Prunes steeped in warm honey with a touch of Pedro Ximenez sherry, stirred through folds of gently whipped cream, make for a simple and elegant dessert. Make as I do – more than you need – for they are also lovely spooned over vanilla ice-cream, or paired with a robust sheep's- milk cheese. I have also been known to eat this on toast with lashings of unsalted butter, and I keep a jar in the fridge during the cooler months.
For the prunes in syrup
250ml/8 fl oz Pedro Ximenez sherry
240ml/71/2fl oz water
500g/1lb soft black prunes, stones intact
Place the honey and water in a small saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring frequently until the honey has just melted. Remove from the stove. Place the prunes in a jar and pour over the warmed honey, adding the Pedro Ximenez at the same time. It is important that the prunes are completely covered by the liquid.
Cover with the lid and secure tightly. Give the bottle a couple of shakes, allow to cool to room temperature, and then set in the fridge. Left well covered in a cool place, they will keep almost indefinitely.
560ml/18fl oz double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Approx 500g/1lb of syrupy prunes
Remove the stones from the prunes and slice roughly. Gently whip the cream until just soft and billowing. Fold in the icing sugar and vanilla extract, and then, just before serving, stir in the prunes, adding a tablespoon or two of their liquid. Delicious served with buttery, barely sweet biscuits such as langues de chat.