Thinking back to then from now, I think we achieved the meal we'd hoped for. It was a September dinner in Ontario's farmland, even though it was August in the middle of the city. I'm grateful for those who shared in the making of it all.
And I'm so very happy to now share a part of it with you.
If you'd like a way to help with relief efforts for those effected by Sandy, the Red Cross may be a place to start.
And, I've not forgotten — for the copies of UPPERCASE issue 15, Mike and Lauren have been selected. Guys, I'll be in touch!
For this post, all photographs by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott and food by me. xo, pals.
(Be sure to check out Nikole's site for the corn recipe, it was a favourite! For those who asked, the glass cups for the dessert are egg coddlers; they are available at her shop.)
ICEWINE GELÉE WITH YOGURT MOUSSE AND PLUMS
While the recipe reads long, it isn’t especially complicated; the steps are spread out over the chilling time, with only short periods of activity.
The icewine gelée is intensely flavoured, balanced by the subtlety of the yogurt mousse. Sautéed plums are simple, yet luxuriously lush, gorgeous with their claret juice. The unexpected addition of fresh thyme, and grassy, extra-virgin olive oil, bring a fragrant richness, evocative of fall.
Grilled figs would be a lovely substitution for the plums. Or maybe fresh cranberries, cooked with sugar and orange zest, until they just burst and go juicy.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ready time: 3 1/2 hours (includes chilling time)
For the icewine gelée
- 1 sheet leaf gelatine, gold extra strength
- 100 ml icewine
For the yogurt mousse
- 2 sheets leaf gelatine, gold extra strength
- 1 cup greek yogurt (2% butterfat)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 cup heavy (whipping, 35%) cream, divided
For the plums
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, not extra virgin
- 8 small, firm plums, each cut into eight wedges
- 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar, or thereabouts, depending on sweetness of fruit
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 1 small sprig thyme, left whole, plus more for garnish
- Extra-virgin olive oil and store bought amaretti or other crisp biscuits
For the gelée, soak the gelatine in a shallow dish of cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, gently warm the wine in a saucepan over medium-low heat until under a simmer; do not boil. Remove from the heat, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and whisk into the warm wine until dissolved. Divide the wine mixture between six 1-cup-capacity cups and refrigerate gelées for 1 hour.
To make the mousse, soak gelatine in a shallow dish of cold water for 5 minutes.
While gelatine is softening, stir yogurt, honey and vanilla seeds together in a small bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons heavy cream into a small saucepan and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip remaining cream to firm peaks.
Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and melt in the small saucepan with the reserved cream over low heat, stirring to combine. Whisk this into the yogurt mixture and then fold in the whipped cream. Spoon yogurt mousse into the dessert cups, on top of the icewine layer, filling to a generous two-thirds full. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
To prepare the plums, warm olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add plums, sugar and salt. Cook, shaking the pan gently and turning the fruit with care, until plums begin to soften, around 3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, add the thyme sprig and stir. Let cool for 5 minutes.
To serve, remove thyme from plums and spoon fruit on top of prepared mousses. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil, passing the amaretti cookies and any remaining fruit at the table.
Note: We used the Cabernet Franc icewine from Henry of Pelham in the gelée for its beautiful colour and acidity. Peller Estate’s Private Reserve Icewine Vidal makes for a rich, golden gelée, and affords a more modestly-priced option.