Four to the fore

Par­tial as he is to lash­ings of cream, our res­i­dent pud­ding pro isn’t ex­actly a go-to for ve­g­ans. But, be­hold: four sweets that es­chew dairy – two ver­sions of poached fruits, nutty choco­late clus­ters and, nat­u­rally, a Cam­pari sor­bet ...

The Guardian - Cook - - King Of Puddings - Jeremy Lee Makes 24 Jeremy Lee is the chef­pro­pri­etor of Quo Vadis restau­rant in Lon­don; @jere­myleeqv

17 Fruit and nut choco­late gob­bets

Clus­ters – or me­te­orites – of raisins, al­monds and choco­late, these lit­tle gob­bets are bite-sized con­fec­tions the Ge­or­gians were fond of. I first made them as a young ap­pren­tice chef at a small ho­tel just out­side Dundee. Be sure to use the best choco­late, and the best nuts, you can find – if you’re short on time, sliv­ered al­monds will de­liver a re­spectable re­sult. Once made, it’s best to keep the choco­lates away from heat as they might sulk into a great mass – some­thing to be avoided at all costs, for this must then be scoffed and the cook will need to start all over again. Oh, what a shame that would be. 200g dark choco­late, bro­ken up 200g whole al­monds, blanched and peeled

100g raisins or cur­rants

1 Set the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a tray or two with bak­ing parch­ment.

2 Spread the al­monds on an­other tray and roast for around 20 min­utes, or un­til nut brown. Set aside un­til cool, then coarsely chop the al­monds.

3 Put the choco­late in a bowl over a pan of sim­mer­ing wa­ter. Do not be tempted to stir the choco­late lest the choco­late seizes. To pre­vent this, merely tip the bowl to en­sure all the choco­late is made liq­uid. Once melted, re­move the bowl from the heat, then tip in the al­monds and raisins or cur­rants and mix to­gether well.

4 Us­ing two tea­spoons, scoop up heaps of the choco­late con­fec­tion and sit blobs of it upon the lined bak­ing trays. Con­tinue thus un­til rows of the lit­tle gob­bets or me­te­orite-like clus­ters fill the pa­per. Then put the trays in the fridge for at least half an hour.

5 Choose a tin with a close-fit­ting lid. Cut a few sheets of bak­ing parch­ment to fit in­side the tin.

6 Once the choco­lates have set, place them in lay­ers in­side the tin, sep­a­rat­ing each layer with a sheet of parch­ment. Seal the tin and stash un­til re­quired.

18 A win­ter’s poached fruit salad

Peel strips off a lemon as for a mar­tini, then squeeze its juice into a bowl. Peel 6 pears and toss them in the lemon juice. Put 30ml wa­ter and 200ml white wine, 200g caster su­gar, a vanilla pod, 2 bay leaves, 10 black pep­per­corns and a blade of mace into a pan. Bring to a boil on a high heat. Add the pears, lemon juice and peel. Cover with a disc of parch­ment to fit the pot. A plate on top helps keep the fruit sub­merged. Lower the heat to a sim­mer and poach gently un­til the pears are cooked – 3050 min­utes de­pend­ing on ripeness. Add 12 prunes, 12 dried apri­cots and 12 dried figs, bring back to the boil for 30 sec­onds then re­move from the heat and cool. Gently re­move the cooled fruits to a serv­ing bowl and pour over the syrup un­strained.

19 Orange and Cam­pari sor­bet

Pour 500ml freshly squeezed orange juice through a con­i­cal sieve and de­cant into a liq­uidiser, adding the juice of 1 lemon and 120g ic­ing su­gar. Blend un­til the su­gar has dis­solved. Stir in 50ml Cam­pari, then churn in an ice-cream maker or freeze in a bowl, whisk­ing from time to time to keep any crys­talline for­ma­tions to a bare min­i­mum. Serve with a glass of Cam­pari and soda, topped with a slice of orange, of course!

20 Poached apri­cots

Com­bine 750ml white wine, 50g caster su­gar, a strip of lemon zest, a vanilla pod, 3 bay leaves, 12 pep­per­corns and 4 spikes of rose­mary in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then sim­mer gently into a syrup. Add in 24 apri­cots, cover with a disc of parch­ment, raise the heat and bring back to the boil. Set aside to cool. If the syrup is some­what thin, lift out the apri­cots when cool, cover well and boil the syrup for 5-10 min­utes un­til re­duced. Cool the syrup, then pour back over the apri­cots.

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