Plum delicious! That’s how this spicy plum frozen yogurt with port wine turned out. I can’t say that I like plums. But while shopping at our brand new Cosco’s, these plums looked mighty tempting. So, I decided to give them a second try and see what I could make.
Yes, Cosco’s has finally arrived in Louisiana. We’ve been deprived for so many years. My mother-in-law loves to shop at one in Houston. She was in town recently and took us on a tour though our brand new store one afternoon to show us all of her favorite products. It’s easy to get carried away. These plums caught my attention and I brought some home.
It’s the fragrance of plums that is especially pleasing. I’m not crazy about the texture and it is hard to cut the pulp away from the pits, especially with ripe plums. I got the idea of boiling the ripe plums in a sugar syrup with some spices from an old cookbook. Then I strained the plums, skins and pits and used the syrup for frozen yogurt. I added some port wine for a little zip.
Plums have been around for thousands of years. They probably originated in China, but made their way to our country from Japan and Europe. There are many, many varieties of plums and they are one of the easiest fruit trees to grown. They are a drupe fruit or stone fruit which means the fruit has a fleshy meat around a pit or stone. Plums are related to peaches, apricots, cherries and almonds.
I am reminded of one of our family’s great gardening goofs. My folks had a row of fruit trees on their property. My mother wanted another cherry tree, but my father accidentally planted a plum tree. The greengage plum tree grew really well, but no one really cared for the plums. I don’t think my mother ever got over that mistake.
Plums are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, potassium and fiber. The dark skin and flesh of the fruit adds phytochemicals which have antioxidant properties. When dried, plums are called prunes. The mild laxative effect of prunes probably comes from the fiber and indigestible sugar, sorbitol, and the phenolic compounds of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids. Prunes are high in potassium, boron (which plays a role in bone health) as well as fiber. They contain carotenoids and other phytochemicals which give protective effects against chronic diseases.
I decided to make frozen yogurt rather than ice cream. The tart yogurt compliments the fruity, sweet flavor of the plums. I cooked the plums in a sugar syrup and added some whole spices–cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Just a few spices are enough to give a fragrance. I used whole spices so they could be strained along with the skins and pulp of the fruit.
The addition of port wine is optional. Port wine is a sweet, fortified red dessert wine. True port wine comes from only Portugal. For the frozen yogurt, any port-style wine will do–this one is from California.
After straining the syrup and adding the wine, chill well before adding to the ice cream maker to freeze. Any ice cream maker will work. My ice cream freezer is a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. It is an electric model that sits on your counter. It has a double-insulated wall container with a cooling liquid. This bowl must be completely frozen before adding the ice cream mix. With this model, the container turns and the paddle is stationary. This beats the air into the ice cream or yogurt mix. The resulting frozen dessert is still soft and further freezing is usually needed.
Spicy Plum Frozen Yogurt with Port Wine
- 1 lb dark red plums, about 5 plums
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 small cinnamon stick
- scant 1/8 tsp of whole allspice
- scant 1/8 tsp of whole cloves
- 1/4 cup port wine (optional)
- 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
Instructions and Steps
- Wash the plums, add to 1 cup water in medium sauce pan,
- Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves. Bring to boil on medium high heat. Stir and gently boil for 5 minutes. Plum skins should burst and plums will fall apart.
- Remove from heat and cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Press plum pulp and syrup through a strainer into medium bowl, removing the whole spices, pits of plums and plum skins. This will yield about 2 1/2 cups.
- Add port wine. Chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Place syrup on ice, stir occasionally to decrease chilling time. The ice cream will not freeze unless the syrup is cold.
- When ready to freeze, add some of the syrup to the non-fat plain Greek yogurt and stir to combine in the yogurt. Add this back to the rest of the syrup. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. The frozen yogurt will probably still be soft; transfer to freezer-proof container and continue to freeze in freezer.
Serves 8. Serve with cookies.
This makes a surprisingly plum-fragrant and soothing frozen dessert for a hot summer afternoon.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2001 May;41(4):251-86.