A subspecies of plum, damsons are distinguished by their astringent flavour, which can make the raw fruit taste unpleasant. However, this tartness mellows beautifully when the fruit is cooked with sugar. For best results, try cooking damsons sous vide. Traditional cooking methods, such as stewing, use high temperatures, which cause the damsons’ cells to rupture and turn the fruit into mush. By contrast, cooking sous vide uses a low temperature, which preserves the shape and texture of the fruit.
- 250g of damsons
- 100g of sugar
- 50ml of water
- Preheat the water bath to a temperature of 70⁰C.
- Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Halve the damsons, discarding the stones.
- Arrange the damson halves in a single layer inside a vacuum bag. Add the sugar syrup and vacuum the bag.
- Place the sealed bag in the water bath and leave to cook for 40 minutes.
For something special, add a dash of flavoured liqueur to the vacuum bag. Amaretto, Frangelico or any other nutty liqueur would work well.
You could also flavour the damsons by infusing the sugar syrup with black tea or fragrant herbs, such as thyme or even tarragon.
You could use this method to make Adam Gray’s elegant Damson fool with warm chocolate doughnuts. For a really indulgent treat, try James Mackenzie’s Chocolate, juniper and sloe gin pudding with damson ripple ice cream.
Recipe courtesy of www.greatbritishchefs.com