Plums, basil, almond milk jelly, and watermelon

3:10 pm on 26 January 2018
Plums, basil, almond milk jelly, and watermelon

Plums, basil, almond milk jelly, and watermelon Photo: supplied

Plums, basil, almond milk jelly, and watermelon

Basil's aniseed tones work especially well with plums. It's one of our most popular sodas, but we find ourselves using it in desserts too.
The basil-scented plums are good by themselves, but can be incorporated into more complex dishes like this one, with watermelon and almond jelly. Almonds and stone fruit are natural partners, unsurprisingly - they're closely related. Use Black Doris plums if you can; they have a flavour particularly redolent of almond.
The textural contrast between all these elements is the key to this dish's success, so try to serve all the components very cold.
For the almond milk jelly, start a day ahead - the almonds need to be soaked in water overnight.

1 cup water
a few sprigs basil
10 dark plums (Black Doris if available) 1⁄2 cup sugar
Boil the water and pour it over the basil. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Halve the plums into a pot, and add the strained basil tea and sugar. Bring to a
simmer, and cook gently for about 8 minutes, or until the plums release their juice and are tender but still hold their shape. Chill well.
Almond Jelly
1 cup soaked blanched almonds, drained 1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
30 grams sugar
5 grams gelatin
Blend the almonds, milk, salt, and sugar in a food processor for two minutes. Pour into a cloth-lined sieve, and let the milk drain for 10 minutes.
Gather up the edges of the cloth and twist them together, squeezing as much milk from the almonds as possible.
Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tablespoon of cold water, and set it aside.

Warm the almond milk gently, and add the soaked gelatin. Mix well, until the
gelatin is totally dissolved. Pour into a flat dish, and put it in the fridge to set.

Cut a watermelon into quarters. Use a spoon to scoop out chunks of watermelon, flicking away as many seeds as possible.

To serve
Cut the jelly into pieces. I usually make quite irregular, curved cuts to match the
uneven pieces of watermelon.
Transfer the jelly shapes carefully into a shallow bowl; fill in the gaps with the watermelon. Spoon the plums and their syrup over the top.


From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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