A seasonal recipe from Nigel Slater. You will have Damsons and custard left over so whip up some more cream the next day and treat yourself to a Fool.
Check the damsons over for any leaves or unsound fruits, removing the stalks as you go. Tip the fruit into a stainless-steel or enamel saucepan (ie not aluminium), add the sugar and water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the fruit is soft, the skins are starting to peel off and the syrup is deep purple. Set aside to cool.
Make the custard. Put the egg yolks into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and a couple of drops of vanilla extract and whisk for a minute or two until pale yellow. Warm the cream in a nonstick saucepan then, just before it boils and rises up the sides of the pan, pour it into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Mix thoroughly, rinse and dry the saucepan then pour the mixture back into the pan and place over a moderate heat. Heat the cream and egg mixture, stirring almost constantly, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Stir deeply into the corners of the pan to lessen the risk of curdling.
Once the custard has thickened, cool it quickly, still stirring, and set aside. A good way to do this is to pour the mixture into a clean, cold mixing bowl and whisk lightly or stir until the steam has gone.
Go through the cooked damsons and remove and discard the stones. Break the sponge fingers into short pieces and push into the bottoms of four large tumblers or glasses, then spoon over about half of the stoned damsons and their juice. The sponge should be well soaked, with no dry patches. Set aside to chill.
Once the custard is cool, spoon it over the damsons so that it comes two thirds of the way up the glasses. Reserve any remaining custard in the fridge. Whisk the cream until thick then place a large spoonful on top of each custard pot, add a crystallised rose petal or two to each and serve.