You might recall that I'd been pondering what to do with the punnet and a half of large purple plums that were roosting malevolently in the fridge.
I'd originally bought these plums for Son & heir to take to school for a break time snack (one at a time - not all at once!), however he'd neatly circumvented this well-intentioned idea by taking a chocolate biscuit instead. By the time we'd worked out that this was going on, we had a surfeit of plums that were past their best and had to devise a new home for the chocolate biscuits.
As for what to use the plums for, well, that was easy. There were obvious choices such as plum crumble, or plum pie, or even a plum cobbler. All very delicious - right up until you remember that I'm supposed to be off carbs as much as is humanly possible. Now I do try to not be selfish, but I'll be blowed if I'm going to spend my time cooking a lovely dessert and not be able to eat any of it!
Now my Mum had prepared a lovely light dessert for when we visited last weekend. She'd baked halved nectarines with honey and bay leaves, together with raspberries and blueberries - which was completely gorgeous and perfect for anyone conscious of what they're eating. It was even suitable for diabetics, so long as the honeyed juices were left in the serving dish.
So that got me to pondering on my plums. I'd bought a punnet of cranberries to use in Red Cabbage with Cranberries (due for dinner tomorrow, with the Corned Beef Pie) but it was obvious that I had way too many cranberries for just that recipe, so I could afford to use a few with the plums.
Bearing in mind the time of year - just coming up to Christmas, when I considered what flavourings to put with the plums, cinnamon sprang immediately to mind quickly followed by a pinch of mace for that sharper note. I pondered for a moment or two on using a little spiced rum as well, but in the end, opted for taking a little zest from an orange and using the juice as the moisture base. I thought that the citrus would match up well with the mace - and indeed I was right. However, if you don't have any mace but do have some spiced rum - go ahead and use it, because I'm sure it would be fab.
The next problem was what to sweeten the whole with. Bearing in mind the diabetes, I was loath to use plain old granulated sugar. Remembering my Mum's recipe, I opted for honey. Yes, it's all sugar - but honey is (apparently) better for diabetics and considering hubby is only just diabetic, as I say, so long as he keeps the sugary juices in the serving dish, he'd be fine.
Well, what a triumph this was. Incredibly simple to prepare, lavish to look at and gorgeous on the palate - especially with a spoonful of creme fraiche. I'll very definitely be making this - and ones like it with different fruit - again. Better than a pot of (albeit very nice) yoghurt for dessert!
CINNAMON PLUMS WITH CRANBERRIES (feeds 3-4)
6 big fat purple plums
a handful of cranberries
half a tsp of ground cinnamon
a pinch of mace
zest & juice of one orange
3-4 tsp runny honey.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180deg C/350deg F/Gas 4.
2. Slice and remove the stone from the plums. Place the slices, cut side up, into a baking dish. Add the cranberries randomly around the dish.
3. Sprinkle the fruit with the cinnamon & mace, then grate the orange zest over.
4. Juice the orange into the dish - it doesn't matter if it washes some of the spices off - it will all add to the flavours.
5. Drizzle the lot with the honey, then place into the oven for 30-40 minutes.
6. When the time is up, check that the plums are soft but whole. Remove and allow to cool slightly, then serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche.