Stone fruits are without a doubt my most favourite members of the fruit family. Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries and all the crazy hybrids in between: luscious.
There is no more decadent food eating experience in my mind, than a perfect perfect perfect peach, eaten on a hot day with peach juice turning to a sticky residue all over your hands. But, alas, it’s not that easy to always get a perfect specimen, which is where cooking comes in.
Stone fruits are my favourite, not just because they taste fantastic, but because they respond to cooking like a dream. A singularly hard and unjuicy plum becomes sweet and soused when it’s had 20 minutes in the oven.
The plum juices flow out and slightly caramelise and taste just as delicious, if not better than when they are at their peak off the tree. Stone fruit is the one thing that gets me through the summer here in Australia, with it’s 43C/109F days…my pale pale skin just can’t cope.
So with all that talk of lusciousness and decadence, I suppose I should come clean and admit that this compote is part of my ‘time of restraint’ this January. You know what I mean? I’m not going to go crazy and throw words around like ‘diet’ or ‘healthy eating’ or ‘resolutions’, no.
This is merely a time of restraint. But restraint need not mean I miss out on deliciousness! It just means that instead of my usual toast-bonanza in the AM, I’ll have a little pile of plum compote on some no-fat greek yoghurt. Delicious, right? It’s like a breakfast sundae.
Of course, some granola or muesli would be great in there too, and I may make some in the next week or two, just to ring the changes. Otherwise my ‘time of restraint’ (patent pending), is all about healthy things on toast for lunch (balsamic beet greens with parmesan, anyone?), and then our usual for dinner, with a bit of an eye on portion sizes.
Of course the reason that I’m doing all this is so that I can continue to roll out the CRAZY DESSERTS here on The Sugar Hit. Of course.
No plums? Any other stone fruit would be perfect, as would strawberries, blackberries, or even a very expensive, but heavenly raspberry version. On the cheaper end of the scale, you could make a delicious apple or pear version, though I would recommend covering the pan for the first 20 minutes of roasting.
You can always go crazy on the flavourings too – different spices, like cinnamon or star anise would be delicious, or better yet, some citrus zest sprinkled on top. Maple syrup is a reliable stand in for honey, as always.
As per usual, I have given you way too many ideas. So in conclusion I will say: make this. It is delicious. And I hope your New Year is off to a great start!
Black Plum Compote with Vanilla and Honey
An original recipe by Sarah Coates for The Sugar Hit
This amount makes enough for about a week’s worth of breakfasts for me.
6 black plums
1/4 cup of honey
1 vanilla bean
yoghurt, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Wash and halve the plums, removing the stones if they are loose, and place into an oven proof dish. If the stones are not loose, it’s easiest to leave them in and remove them after cooking. Place the honey into a small bowl, and then split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds into the honey. Mix well, and then pour the vanilla-honey over the plums along with the scraped out bean. Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes, take the plums out and give everything a baste with the pan juices, then turn the oven down to 180C/375F and roast for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool, and serve with yoghurt.