Triumphs Of Gluttony And A Melody In Major: Plum Creams With Almonds And Amaretti

Scorn­ing the table of drinks, glit­ter­ing with crys­tal and sil­ver on the right, he moved left towards that of the sweet­meats. Huge sor­rel babas, Mont Blancs snowy with whipped cream, cakes speckled with white almonds and green pista­chio nuts, hil­locks of chocolate-covered pastry… a melody in major of crys­tal­lised cher­ries, acid notes of yel­low pine­apple, and green pista­chio paste of those cakes called ‘Tri­umphs of Gluttony’.

The Leo­pard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.

How could any­one res­ist a cake named ‘tri­umph of glut­tony’ or a heap of cher­ries described as a ‘melody in major’? It was with thoughts of both tri­umph and melody that I whipped up my Plum Cream with Almonds and Amar­etti. I’m still har­vest­ing plums from the broken branches of my cracked and decim­ated plum tree and this tri­umphant melody uses up a whole 600g of them.

Grilling the plums first intens­i­fies their fla­vour as if by magic. The amar­etti bis­cuits add a per­fect bitter-sweetness to the whole con­fec­tion, while being a fit­ting trib­ute to Lampedusa’s Italian her­it­age. Plum Creams deserve a place on Lampedusa’s table, along with the hil­locks of chocol­ate pastry, even if it’s only in the back row.

Plum creams with almonds and amar­etti biscuits

Serves 4–6 depend­ing on your level of gluttony

    • 600g plums
    • 100g vanilla sugar
    • 250g mas­car­pone
    • 100g creme fraiche
    • Hand­ful split almonds, toasted in a dry fry­ing pan until golden
    • 1 amar­etti bis­cuit per serving

Split the plums in half, remov­ing the stones. Place cut side up in a grill pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Toast for five minutes under a mod­er­ate grill until bub­bling. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for a fur­ther five minutes until slightly golden brown around the edges. Cool a little and then puree in a blender. Drip through a sieve into a bowl to remove any skin. Allow the puree to cool.

Once cool, mix the puree into the mas­car­pone. Use an elec­tric mixer if you’re in a hurry. Stir in the creme fraiche. At this stage you may think it’s not quite sweet enough, but the amar­etti bis­cuits bring more than enough extra sweet­ness to the party. Crumble an amar­etti over each serving, along with a sprink­ling of toasted almonds. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so.