Roast Plums with Honey and Yoghurt Ice-cream

21 July 2006

Although in my last post I said that we’ve had hot-but-not-too-hot weather here in the UK, this week has taken a turn for the hotter. I’m glad that I don’t have to take the tube to go to work any more, that’s one of the things I don’t miss about living in London. This heat also reminds me of the summer of 2003, when Europe was hit by the record breaking heat wave – we were heading for Scandinavia by motorbike then, hoping it would be cooler than here… in vain, as it happens – just wearing the bike gear was hard work and it’s a shame that we didn’t enjoy the trip as much as we could have done.

So, I haven’t been able to think much about eating anything other than cold food, let alone what to cook.

I made this plum dessert when I did the apricot and matcha mousse cake – it’s from Formulas for Flavour by John Campbell and although I’ve never a big fan of plums the recipe seemed too tempting not to try. I’ve bookmarked so many recipes from this beautiful book by the way – not only are the recipes intriguing but the instructions are clear, simple and easy to follow, which is one of the most important points for me when it comes to cookbooks…

According to John ‘this dish combines many taste sensations’ – and it certainly does. Plums are roasted in syrup with fresh bay leaves, pink peppercorns, star anise and used vanilla beans – the smell while roasting is exotic and excites your taste buds :)

Refreshing honey and yoghurt ice-cream is served with the plums, it sounded delicious even without the fruit and it really was. Addition of creme fraiche gives it a richer flavour and I’m thinking about infusing herbs for this recipe next time.

Bay leaf Anglaise sauce complements this dessert – since trying Claudia Fleming’s bay leaf creme caramel, I’ve been hooked by this fresh bay and custard combination – I now enjoy bay leaf ice-cream too (will try to post about it) and this flavour indeed gives more depth without being overpowering.

And toasted brioche for the base – I went for the ‘middle-class’ version recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart – this book is becoming one of my bread bibles as well as the first and second of Dan Lepard’s books and also Ursula Ferrigno’s. Speaking of Dan Lepard, I’ve been meaning to post about his demonstration at last year’s Ludlow food & drink festival – he wasn’t just an excellent baker but also SO nice that he makes you feel everyone can bake, which encouraged me lots :)

The ratio for the middle-class brioche is 50-50 butter and flour – the dough is chilled overnight in the fridge and although it’s easier to deal with than the ‘rich man’s’ version (which has a much higher butter content, Joycelyn made gorgeous things with it), you still need to work quickly while the dough is still very cold.

The recipe for the dessert says that you can use a light sponge cake instead of the brioche – and I actually thought this might be a better option, but the almost crunchy brioche really gives another dimension to the dessert and I loved the rich buttery taste with the fruit and cream.

I was anxious about too many flavours overpowering each other – they are all there, but just enough to give an undertone of the taste of each, and I loved the kick from the pink peppercorns too. I’m sure other stone fruit would be lovely for this, such as apricots or peaches.

Food - Sweet        47 comments    Permalink

  • The plums look divine and the brioche, mouth-watering! Keiko, I’m going to visit my sister in London for a few days. Do you know of any farmers’ markets and good (and affordable) restaurants you would recommend? Thanks in advance! :D

    Posted by maria~ | 21 July 2006 #
  • hi keiko, simply too beautiful...i’ve been eagerly waiting to see what you would do with the peter reinhart brioche - as always,it is beyond one’s limited imaginings, gorgeous beyond belief! i’m also so glad to hear you like the campbell book - me too :) i love how he breaks down his complex recipes into easy do-able steps and crystal clear instructions

    Posted by Joycelyn | 21 July 2006 #
  • Hihi, Ive got the same little wood box for my brioches !! wonderful photos as usual, fantastic even!!!

    Posted by mercotte | 21 July 2006 #
  • Amazing Keiko!I haven’t tried bay leaves in desserts but I can’t wait...Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    Did you know Turkish bay leaves are quite famous? Have you tried them? You can ask Cenk to send you some...:))

    Posted by Baking Fairy | 21 July 2006 #
  • Delicious post Keiko. This looks so good i’m considering buying Formulas for Flavours.

    Posted by fanny | 21 July 2006 #
  • I don’t think I have ever had bay leaf in a sweet dish. I am extremely intigued. Claudia Fleming’s book sounds amazing. I also linked to your apricot and match mousse cake. That is a dessert I’ll be dreaming about tonight. Thanks for doing such detailed and interesting recipes in your blog!

    Posted by Julie | 21 July 2006 #
  • Wow, you are awesome as are your photos.

