16 fresh red plums (or apricots or other stone fruit)
1 cup Essensia dessert wine
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
2 black peppercorns
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the plums in half and remove the pits. Combine wine, zests, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and peppercorns in a 6- by 12-inch ovenproof baking dish. Place fruit in baking dish with cut side down. If the fruit is tart, sprinkle a little more sugar on top of fruit. Bake at 350 for 10 to 20 minutes. (The time will depend on which fruit you use and how ripe it is.) Cook plums until they are soft to the touch but not falling apart. (The plums can be stored for 2 days at this point but will need to be warmed in the oven for serving.) Remove plums from oven. To keep the plums from falling apart, let them cool completely before transferring.
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hazelnuts (skinned, toasted, and roughly chopped)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 whole eggs
cooking oil spray
1/2 cup flour (set aside)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepot combine water, butter, and salt and place on medium heat. Sift nuts to remove “dust.” Combine the flour and nuts. When the liquids have come to a boil, whisk in the flour mixture and reduce to low heat. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook the mixture for 5 minutes or until it comes to a slightly shiny ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Whisk the eggs together and stir into the mixture 1/3 at a time. Stir continuously until all is combined. (The dough can be held for 2 days at this point but will need to come to room temperature before baking.) Spray mini-muffin tins or ramekins with cooking oil and dust with flour. Shake off the excess flour. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. Transfer onto a rack to cool and prevent condensation.
1 quart vanilla ice cream
8 tablespoons wildflower honey
8 or more tablespoons toasted hazelnuts roughly chopped, optional
Note: The chef says do not use cheap commercial honey; real wildflower honey (your choice) makes a big difference in flavor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the top off of the popovers and fill the bottom with 2 plum halves (reserve the juice for plating). Heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Put 2 popovers on each plate and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the plums. Spoon 1 tablespoon of honey over the ice cream and spoon plum juice around the plate. (You may use the popover tops in plating if you desire.) Sprinkle hazelnuts around the plate and serve immediately. Serves 8.
See Pat’s Pick for a review of The Mansion at Judges’ Hill<!–