The summer holidays are on in full swing. In the blink of an eye, we are already into the third week. The weather has been good, and so, the days are just whizzing by.
Now,what do you do when you get yourself a huge bagful of wild plums, and that too freshly plucked with your own hands? You see, we have this plum tree nearby, and its branches were heavily laden with fruit. We pass it by; in our car, on our walks… Finally, the sight of the lush tree proved to be too irresistable, and with a bag in hand, we helped ourselves to some of the gorgeous loot. Sometimes, we feel so lucky to be living where we do. Blacberries, plums , apples, line most of our paths, the luscious fruits, waiting to be picked.
We gorged on these delightful plums to our hearts content; yes, the three of us, except Agastya, who runs a hundred miles from juicy, squishy fruit. He is more of an apple sort of guy. Rengoni, however, is a girl after my and Dinesh’s own heart, as far as all sorts of fruit are concerned. She absolutely loves them. The three of us had so many of the sweet, juicy fruit, that we could probably go without plums for a while; or maybe not! Well, we ate as much as we could and still had plenty left.
So, this easy to make roasted wild plum vacherin was made with the bounty. “Vacherin is a dessert made with meringue filled with whipped cream, fruits, and sometimes with ice cream”. Some of the plums were roasted, and mixed with freshly whipped cream to form a delicious filling between three layers of perfect meringue. To be honest, I had roasted the fruit and was wondering what to do with it. The eyes strayed towards the lone egg, which was swiftly cracked open , the whites and yolk separated, and before I knew it, the meringues were ready, cooled and filled. And yes, I’m really glad I made it. The sweetness of the meringue was well complimented by the fruity filling. And it looked good too!
For the roasted plums ( the following measurements made about 1 and a 1/2C of puree. I used some in the vacherin and saved the rest for something else.)
3C of small, ripe plums, lightly squished ( if you are using big plums, stone, and quarter them)
2 tblsp of sugar ( I used demerera)
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the meringue discs-
1 egg white
1/2 C of caster sugar
1 tsp chopped nuts ( I used cashew)
for the filling-
100 mls double cream
1 tblsp icing sugar
1/4 C roasted plum puree
a few plum slices for garnish and a little icing sugar for dusting the top
- Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C .
- In a baking pan, toss all the ingredients for the roasted plums.
- Place the pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and roast for about 15 minutes or till the fruit is very soft and the juices flow.
- Remove from the oven and adjust the sweetness ( if you find it too tart).
- Cool, and remove the stones ( if you used the small plums), and puree the plums, using all the juices as well.
- Chill for later.
- To make the meringue discs, pre heat the oven at 140 deg C .
- On a piece of parchment, draw three circles of 5 inches diameter. Turn the sheet upside down and use it to line a baking tray, so that the drawing is upside down, but still visible from the other side.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg white till very stiff ( if you turn the bowl upside down, the beaten egg white should not fall off).
- Gradually add the sugar and beat till thick and glossy.
- Spoon the mixture inside the circles o the parchment, spreading out with a spatula. Sprinkle the nuts on one of the rounds.
- Place the tray in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for 1 and a 1/2 hours or till crisp.
- Cool the meringues on the sheet for a few seconds and gently remove to a rack, with a spatula and cool completely.
- While the meringue is baking, make the filling. Beat the cream along with the icing sugar till thick.
- Swirl in the roasted plum puree, cover and chill for later.
- To assemble the vacherin (do this just a few minutes before serving, or the meringue will go soggy), place a meringue disc ( save the one with the nuts for the top) on a serving plate and spread 1/2 of the filling. This is to be folllowed by the second disc and the rest of the filling. Finally place the meringue disc with the nuts on top, arrange a few plum slices and dust with icing sugar. Let it stand for a few minutes .
- To serve, use a serrated knife to slice the vacherin in a gently sawing motion.With two meringue loving kids hovering nearby, waiting for the photo shoot to be over, I forgot to use the serrated knife, and sliced with a thin knife. Not a very bad job, but could have been better with the other knife.
- Serve immediately.