Hibiscus and honey poached plums

Sweet plums have a delicate floral flavour which is enhanced by gentle cooking. Lucy Burton shares her recipe for hibiscus poached fruits

July brings with it a sweet abundance of stone-fruits. The crates of glossy cherries, apricots, peaches and plums adorning our corner-shops herald from Italy, Spain and the UK alike, and are perfect for summery puddings. 

Perfectly ripe fruits need little adornment, which is why I love to poach them gently in a simple syrup spiced with rich hibiscus. The deep hues of these tropical flowers make for a deep red poaching syrup, and brings out the gentle tang of the fruit. Aromatic honey brings a warm depth to this subtle dessert.

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It’s best to pick plums which are slightly firm for this recipe, to ensure they hold their shape when poaching. Serve warm with creamy mascarpone. 

Ingredients

300g plums

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170g runny honey

350g water

1 vanilla pod

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3-4 dried hibiscus flowers

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

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Half the plums, and remove the stones. Set aside.

In a deep saucepan, weigh out the honey and the water. Stir to combine. Split the vanilla pod, then add to the saucepan along with the hibiscus flowers, cinnamon stick and star anise. 

Set over a medium heat, then add the plums and stir. Reduce the temperature to a simmer, and poach for 15-20 minutes over, until the plums are soft and the syrup has reduced and thickened. 

Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and hibiscus flowers, and serve warm with mascarpone. 

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Steve Ott

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