From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
250 g tub mascarpone cheese
500 ml carton chilled custard
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
12 amaretti biscuits
for the poached plums:
150 ml red wine
175 g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 vanilla pod (split in half and seeds scraped out)
450 g ripe plums (halved, stoned and cut into slices)
This stunning dessert will really make your guests impressed! However, it is actually extremely simple to prepare and can be done well in advance leaving you to enjoy your meal.
To poach the plums, place the wine in a pan with 150ml (1/4 pint) of water, the sugar, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla seeds. Slowly bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until reduced by half and syrupy in texture.
Add the plums to the wine mixture and simmer gently for another 2 minutes until softened but still holding their shape, stirring occasionally but being careful not to damage the plums. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
Place the mascarpone in a bowl with the custard and lemon rind. Whip until the mixture is just holding its shape and soft peaks have formed.
Divide the cooled poached plums among Martini glasses and crumble the amaretti on top, reserving a little for decoration. Spoon over the lemon mascarpone to cover completely and then sprinkle with the rest of the reserved amaretti. Chill for 2 hours before serving set on plates.