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Accidents happen everywhere, especially in the kitchen. Some of them end up in the trash, but more than a few leave cooks scrambling for pen and paper so they can recreate what they did.
I meant to make caramel ice cream. I underestimated the amount of sugar I needed for the volume of dairy, and on top of that, I undercaramelized the sugar I did use (I blame the long pre-opening prep session at the restaurant). I did one thing right, though, adding a split vanilla bean to the sugar before setting it on the stove. Turns out, sugary toasted vanilla bean smells a lot like toasted marshmallow. Did I invent a totally new flavor? Probably not. But did I do something interesting, new-to-me and, most importantly, delicious? Heck yes!
I'd already purchased a large variety of differently colored plums from a local produce store: green, black, yellow, red and a couple of gorgeous plumcots. I wanted to see how'd they be all roasted together with a little spice and a dash of bourbon. I recently realized I'd never made a plum dessert, which is odd because they are probably my favorite stone fruit to eat fresh out of hand. They lost some of their color difference, and some varieties break down completely while others stay almost whole, but they make a gorgeous red sauce that is equally good in an old fashioned as it is over ice cream.
And luckily for me, toasted vanilla goes just as well with roasted plums as caramel does.
About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.