Roasted figs and plums with basil whipped cream

In the first of her monthly series, Alexandra Dudley shares the recipe for a warming autumnal pudding

October is a funny month. I find myself not quite ready to pack away my espadrilles and camisoles but constantly on the hunt for my scarf. It marks the end of summer. School has begun, and soon the very organised among us will be sorting out Christmas presents (heavens!), but there is still rosé in the fridge and if we are lucky the weather can be lovely.

Not quite a summer pudding and not quite a winter crumble, I’ve often seen this dessert as a way of holding onto summer. Perfect for a weekend lunch or end to a supper party, it looks spectacular but is brilliantly simple, and with very little effort at all you have something quite beautiful to bring to the table. 

The basil-infused cream is not essential and if you are short of time simply whisking double cream will do just as well. You could add a drop of brandy or cognac too if you liked. Feel free to use more plums or more figs depending on what you have and don’t worry if they are on the soft side – it will only make for extra syrupy juice, which I like to collect and keep in a small jug to drizzle over the fruit and cream just before serving. If you have more left over, it is delicious stirred into yogurt or porridge or even used as the base for a cocktail.

Roasted figs and plums with basil whipped cream

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

50g almonds and/or hazelnuts
200ml double cream
Handful of basil leaves
6–8 figs
8–10 plums
1–2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Arrange the nuts on a clean and dry baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until they have browned slightly and release a nutty smell. Remove, switch off your oven and allow the nuts to cool before roughly chopping them.

Place the cream into a small saucepan and tear in the basil leaves. Heat gently on a low heat until it begins to bubble. Remove and pour into a bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature for half an hour before refrigerating for at least two hours. Strain the cream through a sieve to remove the basil leaves and whisk until you have a light but firm texture. Keep chilled until serving.

Preheat the oven to 200°C on the fan setting. Slice the figs and plums and arrange them cut side up on a baking tray. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit. Roast for 20 minutes until soft and the fruits have released their juices. Allow to cool slightly or completely if you wish.

When ready to serve, arrange the fruits on a serving plate or on individual plates. Top with the whipped cream, drizzle over some of the cooking juices and sprinkle over the chopped nuts.

Alexandra Dudley’s cookbook, ‘Land & Sea’ (£25, Orion), is available on Amazon

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