4 ripe plums – peeled, sliced into halves, pitted
650ml Harpersfield Vineyard Pinot Gris 2013 – reserve remaining wine to enjoy with the desert
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp Penzey’s “Cake Spice” (cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves)
1/4 vanilla bean pod – sliced lengthwise to scrape seeds (retain some of pod/seeds for garnish)
1 T fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup English walnut halves
1 cup + 2-1/2 T confectioner’s sugar + more for dusting
2 large egg whites – room temperature
1/8 tsp sea salt (Himalayan) – very finely ground
3/4 cup Devon clotted cream (available at specialty retailers)
1-1/2 T superfine sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
POACHED PLUMS – (can be made one day before serving and stored in the refrigerator).
1. In medium non-reactive saucepan place Harpersfield Vineyard Pinot Gris 2013 wine.
2. Add lemon juice, water, and sugar and bring to a slow rolling boil.
3. Reduce heat, then simmer on medium-low heat until reduced by 1/2.
4. Add Penzey’s “Cake Spice” and seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean pod.
5. Allow to cool slightly then add plum halves, out side down, to skillet.
6. Ladle wine sauce over pears as needed.
7. Simmer on medium-low approximately 10 minutes or until softened.
8. With slotted spoon, roll plum halves to cut-side-up in skillet.
9. Continue to simmer until plum halves are soft throughout.
10. With slotted spoon, carefully move plums to a dish and set aside.
11. Increase heat to med-high and further reduce sauce to approximately 1 cup total volume and slightly thickened consistency.
12. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
13. Arrange plums smooth side up in a single layer in a storage container.
14. Using a sieve, strain wine sauce over the fruit.
15. Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours (or up to 3 days)
MACAROONS – (will keep for one-two days before serving – store in a single layer)
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Arrange walnut halves in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
3. Toast walnut halves in oven for approximately 8-9 minutes until they are fragrant and lightly toasted.
4. Remove from oven and cool walnuts completely.
5. Once cooled, use a food processor to coarsely chop walnuts by pulsing.
6. Add the 1 cup + 2-1/2 T confectioner’s sugar to food processor and pulse until all of the nuts are finely ground and fully mixed with the sugar.
7. Whisk or stir the walnut sugar until there are no lumps.
8. Increase oven temperature to 420F.
9. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix the room temperature egg whites until they are frothy.
10. Increase the mixing speed to high and mix until egg whites form a stiff peak.
11. Add the walnut sugar all at once and gently fold into egg whites using a large, very clean spatula until fully blended (the meringue will deflate somewhat).
12. Transfer the walnut meringue to a pastry bag with a 1/2 plain tip.
13. Pipe out 6 circular mounds – begin with the outer edge and spiral in to complete the mound.
14. Allow at least 1 inch spacing between the mounds.
15. Gently tap the sheet on the counter to smooth tops of mounds if needed.
16. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of the finely ground Himalayan sea salt on top of the mound.
17. Place cookie sheet on the center rack for 4 minutes at 420F, then open the oven door briefly to decrease temperature somewhat, reduce heat to 350F and bake for 10-11 minutes until tops are shiny and light golden-brown but cookies are still somewhat soft.
18. Allow macaroons to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then carefully lift off the parchment onto a wire rack to cool completely.
1. In a very cold bowl – using an electric mixer – beat the clotted cream with the sugar until runny.
2. Add the heavy cream and beat until soft peaks form.
3. Refrigerate until ready to assemble dessert.
1. Using a round cookie cutter, cut a round from each plum half.
2. Place 4 macaroons, flat side up, onto serving dishes.
3. Top each cookie with a plum round and drizzle with some of the Harpersfield Vineyard 2013 Pinot Gris reduction sauce.
4. Spoon or pipe whipped cream on top of the plum/sauce and cover with another macaroon -rounded side up.
5. Lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately.
6. Garnish plate if desired with sauce and/or vanilla seed/pod.