    Love the way you write about the flavors!

    Posted by Tanna | 21 July 2006 #
  • Wow! That looks stunning!

    Posted by bron | 21 July 2006 #
  • Oh, it’s really gorgeous and yours pictures are amazing...

    Posted by Fabienne | 21 July 2006 #
  • Keiko, I love plums but have never had them roasted. Sounds delicious. As for brioche, I LOVE brioche and still have not found a good recipe.I have seen quite a few good reviews about this book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

    Posted by Valentina | 22 July 2006 #
  • mmm...this sounds great! Hope you keep cool! We’re experiencing heavy rains here with landslides and flooding, but of course, it is still humid!!

    Posted by Kat | 22 July 2006 #
  • p.s. congratulations on the mention in the Chicago Tribune.,1,562700.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

    Posted by Kat | 22 July 2006 #
  • Look at the plums Gorgeous colors ! Fresh bay leaves look so good.

    Posted by krithika | 22 July 2006 #
  • Keiko,

    Where did you find those great little bread baskets?

    Plus, I was reading through a May issue of Olive and found a mention for you.....WOW!!!

    Are you doing more writing for publications?

    Great post!



    Posted by Melissa | 22 July 2006 #
  • i’ve just found your site and i think that i am in love...hehe. your food looks just deee-lish! and the photos are just so apetizing. you should really make a book of your own. we made brioche all the time in my baking class at culinary school. i couldnt get enough of it.

    for the roast plums, the star anise isnt too over powering? i envy your book collection. i have more than a few, but yours puts mine to shame. thanks sharing all this beauty with us, keiko! keep up the great work!

    Posted by elyssa | 22 July 2006 #
  • I would have never thought that these flavours would go together... but you’ve definitely done them justice!

    Posted by Bonnie | 22 July 2006 #
  • Hey in West Africa - Accra we dont really have much variety of fresh fruits besides banana, mango ,pineapple(which r the best here),watermelon,oranges and apples.If we’re lucky,sometimes we may find some pears and peaches or seasonal fruit when they bring them in from Lebanon, but really expensive.So i was wondering that since u’re such a great Cook + photographer who makes cooking these beautiful desserts look so easy....that if u could share some idea n recipes with these basic would be gr8...thnx

    Posted by Kate | 22 July 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Another delicious recipe, an other amazing photo! Will you post ice cream recipe? We adore honey and yoghurt flavor, but I am not totally sure about the ingredients. I will be greatfull if you post it’s recipe! Thanks!

    Posted by Zeynep Seda | 23 July 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Looks absolutely delicious!

    I love plums but it’s winter over here in Melbourne so there’s none about at the moment.. will have to keep this in mind when summer comes about. :)

    Posted by ilingc | 24 July 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, these photos are so beautiful, and I’m very intrigued by the combination of flavors with the roasted plums. In fact, you’ve mentioned Campbell’s book so many times by now that I’m seriously tempted to buy a copy for myself...

    Posted by melissa | 24 July 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, another beautiful creation - with lovely photos to match! The toasted brioche sounds like the perfect accompaniment. Here’s hoping the heat wave lets off soon - but keep enjoying that delicious ice-cream in the meantime!

    Posted by gilly | 24 July 2006 #
  • Roasted plums and bay leaf--intriguing! I’m on a basil kick right now-just had some strawberry sorbet with sweet basil sauce. I think my friends are urging me to get off that particular trend. Maybe I’ll have to stock up on bay leaves now. As always, thanks Keiko!

    Posted by Kevin | 24 July 2006 #
  • I love the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. When I first looked at it I was overwhelmed by the steps and time all the recipes required and it just sat on the shelf for a while. But I finally got it out again and it hasn’t gone back since. I haven’t tried the brioche yet, but I definitely want to.

    Posted by Natalia | 25 July 2006 #
  • Dear Keiko,

    I’ve been waiting to write till I got my blog off the ground. Your work has been my sole inspiration from the beginning - it is polished, professional, and your photos are stunning. I noticed in your bio that you want to travel to South America. For a little inspiration, go to (no www in front). I hope you like what you find.

    Un abrazo desde Bolivia,


    Posted by Eric | 25 July 2006 #
  • Keiko,I can’t find the words to explain how much splendid is the second picture...

    Posted by ooishigal | 25 July 2006 #
  • Keiko - the first picture is amazing, I love the sultry colours!!! I’m now keen to rush out and buy all those books you mention, but with the imminent move back home I seriously have to restrain myself, or I’ll end up paying way tooooo much for shipping all those cookbooks!

