This is a very typical African dish, usually savoury but here made with South African plums to make a stunning dish for a dinner party dessert. You will need a 20cm spring-form cake tin with the bottom removed, and a flat baking tray.
10 South African plums, halved and pitted
100g caster sugar
2 star anise
4 sheets of filo pastry
250g ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp of date syrup (honey is a good alternative if you can’t find this)
50g pine nuts
20g poppy seeds
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
25 minutes, plus cooling
South African Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling) will work well with this dish. Riesling has adapted well to South African’s soil and climate. This grape variety produces very full and flavourful wines which will develop well with bottle ageing. The wines have a honeyed spicy nose and a flowery sweetness on the palate.
Wine recommendations by Wines of South Africa
- Preheat the oven to 200º C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6.
- Put the halved plums into a medium saucepan with 4tbsp water, the sugar, 25g of the butter and the star anise. Cook on a medium to low heat until the plums are poached, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Melt the remaining butter.
- Place the spring-form cake tin on the baking tray and brush the tin and baking tray below it with melted butter. Drape the first sheet of filo pastry over and into the cake tin. Brush the surface with melted butter. Do this with the other three sheets, criss-crossing them so that the entire inside of the cake tin is covered, but you have enough hanging over the sides to eventually cover the filling. Brush each layer with melted butter as you go.
- Mix the ricotta with the vanilla, date syrup (or honey) and pine nuts. Spread over the bottom of the cake tin. Remove the star anise from the plums, then spoon them into the cake tin, arranging them in an even layer.
- Cover the top of the pie by bringing up the hanging-down sides of filo and overlapping it on top of the pie. It doesn’t matter if it is crinkly and folded, as this is all part of the charm. Brush with melted butter.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, then carefully remove the spring-form tin and sprinkle the poppy seeds on top. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool briefly. With a spatula (or two) remove the pie from the baking tray and place on a decorative plate for serving. Sprinkle the top with a dusting of icing sugar, if you like.
Recipe created by Kerstin Rodgers, aka Ms Marmite Lover, award-winning author, blogger and supper club owner