Here’s a great way to use up Italian prune plums you may have lingering in the fridge. Sweetened just a bit and roasted in the oven, their flavor is intensified, and the plums create a rich, tart sauce. Caramelized Italian plums make a great topping — spoon them on ice cream, pound cake, or rice pudding.
Don’t get me wrong. Prune plums are best eaten straight. In fact, before this fall, I’d never cooked with them. But, after pruning away the black knot fungus that had been choking my two plum trees last year, we wound up with a pretty good yield this year. And eventually I shoved a few dozen plums in a plastic grocery bag in the back of the fridge.
Since I’ve never caramelized/roasted plums before, what gave me the idea? Well, before I did this, I made a kind of craptacular plum tart. The plums tasted really good cooked, but the skins were an off-putting texture to have in a dessert, and kind of wrecked it overall. Which is why you haven’t heard a peep about the plum tart here until now.
So…why not roast just the plums, and see what happens? I poked around online a bit looking for some basic structure — oven temp, time, etc. — and stumbled across a Martha Stewart recipe that was just what I was looking for.
Oh, plus, I really needed to think up a sweet vols-au-vent filling, and I had a bunch of prune plums withering away in the fridge.
When I first prepared my prune plums this way, caramelizing them for the vols-au-vent filling, I had a pleasant surprise: when I took the plums out of the oven, the skins had separated from the flesh, and were easily picked off. Now you get the plum flavor without the texture conflict of the skin!
The picture of the plums in the pan is a half recipe. Use a cookie sheet, or half-sheet pan when making the full recipe.
caramelized italian plums
prep: 10 minutes
oven time: 15-20 minutes
to table: 30 minutes
servings: 4 to 6
oven temp: 400 degrees
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s “Roasted Italian Plums” recipe.
1-1/2 pounds Italian prune plums
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sugar
Slice the plums in half and remove the pits. The pits should come out very easily. If they do not, the plums aren’t ripe enough. Put the plums in a medium bowl.
In a custard cup or other small, microwaveable dish, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and add to the bowl of plums. Mix well, coating the plums with the butter and sugar mixture.
Place plums face down on a cookie sheet or other large, flat pan with sides. No need for parchment or greasing; they won’t stick to the pan. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Pull out the pan, and tug on one of the skins. It should come away from the flesh fairly easily. If it doesn’t, roast the plums a few minutes longer. You don’t want to have to mess around with pliers and a spoon like I had to last time when they weren’t done quite enough.
When done, either let the plums cool a bit and remove the skins with your fingers, or, if you just can’t wait, use tongs.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Be sure to scrape all the juices into the container as well — they’re the best part.
Consider caramelized prune plums as a chunky sort of fruit sauce. It’s good on ice cream, pound cake, with rice pudding, and should be pretty awesome stirred into plain or vanilla yogurt.
Or just eat them plain for an under 100 calorie snack. At 85 calories a serving, you could add 3 almonds to get some protein (okay, a teensy bit of protein) with it and still remain at 100 calories.
It was also good with lemon curd in the vols-au-vent.
Nutrition information: 85 calories; 2.2g fat; 5mg cholesterol; 14mg sodium; 17.1g carbohydrate; 1.6g fiber; 15g sugars; 0.8g protein; 9% vitamin A; 18% vitamin C; 1% calcium; 1% iron