Ravneet Gill’s recipe for damson and almond pie

I realised recently that a lot of my mates don’t know what damsons are. When I launched my online cookery school, Damson Jelly, a lot of people were like: what’s a damson? I love these little plums so much and adore them for their short season, rarity and versatility. They are so representative of seasonality here in the UK, and are to be cherished. I make damson cheese, jelly, jams, and eat them as they are, while here is a baked custard pie/brioche base hybrid that is a really fun thing for a dinner party. It’s low effort and maximum flavour.

Prep 40 min
Infuse 2 hr
Cook 30 min
Serves 8

10g unsalted butter, softened or melted, for brushing
400g sliced brioche
almonds, skin on
300ml double cream
whole milk
300g damsons
(or plums)
150g caster sugar
250g cream cheese
1 generous pinch
flaky salt
Zest of 1 lemon

egg yolks (80g in total)
50g roasted flaked almonds
Icing sugar
, to serve

Brush a shallow, 25cm casserole dish with butter, then line it with the sliced brioche, using your fingers to press the bread into the bottom and sides (don’t be afraid to squeeze it a bit, because you’re building a house for the baked custard, so it’s vital there are no gaps).

In a pan, toast the almonds for a few minutes until they get a slight colour, then add the cream and milk, and cook, stirring, until warm. Take off the the heat and leave to infuse at room temperature for two hours.

Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan )/375F/gas 5. Cut the damsons in half and remove the stones, then put in a bowl with 20g sugar and toss to coat.

Bring the cream mix back to a gentle simmer, then strain out the almonds. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar, salt and lemon zest, then stir in the egg yolks.

Pour the strained warm cream mixture over the egg yolks and mix until evenly combined. Pour into the brioche-lined dish, arrange the halved damsons on top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven – the custard should still have a very slight jiggle in the middle – and leave to cool for 30 minutes. Top with flaked almonds, dust with icing sugar and serve.

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