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Sago with caramel plums

Frank Camorra
Frank Camorra

Sago, a form of starch extracted from tropical palm trees, has a reputation for being dull and stodgy. But it doesn't have to be that way. The first sago I ever had was flavoured with lemon custard and topped with vanilla ice cream – a delicious combination of flavours and textures. Here it stars in an updated old-school dessert topped with plums; fresh figs can also be used as they are coming into season.

Summer pudding: Sago with caramel plums.
Summer pudding: Sago with caramel plums. Photo: Marcel Aucar


3/4 cup sago

2 cups coconut milk

65g brown sugar

8 lemon verbena leaves

80g castor sugar

60ml marsala wine

500g red plums, split and deseeded



1. Bring 2 litres of water to the boil and add the sago. Stir constantly for 8-10 minutes, until the pearls lose their white centre. Drain the sago in a sieve, then rinse with cold water to wash some of the starch away.

2. Keep the water running through the sago until it is cold. Let the sago sit and drain off all the water.

3. Put the coconut milk in a saucepan and heat with the brown sugar and verbena leaves. When it comes to the boil, turn off the heat and infuse for 10 minutes.

4. Pour the sago into a bowl, then pour the coconut mixture through a sieve into the sago and mix well.

5. Pour the mix into four or five glasses or other containers and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

6. Put the castor sugar in a small saucepan, cook over a gentle heat until the sugar caramelises, then add the marsala then the plums. Cook for 5 minutes or until the plums stew a little, then let them cool before serving.

To serve: Spoon some stewed plums over the sago and serve.

Tip: Keep an eye on the sago to make sure the balls go clear – if they are still white they will have a hard centre.

Main ingredient:
Modern Australian
Dinner Party, Family meals

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