Davidson’s plum panna cotta with charred finger lime

Davidson’s plum panna cotta with charred finger lime

Davidsons plums & finger limes

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.

Davidson's plum panna cotta with charred finger lime

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.

Davidson's plum panna cotta with charred finger lime

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.

Finger limes

Davidsons plum panna cotta with charred finger lime

 

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Davidson's plum panna cotta with charred finger lime
Using native Australian Davidson's plums and finger lime in this delicate and vibrantly coloured panna cotta.
Davidson's plum panna cotta with charred finger lime
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Davidson's plum panna cotta with charred finger lime
Instructions
  1. Using a stick blender or regular blender, purée the deseeded plums and ½ cup caster sugar. Set aside.
  2. Spray or rub 6 ramekins with oil. Set aside.
  3. Put the cream and remaining ½ cup caster sugar into a small saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthways, and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and scraped pod into the same saucepan and turn the heat onto low.
  4. Stir occasionally as the cream heats and the sugar dissolves. Just before it simmers whisk in the gelatine and continue whisking gently for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the buttermilk and plum purée and stir for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture though a sieve and then evenly pour the sieved mixture into the prepared ramekins. Put the ramekins onto a small tray and refrigerate overnight, to set.
  6. To serve - you can serve the panna cotta in the ramekins, if you wish, or carefully invert them onto a plate. Garnish with some charred finger lime and edible flowers.
Charred finger lime
  1. Lightly spray the limes with a little oil, then simply toss onto a chargrill or into a griddle pan. Turn them from time to time, and after a few minutes they'll get a bit of colour on the skin. Take them off to cool, then simply cut a slit down the side and squeeze out the pulp. Discard any seeds.
Recipe Notes

Don't throw out the vanilla pod. Simply dry it and put it into some sugar to make vanilla sugar.

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