pour the completed mixture back into the saucepan and place over a moderate heat. Continue to whisk at all times for around five minutes. The custard will thicken to a smooth and glossy texture.

7. Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve to remove vanilla bean pod and to perfect to a smooth consistency. Allow to cool completely before serving.

To Assemble

200g your choice of preserved stone fruit (peaches, nectarines or apricots), sliced
Fresh raspberries
Shortbread crumble (simply, 6–8 best quality short bread or butter biscuits, finely crushed)
Dried miniature rosebuds for garnishing, culinary quality

Method

Prepare the individual trifles in flat base wine glasses by laying in a sequence of shortbread crumble, crème pâtissière, vanilla cream, spiced poached plums, sliced preserved stone fruit, fresh raspberries, spiced poached plum jelly, orange blossom marshmallow, teardrop meringues and finally garnishing with dried miniature rosebuds and a few more fresh raspberries.

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