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Poached Plums

  • 2 star anise
  • 400ml Water
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 8 plums, halved and stones removed if possible

Plum Jelly

  • 500ml plum poaching syrup
  • 3 leaves of gelatine

Soft Meringue Cake

  • 100g egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • A little non-scented oil such as grapeseed or sunflower

To assemble the dish:

  • Reserved poached plums
  • 500ml of softly whipped cream.
  • Mint leaves or edible sweet geranium leaves ( optional)


  1. Place the star anise, water, sugar, plums and stones in a saucepan that they fit into snugly. Stir all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. I usually give the liquid a few gentle stirs during the early stages of the cooking to encourage the sugar to dissolve.
  2. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently until the plums feel barely tender. Turn off the heat and allow the contents of the saucepan to cool completely. The plums will cook to a melting tenderness as they cool in the syrup but beware, as you do not want them to collapse to a puree.
  3. Strain the syrup off the plums and remove the stones and the 2 star anise. You can reserve these for garnishing the finished dish if you wish. Keep the plums cold.
  4. Measure 500ml of the syrup for the jelly. If there is excess syrup reserve that for serving as a sauce with the assembled dish or for making a homemade plum lemonade.
  5. Soak the gelatine leaves covered in a bowl of cold water until they become soft and flexible. Measure 100ml of the syrup and heat in a small saucepan until hot. Do not allow it to boil. Lift the gelatine leaves from their soaking water and shake off excess water.
  6. Add them to the hot syrup and stir gently until dissolved. Add some of the remaining syrup to the gelatine mix and then combine both mixtures, stirring gently as you go. If there is any froth or bubbles on the surface of the syrup, just skim it off.
  7. Pour the syrup into glasses, little cups or your serving dish of choice and place in the fridge to set. This will take about 4 hours.

Soft Meringue Cake

  1. Heat oven to 180c
  2. Draw a 20cm circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Pencil works best for this. Place the sheet of parchment with the pencil marked side down on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, paint the surface of the paper lightly with the oil. The paper should not look heavily oiled.
  3. Place the egg whites and caster sugar in a stand mixer and whisk at full speed for c 15 minutes or until the mixture will hold very stiff peaks. A hand held electric mixer will also work but may take longer to reach a stiff peak. Immediately spread the mixture on to the parchment creating a slightly raised edge. I use an old fashioned tablespoon for this task. Place the meringue in the oven and cook for 15- 20 minutes by which time the meringue will have risen somewhat and slightly coloured. The surface of the meringue will appear slightly crisp and the interior will still be soft but gently set. When cooked, slide the meringue still on the paper on to a wire rack to cool. When cool, slide the meringue off the paper and on to large flat serving dish.

To assemble the dish:

  1. Strain the plums from any remaining syrup. Spread the whipped cream all over the meringue. If you wish you can pipe a ruff of stiffly whipped cream on the edge of the meringue to give a more formal appearance.
  2. Strain the plums from any remaining syrup and carefully place on top of the cream. You could drizzle a little of the syrup over at this stage.
  3. Garnish the dish with mint or edible sweet geranium leaves if available and perhaps the reserved star anise.
  4. Serve immediately or keep chilled for an hour before serving. Bring the jelly to the table to serve with the meringue.