My dad is a lover of fruit and each week he would return from the Italian club in Perth with trays of fruit while we were growing up. He would get in trouble with my mother as he could never stop at one tray and we used to have to give large portions of fruit away to our family friends.
As a young man in his home town of Quintodecimo, he would jump fences and steal fruit from the local Italian fruit growers… he would tell us that that fruit always tasted the sweetest.
My favourite memories of living at home with dad in Perth was when he would take ripe peaches and a knife (no plate or napkins) and sit on the couch cutting them into perfect portions and handing them out to us. I do miss after dinner fruit time with dad.
Scotty isn’t a lover of stone fruit or figs so it was fortuitous that when he was recently away for a work trip I saw the most perfect figs and sugar plums. I took this as a sign from the cosmos and snapped them up immediately.
When thinking about what to create with these fruity beauties I knew I wanted to make a dessert in honour of my father. I grilled the fruite and paired them with shortcrust pastry rounds and whipped mascarpone to create a wonderful dessert stack. These are so easy to make and would be impressive served at any dinner party – the perfect combination.
Now for a little disclaimer: I forgot to buy cream for the whipped mascarpone so I’ve amended the recipe to include it… it would be much smoother with it added.
Fig, Plum and Whipped Mascarpone Stack
24 sugar plums, halved with pips removed
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons good quality honey
1 packet vanilla shortcrust pastry (I always use Careme pastry when not making my own)
300g Mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/4 cup cream
Handful or crushed roasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven grill. Place the sugar plum halves face up on a tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Take the figs and cut a cross in the top of the figs halfway down. Place the figs on another tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey. Place both trays under the oven and grill until golden then remove and set aside.
Turn off grill and preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Defrost the vanilla pastry and taking a large cookie cutter cut twelve circles from the pastry and place them on a tray lined with baking paper. Put the tray in the oven and bake until golden (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a bowl place the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar, cream and remaining honey and beat until smooth and light.
To assemble the stacks, place a pastry round on the base and top with a little mascarpone, then top with 6 plum halves, top with another pastry round repeat with another layer of mascarpone and plums. Top with a third pastry round and add a dollop of whipped mascarpone to hold a roasted fig. Fill the fig with a little more mascarpone and ads a sprinkle of hazelnuts. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make three more stacks.