You can imagine my excitement when I came across a Davidson’s plum tree at the plant nursery. The first thought was, where can I plant this thing. Yes, it was only about 40 cm tall, but the variety I was looking at – Davidsonia jerseyana, native to the subtropical rainforests of northern New South Wales – grows to something like 5 metres.
I bought it anyway.
What I didn’t know was how long I’d be waiting before I saw some kind of flowering or fruiting. Let’s just say I bought and planted my little baby two years ago, and it wasn’t until late last year that I was checking the leaves for pests that I noticed a clump of crimson flowers developing next to the stem.
Over the months these flowers opened and developed into tiny green, pea-sized fruit. I was feeling giddy with excitement. Yep, that’s how I am when I succeed with growing Aussie natives, especially as the fruit grows bigger and bigger.
Almost overnight the plums switched from green to deep purple. I knew not to pick them until a light tap on the fruit made them fall off the tree, and within a day or two I had my first harvest.
About 25 of them!
Davidson’s plums aren’t like the European variety. These juicy little fellas are sour. Incredibly sour. The inner flesh is deep burgundy and contains two small seeds. I swear, the first one I bit into pursed my lips so much I felt like spitting it out. That’s how they are. They don’t sweeten as they ripen.
I’ve put enough sugar in there to balance the sourness, and the hint of vanilla perfumes the palate. On its own, the panna cotta is pretty good, but spooning some charred finger lime on top takes it to another level.
Finger limes are also in season right now, and the small trees in our back garden had something like 30 fruit between them, this season. The biggest crop yet, after several years of failures thanks to the developing limes falling off the trees.
Charring the finger lime cooks the pulp a little, turning it from the regular caviar-like beads to a jammy texture. I love it.