These past few days have felt extremely fall-ish to me. The sun is starting to set much earlier, and the forest which flows throughout our neighborhood is beginning to shift in color. Trees that were once graced with bright green leaves are now adorned with splashes of vibrant yellow and fiery red. And now the evenings are finally getting cold enough for me to rescue my winter jackets from the tiny suitcases they have been living in for the past year. Boots, sweaters, beanies; Fall, I’m ready for you. What excites me most about the change of the seasons are all of the upcoming holidays. My birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas; this is the time of year where many cozy indoor dinners and celebrations shall be had with friends and family. Oh, and not to mention that pie-baking will soon become a weekly routine in our home. Ah! I’m already getting way too excited just thinking about it all of it. But let’s talk about these tasty Italian plums, shall we? I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but when John and I first moved into our current house, we did so only on the basis of a few Craigslist photos and a trusted word from our friends who checked it out. So imagine my surprise when we arrived and found, among many other great things, a beautiful Italian plum tree right smack in the middle of our backyard. Luckily for me, I already love these plums, so having a huge tree to feast on this summer was such a blessing.
I noticed my plum tree was getting a bit thin last week, so I ended up climbing it and picked as many plums as I could. Well, at least whatever plums the neighborhood squirrels hadn’t gotten to yet. I typically eat these plums as a snack, but I one morning I really had the urge to jazz up my bowl of yogurt, so I ended up making this plum compote. You can use brown or white sugar for this recipe, but I found that using good quality maple syrup tastes the best. I was lucky enough to get my hands on what I believe is the best maple syrup I have ever tasted. I have the people atHatchery to thank for that. They have such an amazing selection of culinary items, so if you are looking for some new products to add to your kitchen arsenal, then just click here. This particular maple syrup is made by a husband and wife who live in Weston, Vermont, and they make this syrup from the trees that reside on their very own property. After tasting this maple syrup, I feel as if I can envision how beautiful their trees must look and smell like because their maple syrup has such a distinct and unique flavor. I am always eager to use products that are made by people who are truly passionate about their craft, and this maple syrup is proof of this couples’ dedication to just that.
This compote is incredibly easy to make, and tastes amazing when spooned over just about anything. Yogurt, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, the options are endless. I ended up adding a hearty amount to my yogurt the other day, and topped it off with some granola I had on hand. Toasted nuts would work just as well, but keep it simple and use whatever you have on hand and enjoy.
ITALIAN PLUM COMPOTE
Yields about 1 cup
7-8 Italian plums, seeds removed and quartered
3 Tablespoon good quality Maple Syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom
Pinch Kosher Salt
Equipment: 8” Inch skillet, slotted spoon
Squeeze the juice of one orange into the skillet, along with the maple syrup, spices and salt. Set heat to medium and gently stir mixture until sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to gently simmer (adjusting heat as needed) for about 5 minutes, then add quartered plums.
Continue to let the mixture simmer for another 5-7 minutes, or until the plums are tender, but still maintain their shape. If the liquid appear more watery than syrupy, remove plums with a slotted spoon and continue to simmer the liquid until a slightly syrupy texture is achieved, then pour over plums. Allow compote to cool to room temperature before placing in an airtight container.