Plum Compote with Rosemary

Plum Compote with Rosemary

We can never have enough dessert, can we? I comfort myself with that thought today as I push aside a blog post I planned to finish, in place of this lovely fresh dessert. You see, yesterday our freezer went on strike, or just plain quit, or read the horoscope and discovered that Mercury is in retrograde which is usually accompanied by massive appliance malfunctions, and decided to hop on the bandwagon. Whatever the cause, we woke this morning to a freezer filled with completely thawed food. So, instead of the shiny bright post I planned to write today, I spent the morning cooking meat – lots of defrosted meat – in a simple ragoût that I will use at a later point for pasta sauce and stews. That’s provided we can get the freezer working again so I can freeze it. Otherwise, we will be enjoying some pretty hefty dinners in the next few nights. Which makes this dessert even more welcome in its simplicity and lightness.

In my last post, I featured apricots it their glorious simplicity, lightly adorned with  a sprinkle of sugar. In this post, I do something equally simple with plums. For the past month it’s been raining plums in our garden: Little mirabelles are everywhere, dangling from trees, cascading down our hill, and always underfoot, enjoyed by all of the inhabitants of this garden oasis in which we live. We’ve popped them in our mouths until our stomachs ache. We’ve bestowed brimming baskets as gifts, and we’ve graciously deferred the unreachable gems to our resident squirrels. In the kitchen I’ve made crostatas, tarts and crisps, and when I finally tired of so much plum-ness I scooped as many as I could fit into a stock pot and cooked them down into a compote. Twice. The second batch of compote was inspired by the fragrant rosemary bushes in our garden, which happen to lie beneath many of the plum trees. As I gathered my fruit, the aroma of rosemary wafted through the air, nudging me to pick it too. And, as growing things do, these two ingredients make a fine pair not just in the garden but also in the kitchen, which I discovered when I tossed  a handful of rosemary sprigs in the last batch of bubbling compote.

Plum Compote with Rosemary

This recipe may easily be adjusted in quantity and sweetness. Depending on the flavor and tartness of the plums, more sugar may be needed. Add additional sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, tasting frequently until you find the right balance. If desired, use less sugar for a savory accompaniment to grilled meats.

1 pound plums, pitted, halved if small, quartered if large
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large rosemary sprig

Combine plums, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until plums begin to break down and sugar dissolves. Add rosemary sprigs. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until plums are soft and the compote is thick, stirring occasionally. (Be sure that the rosemary sprig is submerged in the liquid at all times). Remove from heat and cool completely. Discard rosemary. (Compote may be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use). Serve cold or at room temperature. To serve, ladle into small bowls or cups. Spoon a dollop of lightly sweetened crème fraîche, Greek yogurt or whipped cream in the center of the compote. Garnish with a pinch of brown sugar and a few rosemary leaves.

12 responses to “Plum Compote with Rosemary

  1. That sounds like a great combination, I’ve been wanting to add more herbs to sweets, and this will be the perfect opportunity to do so. Thank you :-)

  2. This looks amazing. Plums cook into the most stunning colors, and I can’t wait to eat this spooned into my yogurt in the morning.

  3. Ah, what grows together goes together. Yum! Would not have thought to combine plum with rosemary but it sounds great. You’re so lucky to have fruit trees in your backyard. I am completely jealous!

  4. Ann Olszewski

    Love the photo–it is a work of art in itself!

  5. The rosemary must have given the compote a lovely fragrance and taste. We lost our Japanese plum tree in an ice storm…so wish I had a basket of your plums.

  6. What a stunning combination of tastes, this must be just perfect in tiny spoonfuls to savour the taste.. we lost all our fruit in that bad freeze we had at the beginning of the season and I do miss cooking with my own fruit.. deeply satisfying.. a lovely page.. thank you c

  7. You’re leading the life I would love.. oh, to live in a climate that allowed for fruit trees laden with fruit!! And just look what magic you’ve made with your plums and rosemary. xx

  8. A fantastic flavor combination! I love plums and never have enough of them. This year, they are outstanding.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  9. What a stunner of a recipe – I missed this while we were away and I went – gasp – offline for 8 days. Can’t wait to stock up on plums and try this.

  10. Bummer about the freezer, how great that you had the skills and forethought to get cooking and save all your defrosted meat. As for this dish, an ample reward for your heroic cooking efforts.

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