    PS Where do you get those cute wooden baskets for baking your brioche? I’ve been looking high and low for them without luck:(

    Posted by Pille | 25 July 2006 #
  • ever the temptress, in a very good way of course! :)

    Posted by Lil | 25 July 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko

    Photos look amazing. I am sure the taste is even better. I would have never imagined bay leaves in a dessert like this. Very original. As Bakıng Fairy said Turkish bay leaves are quite popular. They are quite strong though. We usually use it in fish dishes and just 1 or 2 makes the whole dish smell wonderful.

    Posted by Cenk | 25 July 2006 #
  • Coucou Keiko,

    It’s so nice to see you whenever you visit my blog :-) your words have been encouraging to say the least, but it’s true I’ve been wanting to eat eat eat esp. all those recipes you’ve been sharing with us here. It’s true the climate in So. France isn’t helping with my big appetite...:-) Too hot to eat a lot..., so I’ve been making fruit salad, green salad with everything I can put in it and cream yeah, we’ve been getting a scoop of ice-cream pretty often lately at night after I close the shop...I think of your successful ice-cream machine...maybe we should buy one ourselves ;-P We’ll see...let me know when you come visit So. of’d be more than lovely to meet you finally :-)

    Posted by Maya | 25 July 2006 #
  • Exquisite!

    Thank you Keiko :)

    Posted by parisbreakfast | 26 July 2006 #
  • I had not heard of John Campbell until today when I saw him on TV prepare slowly cooked salmon which was immersed in oil. Would you recommend his book Keiko?

    Posted by Barbara | 26 July 2006 #
  • love the vibrancy of your post, love the plum dessert, love the photos!

    Posted by steffles | 26 July 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    I tried to email you at the address on your blog, but my email got sent back. Anyway, I noticed on your blog that you are reading "the Accidental Foodie". I was wondering how that book was? I’m thinking about ordering it from here in Japan, since the U.S.Amazon doesn’t have it.

    Hope you are keeping cool.


    Posted by Kat | 26 July 2006 #
  • I just realise that it can get real hot in europe too. its 40C in full summertheat at france now! wow!!! but may i know what do communting in the tube got to do with the weather?

    never have fruits with spices before.hmmm .. maybe i did, but it probably far too rare to remember any :P this did looks REAL interesting to me although I’m not too sure if i will like the star anise :)

    I always find something new to learn from your blog. now i’m stunned at this "middle class" brioche?? seriously, you mean there is class system even for brioche now??? ;P

    Posted by slurp! | 26 July 2006 #
  • wonderful delicious looking pictures, plums have never looked as good as in this post.. and thanks for opening my eyes to the possibility of pairing spices with fruits.. would never have believed peppercorns, bay leaves and anise complement the fruity flavors of plums!

    Posted by eatzycath | 26 July 2006 #
  • This has nothing to do with food, I was just so shocked how similar your design and this site is: I knew of yours before and was really amaxed by your simple design, is it a template??

    Posted by Lexi | 26 July 2006 #
  • You have the late Spanish chef Felip Roja at a place then called the Ballroom in NYC to thank for bay leaf creame carmel. As i recall he might have also included cracked Black peppercorn.

    Posted by James Van Dyk | 26 July 2006 #
  • hey, i just found your blog today, and it is wonderful! your pics are amazing. Just wanted to say, keep it up! i will be visiting this blog regulary.

    Posted by Reamika | 26 July 2006 #
  • ur pictures have an ability to bring tears to my eyes,

    thanks for the heartfelt feelings

    Posted by shuyii | 27 July 2006 #
  • gosh Keiko -san! thanks so much for taking time to visit, (very much honoured). the tako tastes as good as it loOks, u’d probably must drop by to try some someday!:)

    Posted by shuyii | 27 July 2006 #
  • Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your kind notes.

    Maria - if you have only a few days, it’s got to be Borough Market. As for restaurants I might not be the best person to ask :) but I can help you if you let me know what kind of things you like - please email me.

    Joycelyn - I’m pretty sure I bought the book after I read your beautiful post ;) I’m glad you agree on the usability of it - all of the recipes are quite complicated but his clear instructions don’t make you feel overwhelmed :) I’m looking forward to trying other recipes already.

    Baking fairy, Cenk - thank you for the info about Turkish bay leaves, I’m definitely intrigued by them, and already looking forward to trying them with fish - it sounds gorgeous! (hope I can find them around here)

    Julie - I didn’t seem to find your apricot/matcha cake on your site, let me know where it is :)

    Valentina - highly recommended :)

    Kat - glad you got my email about the book, when you said I thought you were talking about the US site, but you can get it from amazon Japan - which is great! Let me know what you think when you get a copy. Hope you’re surviving the heat!

