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24 August 2016

As summer draws to a balmy close, so does the stone-fruit season. British plums are the late bloomer of the family, and flourish through late August and September. From greengage to Victoria to tiny mirabelles, plums have a complex and fragrant flavour which is delicious to bake with.

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.

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.

300g plums
170g runny honey
350g water
1 vanilla pod
3-4 dried hibiscus flowers
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise

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, 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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