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A Helping of Gratitude and Pinot Poached Plums

November 3, 2011

Yes, it’s me and my plums again. I know, I know.

Before I defend my apparent obsession and convince you to run to the market for what may be the last plums of the season, I want to say, Thank You. Last week Greg and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, and the milestone hit me hard. The arduous nature of our journey bubbled to the surface of last week’s post when I had intended to blather on about maple crisps instead. What followed was a bigger surprise: Friends, family, and perfect strangers on the other side of the globe opened their hearts and shared their own stories with me, some sorrowful, but many more uplifting. Those thoughtful comments and emails were so full of love and hope; they made my heart swell. So, thank you! And here’s to more happy endings for all of us.

Now about those plums….

Saturday was the last Division Street farmers’ market of the year and my reminder that old man winter is lurking nearby. The stalls were teeming with endless varieties of apples and winter squash. The pavement was all but hidden by a sea of pumpkins that if you squinted looked like squatty orange soldiers on parade. I love a butternut squash almost as much as a just-picked tomato, but I know to pace myself. We will be eating apples and squash all winter long. And winter is very long here. Then, just as I was whimpering about the chill in the air and waxing all nostalgic for the fruits of summer, I spied one last pint of Stanley plums. Convinced that it was a sign, I carefully placed the chalky skinned buggers in my basket and hurried off to meet Greg who was stocking up on those apples at a neighboring stall.

My plum plan was well-rehearsed. Eat a few; bake something sweet with the rest. But after sneaking my third Take 5 candy bar from the trick or treat stash, I decided that something more sensible was called for here. “Maybe some poached plums?” I thought, thinking back to the ones I recently fell in love with at The Riverbend Inn in New Hampshire. A poached anything is sensible right?

But weren’t those plums poached in wine?

So much for “sensible”. Still, it had to be better for my thighs than my buttery crusted plum crostata and crème fraîche topper. So out with the butter, and in with the booze. Thirty minutes and two deeply stained hands later, a ruby jar of poached plums found a home in our fridge. They were no plum cake, but with my teeth still aching from mediocre caramel, they were a satisfying alternative. The light wine was nicely balanced by the spices and thyme. The honey was sweet but delicate, not the least bit cloying. I went to sleep thinking about my spiced plums. For breakfast? For lunch? Yes, and yes. The next morning, I stirred a couple into my oatmeal instead of honey for a much needed breakfast makeover. For lunch I spooned them over my go-to Greek yogurt and sprinkled the plate with granola. The plum cake and crostata never even entered my mind.

Pinot Poached Plums with Honey and Thyme

I used Stanley plums for this recipe, but the recipe will work with any variety. Tweak the amount of honey to your own taste according to the sweetness of the wine and plums you’re using. Experiment with the wine too. These beauties from Todd and Diane at White on Rice were poached in a white wine.

Ingredients

    1 pint plums
    2 cups pinot noir
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 star anise
    4 sprigs fresh thyme
    1/4 -1/3 cup honey (You can substitute agave nectar or sugar.)

Preparation

  1. Poach the plums in boiling water for 60-90 seconds and drain. (Shorter for very soft plums, longer for the firm ones.)
  2. In a medium saucepan bring the remaining ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while you peel the plums.
  3. Peel, halve and pit the plums. Add them to the wine. Simmer again for 5-15 minutes, until the plums have surrendered their firmness.
  4. Transfer the plums to a jar. When the spiced wine is completely cool, pour it over the plums. Cover and refrigerate.


When I’m not in the mood for something sensible, I happily turn to plum cake or plum crostata.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 6:38 am

    Lovely and simple, plus pinot is my favorite red wine. Looks perfect for fall.

  2. November 7, 2011 5:36 pm

    Yes, very simple. And you’ll have a glass of pinot left to sip while they simmer.

  3. November 20, 2011 12:33 pm

    Beautiful colors and the touch of granola crunch, that’s fun too. What a dessert for the senses.

  4. Terrie permalink
    October 25, 2012 11:04 am

    How long will they last in the fridge? I know, I know, not long with so many excellent way to eat them…But really, I have plums now, and was wondering about passing them around at Thanksgiving to family and friends. Hmmmmm, freeze plums and poach ’em later? Thanks for input!

    • October 26, 2012 8:01 am

      Terrie, if the plums are submerged in the liquid, they will last until Thanksgiving. Consider making little extra poaching liquid just to be on the safe side. I love the idea of serving these for Thanksgiving. I’m putting it on my list for next year.

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