Italian style prune plums are now bountiful at the market and I am thrilled about that even though whenever I see the first batch I know that summer is really over.
These plums are just okay to eat our of hand but give their all if you cook them. Fortunately, you can make them into some fabulous dessert in less than 20 minutes. So, even though tonight is a holiday for me, I am off to the local farmer’s market at 10:00 this morning to get a few pounds and poach them.
Prune plums aren’t around for long. Only through September. My Mom used to love them, especially if they were stewed and served with a thick syrup. Her mother served that dish frequently when we came to visit and my mother always wondered how she could find the plums to cook. It wasn’t until years went by that my grandma confessed she just opened a can of Del Monte’s.
I also LOVE stewed prune plums. Plain or with ice cream or sorbet. Here’s a recipe. You can see how easy it is and how good this is as a last-minute dessert. It’s easy for me to find lemongrass, so I use that as a seasoning, but orange or lemon slices make a nice substitute. Here’s the recipe from my book, Hip Kosher.
By the way, if you have the time, strain the poaching fluid and boil it down until it is thick and syrupy. Great “sauce” for the plums.
Clove and Lemongrass Poached Plums
1/2 cup sugar
16 whole cloves
outer leaves from 1 large stalk lemongrass OR 1 slice fresh orange or lemon
2 pounds Italian prune plums
Place the sugar, 1-1/2 cups water, cloves and lemongrass leaves in a large saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the ingredients for 10 minutes. Add the plums. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the fruit skins split and the plums are tender. Let the plums cool in the syrup. Serve plums plain, with some of the poaching liquid (strain it first) or with ice cream or sorbet. Makes 4-6 servings
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