Girard Ramsay from Mt Lofty House Hotel in the Adelaide Hills told me about these beautiful local semi-dried plums, so I was determined to use them when I cooked there. They are plump and slightly sticky with a gorgeous concentrated flavour. They are only made in small quantities by a local farmer, but really moist, good-quality prunes would be a great substitute.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
1/2 sheet Carême sour cream shortcrust pastry (approximately 25 cm/10 in square )
3 plums, seeded and quartered, to serve
ground cinnamon to serve
Poached Semi-dried Plums
250 ml (81/2 fl oz/1 cup) muscat
2 tablespoons honey
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
12 semi-dried plums , halved
100 g (31/2 oz) chestnuts, frozen or fresh in season
45 g (11/2 oz/1/2 cup) flaked almonds
60 g (2 oz) butter
55 g (2 oz/1/4 cup) raw (demerara) sugar
35 g (11/4 oz/1/3 cup) ground almonds
50 g (13/4 oz) chestnuts, frozen or fresh in season
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to dust
100 ml (31/2 fl oz) crème fraîche
- Cut the pastry into four 12 cm (43/4 in) rounds and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Freeze.
- For the poached semi-dried plums, combine the muscat, honey, bay leaf and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, add the semi-dried plums and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the plums from the liquid and set aside to cool. Bring the reserved liquid to the boil and simmer until reduced to 80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup). Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and pour into a pitcher to serve.
- For the chestnut crumble, blanch the chestnuts (if fresh) in boiling water for 10 minutes. Peel, drain and cut into small dice. Toast the flaked almonds in a medium frying pan until golden. Remove. To the same frying pan, add the butter, sugar and diced chestnuts. Stir gently over low heat until the butter melts. Increase the heat and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the chestnuts caramelise. Remove from the heat and stir through the ground almonds and reserved toasted almonds.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).
- Remove the pastry from the freezer, top with six semi-dried plum halves and sprinkle with the chestnut crumble. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
- For the chestnut cream, blanch the chestnuts in boiling water for 10 minutes (if frozen) or 20 (if fresh) or until very soft. Drain and blend or process with the honey and cinnamon until smooth. Stir the chestnut paste through the crème fraîche.
- Serve each tart with a spoon of chestnut cream dusted with ground cinnamon and three plum quarters drizzled with reduced poaching liquid.
Lyndey’s Note: You could use port or topaque instead of muscat. To make this a totally regional dessert, I used Careme pastry, handmade in the Barossa Valley but any sour cream or shortcrust pastry would work.
Wine: A sticky or dessert wine from any white grape variety would work well here.
Recipe from Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia (Hardie Grant). Winner Best TV Chef Cookbook in English in Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2015