I had no idea what a damson was until September this year. This ancient and sour plum does not grow in Australia, so I was thrilled when friend’s Randolph and Lalu showed me their damson tree a few weeks ago. That was a big foraging weekend, so the damsons went straight into the freezer, until I figured out what to do with them.
According to my recently purchased copy of Forgotten Fruits, by Christopher Stocks, damsons likely originated close to the the Syrian city of Damascus. Damsons are too sour to eat raw and therefore often used in cooking and jam making. Historically the juice was also used by the textile industry.
A quick internet search indicates damsons can be used to make damson gin, vodka and beer, and to make jam. But it was a recipe for damson bread and butter pudding that caught my eye. Bread and butter pudding is one of Kristoph’s favourite desserts, so this damson version was potentially a household hit.
I modified the recipe slightly, here’s my version.
8 thin slices white loaf, crusts removed
150g fresh or frozen damsons (I used frozen and thawed them over night)
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
200g caster sugar
400ml single cream
Step 1: Grease and sugar a six-inch by four-inch ovenproof dish.
Step 2: Butter each slice of bread. Cut each in half to make triangles.
Step 3: Remove the damson stones.
Step 4: Layer with the bread, a good sprinkling of sugar, damsons, bread, sugar damsons, etc, until the bread, the damsons, and half of the sugar, are used up. Sprinkle the top with sugar.
Step 5: Beat the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and remaining caster sugar in a bowl. Heat the cream to just before boiling. Pour it over the eggy mixture and stir gently.
Step 6: Pour the eggy mixture over the pudding, and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Step 7: Place the pudding dish in a baking dish filled with water. Cook for 40 minutes until the custard sets.
Do you have any great damson recipes? If so, please leave them in the comments box. I’d love to try them.