Michelle Dar­mody

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Inside - Michelle Dar­mody

Dam­sons have an old-world feel about them, the trees were of­ten planted and har­vested in grand old gar­dens or along coun­try hedgerows. The fruit is very sim­i­lar to plums, but with­out the red­ness of skin or pink­ness of flesh. Dam­sons have a more dis­tinct, sub­tle flavour and a golden in­te­riour. While on the tree the skin ap­pears dusky grey in colour, but a quick rub brings up their dark pur­ple sheen.

One sugges­tion for their un­usual name is that they may have orig­i­nally been cul­ti­vated in Da­m­as­cus and then trav­eled to­wards our shores with the ex­pan­sion of the Ro­man Em­pire.

Dam­sons, like most fruit that ripens in Au­tumn, ripen all at once, so you can find your­self hav­ing a de­li­cious bounty, not know­ing what to do with them all. Mak­ing jam or chut­ney is al­ways a fail safe and makes the de­lec­ta­ble taste last all year round.

There are three recipes in­cluded here that use dam­sons in dif­fer­ent ways. You can just as eas­ily sub­sti­tute plums gram for gram if you wish to use them in­stead.

The sunken dam­son cake lasts very well in an air­tight con­tainer for a few days but make sure that it is com­pletely cool be­fore seal­ing it into the tin.

For the Eton mess you can make the meringues a day or two in ad­vance and break them up just be­fore serv­ing. There are also quite a few, very good, shop bought meringues avail­able for a much quicker re­sult.

I re­ally en­joy the mix­ture of dam­son and rose­wa­ter in this dessert. You can add a lit­tle more rose­wa­ter to the whipped cream if you wish to strengthen the taste. Make sure the rose petals you use are from ed­i­ble petals that do not have pes­ti­cides on them. The fi­nal recipe is har­ness­ing and com­bin­ing some won­der­ful tastes of late Au­tumn, the dam­sons com­bined with black­berry, star anise and cin­na­mon make for a very warm­ing, com­fort­ing treat.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.