At this time of year you just can’t beat nature and all the lovely fruit it gives us for free! I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a huge amount of Damsons. After our jam stocks have surged enough see us through the next five years I thought I’d better find something else to use them for. Inspired by a lovely lady Catherine @ShrpshirePrune on twitter we have Jammy Damson Brulee. This recipe is easy but does span over a couple of days, if you plan ahead it’s definitely worth your while.
PS. If you don’t have damsons you can replace this with any kind of fruit compote, you can even buy it in jars!
5 medium egg yolks
1tbsp vanilla bean paste
400ml double cream
200ml single cream
50g demerara sugar
So time to prepare the damsons. If you’re using another fruit compote skip straight to the brulee bit!
Wash the damsons well discarding any bruised ones and remove all stalks.
Put them into a large pan and add enough water to just cover.
Over a medium heat simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the fruits with a slotted spoon and transfer to a shallow dish. Now comes the boring bit, scoot through the mixture with a spoon removing all the stones, you’ll be there a while.
When all the stones have been removed pour over 500g of the sugar. Cover with clingfilm and leave overnight.
Add the remaining 500g sugar to the juice in the pan and heat whilst stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 10 minutes. Cover and leave overnight.
The next day, add the fruit back to the pan of juice, heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Again with a slotted spoon remove the fruity pulp and set to one side for use in the brulees.
If you bring the juice back to the boil again and boil rapidly for 15 minutes it will turn into a lovely Damson jelly which you can jar for use on your toast!
Back to the brulee – you can do these in small ramekins or in one large dish. Small ramekins it should make 6 or as one large you will need a 1.5ltr dish.
Preheat the oven to 160c/140c Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3.
In an bowl place your egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste. Whisk till lovely and mixed.
In a pan put both the double and single cream and heat until nearly boiling. Remove from the heat and whilst whisking the egg yolks pour in the cream in a steady stream until fully combined.
Spoon a layer of jammy damsons into the base of each ramekin, about 1/2″ deep.
(Okay, I forgot to take pictures for a little bit here so you’ll have to use your imagination – what did I think I was a baker? Actually if we could just take a moment here to think about my poor poor camera who at one time was in lovely pristine condition – then I became a blogger and it’s covered in all sorts!)
Pour the custard mix onto the jammy damsons, gently so as not to disturb your jammy layer. Fill each ramekin just below the top.
Carefully (are you getting this – I’ve said carefully twice now, I don’t want you getting burnt x) put the roasting tray into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until just the custard is just setting. If you’re making one large jammy damson brulee it will need to bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
When cool cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight. Now you have to be patient to make the best brulee!
The following day remove from the fridge and top each with a layer of demerara sugar.
Any kind will do but I do like to use Amber Sugar as it’s taste is fab for brulee (you can get it in Waitrose).
Now if you’re a kitchen gadget freak like me you can use your cooks blow torch to heat the sugar on the top to caramelise it. If not preheat your grill to high and place them under it for 5 minutes to caramelise. If using the grill you will need to keep your eye on it as it can burn quite easily.
Now a Mary Berry tip is to put the brulees back into the fridge for a couple of hours just to slightly soften the top which makes for easier eating! No longer than a couple of hours though as it will turn to sludgy mush – yuck!
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire
Contestant on BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off