CINNAMON CORN PUDDING WITH STONE FRUIT SOUP

Four the soup:

  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 3 plums, stones removed and halved
  • 2 apricots, stones removed and halved
  • 3 nectarines, stones removed and halved
  • 2 peaches, stones removed and quartered
  • ½ banana, peeled and chopped
  • 3 figs, stemmed and halved
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1½ cups zinfandel
  • ¾ cup honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon to taste

For the pudding:

  • 2 cups milk                                  8 ounces heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar                                 3 eggs
  • 1 cinnamon stick                        2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup Italian Style Polenta      1 teaspoon sugar

For the sour mash cream:

  • 1¼ ounces heavy cream                       1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons Jim Beam to taste

For the garnish:

  • Fig quarters                                  Plum slices
  • Peach slices                                  Bing cherries
  • Nectarine slices                                       Mint

For the soup, combine spices, place in cheesecloth, and tie with string to form a sachet. In a large saucepan, combine the sachet, fruit, orange juice, wine and ½ cup of honey, place over low heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until fruit is very soft. Remove the sachet; pour the liquid and fruit into a blender and pure until smooth. Adjust the sweetness and acidity with the remaining honey and lemon juice, strain, and refrigerate until cool.

For the pudding, preheat oven to 300°. Bring milk, sugar and cinnamon stick to a boil. Remove pan from heat, stir in the polenta, return to medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently for 15 minutes until thickened. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream, eggs, yolks and sugar with a paddle on medium speed until smooth. Remove the cinnamon stick from the cooked polenta, pour into the cream mixture, and continue beating until cool. Place 8 oiled 2½" ring molds onto a sheet pan lined with oiled parchment. Fill the molds ¾ full with the polenta mixture and bake until slightly soft in the centers, approximately 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set sheet pan on a rack to cool for 3 minutes.

Four the sour mash cream, combine heavy cream and sugar and reduce by ½ over medium heat. Strain reduced mixture into a bowl, cook, and stir in the whiskey to taste.

To serve, unmold a warm pudding in the center of a shallow soup bowl and ladle some chilled fruit soup around it. Garnish with fruit slices, cherries, and mint and dot with sour mash cream.