Cut the plums into chunks and place in a pan with the vanilla,
While the plums are cooking you’ll need to cook the tapioca. Bring a litre of water to the boil and add the tapioca, stirring it to keep it separated. Boil for 10 minutes, then add a cup of cold water and bring back to the boil. Turn the heat to a gentle boil and cook for another 5 minutes, before adding another cup of cold water. Keep it boiling until most of the tapioca pearls have become translucent - although some will remain white in the centre. Drain into a fine sieve (they’re quite small when first cooked so don’t use a colander!) and refresh under gently running cold water for 20 seconds. Drain them again and mix into the puréed plum compote. Leave to cool then place covered in the fridge and leave for at least 6 hours, stirring occasionally. The tapioca will absorb the plum compote liquid and swell up into beautiful balls just like in the photo.
Turn the oven to 180°C. Cut the apricots in half lengthways and lay them cut-side facing up on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Remove the stones and wrap half of them in a tea towel or kitchen cloth. Using either a hammer or a pestle, gently but firmly hit them to crack them open. Remove the white inner kernel from the shell, then chop it roughly and mix with the remaining
Simply spoon some of the plum tapioca into a bowl and sit one or two apricot halves on top.
© 2010 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.