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This seasonal dessert makes the most of juicy plums whose sweetness is accentuated by the thyme crème anglaise (custard). I love homemade custard - infusing the milk beforehand with different herbs or spices gives you a wide range of flavours. If you prefer, you can exchange the thyme for cardamom.


For the plum gratin

5 – 6 ripe plums - stoned and halved

50g hazelnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

15g brown sugar

10g butter

For the thyme custard

150ml full fat milk

150ml double cream

3 free-range egg yolks

30g caster sugar

4 sprigs of thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 350f/ Gas mark 4

  2. Bring the milk, cream and thyme sprigs to the boil. When it has boiled, remove from the heat and allow the thyme to infuse the cream mixtures.

  3. Butter a small oven proof dish and arrange the plum halves in the bottom.

  4. Crush the hazelnuts in a mortar and pestle or small food processor.

  5. Mix with the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the plums

  6. Bake in the oven for 30 min.

  7. In the meantime, prepare the thyme crème anglaise by sieving the thyme from the cream mixture.

  8. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and creamy in a heat-proof bowl.

  9. Reheat the cream mixture in a clean pan.

  10. If the cream mixture is too hot, the egg yolks will cook and the mixture will become lumpy. Cool slightly and whisk well.

  11. Whilst whisking, slowly pour the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

  12. Pour this back into the pan and whisk over a low heat until thick and creamy.

  13. Serve the thyme crème anglaise immediately with the baked plums.

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