Spicy Plum Compote
and Ice Cream Cake
2 pounds red-skinned plums,
halved, pitted, each cut into
1 1/2 cups carménère or merlot wine
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
Grated peel of 1 orange
3/4 pound plain sponge cake
2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Place plums in a large bowl.
In a large saucepan, combine wine, water and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla
bean; add the pod, pink peppercorns and grated orange peel. Stir over medium
heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until reduced to 2 2/3 cups,
about 20 minutes. Pour the hot wine mixture over the plums. Let cool. Cover and chill
for 2 hours.
Line a 9-inch square cake pan with plastic wrap. Cut sponge cake into thin slices and
use half of the slices to line the bottom of the pan. Patch it where you must, but try to
keep the slices as large as possible.
Strain the compote through a colander and reserve the juices. Scatter half of the
compote over the cake, then spoon the ice cream on top, pushing it to the corners.
Smooth the top and then add the remaining compote. Cover with the remaining
slices of cake. Press down to compress the fruit and ice cream.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for a good hour. Remove the cake from the
freezer 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, remove the cake from the pan, dust with confectioners’ sugar and slice with
a large knife. Serve with the reserved compote juices. Makes 6-8 servings.
Tip: The cake will keep in the freezer for up to a week. Once it is frozen, remove it
from the pan and wrap in plastic freezer wrap and then foil.