    Melissa - I actually didn’t buy them, they all came from my favourite bakeries and I’ve just been reusing them. They are just right size for me, not too big or small :)

    Elyssa - I’m not a big fan of star anise so I used about half of the quantity that the recipe suggests - the plums themselves have quite a strong flavour so the spices, including star anise, don’t overpower them. If you’re using more delicate fruit you might want to use fewer spices. As for the book collection, I feel ashamed as I don’t use many of the books I have... Do you work in a professional kitchen now? Look forward to hearing more about it some time :)

    Kate - you must have some of the best fruit there, I’d love to visit one day... I’ve just tried a drink recipe with bananas, it’s not the main ingredient but I enjoyed it - will post about it soon!

    Seda - similar to making normal custard based ice-cream. Whisk 5 egg yolks with 50g sugar in a bowl. Heat 50g honey, 125ml milk and 50g creme fraiche in a pan and pour over the egg mixture. Add 225g yoghurt when it’s cool and churn in a machine. Easy and delicious, hope you enjoy it.

    Ilingc - hope you’re enjoying warm wintery hearty food :)

    Melissa - this is actually the first time I mentioned this book :) Although I feel lots more posts coming up from it...

    Gilly - the crunchy brioche gives a really good contrast and texture to the dessert!

    Kevin - oh I like your trend :) Looking forward to seeing some of your beautiful creations!

    Natalia - I was just like you - I knew it was a good book but was put off by the apparent complexity of it all - but once I tried it I found that his instructions are easy to follow and of course, good results too :)

    Eric - thank you so much for letting me know about your site, I instantly fell in love with it - absolutely gorgeous! You’ve made me want to visit there *even more* now (I was watching Motorcycle Diaries again the other day :)) looking forward to reading more of your beautiful posts.

    Pille - I didn’t know you’re going back that soon, we must meet up before you leave. The baskets actually came from my favourite bakeries and I’ve just been reusing them. Hope all is well.

    Lil - I’ve learnt a new word :)

    Maya - I always enjoy visiting your site and learning something new from you. I really hope we can go back to the South of France soon, I’ll let you know. Take care and try to eat well.

    Barbara - highly recommended :)

    Slurp - oh I’m sorry I didn’t put enough explanation there - the London tube is one of the most unpleasant places to be especially during the summer (most trains don’t have air conditioning) - hot, smelly, dirty and often not working! Why do you have to pay £3 (more than 5 US$) just for a single ticket for this kind of extremely poor service? (I’ll stop here otherwise I get carried away :)) As for the brioche, he just named it that to emphasise the relative butter content.

    Lexi - I’m using a photoblog system called pixelpost (you can find the link on the right hand side of this page) but I designed the template. Mae liked my site design so I gave her some advice on it :)

    James - thank you for the info, I was actually going to try a black peppercorn ice-cream, I’ll post about it when I do!

    Shuyii - your site is lovely, and of course the tako balls look great ;)

    Posted by keiko | 27 July 2006 #
  • Your photos are so really amazing, they´re almost too good to cook from. Love them.

    Posted by Lobstersquad | 28 July 2006 #
  • Can we start a petition to get Keiko a book deal? This gorgeous site makes my (and my mother’s) day, and I always return to it for some inspiration. I feel guilty getting so much for free! Thanks Keiko.

    Posted by Louise | 28 July 2006 #
  • Dear Keiko,

    I found your website as I was searching the internet for new dessert ideas and I am so impressed by your talent. Your pastry skills are so inventive and I love the combinations of flavors you bring to your dishes. They are a real creative twist on classics. Are you currently a pastry chef at a restaurant?

    If you are ever in Chicago, I would love to show you around the dining scene here.

    Your site is an inspiration!


    Posted by Daniel | 28 July 2006 #
  • Keiko, you really have a magic eye. Third photo is pure joy. Thank you

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 30 July 2006 #
  • Beautiful photos, as always! I felt so proud when I found your site and chika’s mentioned in that articule in the Chicago Tribune. Congrats!

    It’s really hot here, too... It was over 38C on Sat. in a town not too far from where I live now.

    Posted by obachan | 31 July 2006 #
  • Keiko, such lovely photos as ever! Herai ne! Congrats on the Chicago Tribune blurb, that’s one for your press book ;-)

    Posted by Vivilicious | 31 July 2006 #

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