When you think about barbecue and grilling, I’ll bet you imagine luscious steaks, chops, and chicken hitting the hot grate, sizzling and turning the perfect golden brown. These mouthwatering foods and wonderful but don’t forget that just about anything can be cooked on the barbecue.
In the past, in addition to a wide variety of vegetables, I have grilled pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples, and other firm fruits. Today I wanted to caramelize plums and use them to create a decadent sauce to put over ice cream. My father-in-law has a beautiful tree in his yard that always gives him many more plums than he can use. He generously allows us to come over and harvest the ones high in the tree, saving him from climbing the ladder.
Last week my husband and I went over and collected a huge bag of plums. Some went home with other family members, and a bunch went home with us. Fresh from the tree, still warm from the sun, there is nothing sweeter or more fragrant. The entire car smelled of fresh plums on the drive home. I picked out the firmest ones and got going on the sauce.
If you’ve never worked with plums, they have a small pit in the center that is hard to remove. I’ve found that unless the plums are extremely ripe, the easiest thing to do is cut a slice off each side of the pit. You get nearly all the meat off the plum. A couple of plums later and you’ll be pitting them like a pro.
For grilling you want to choose plums that are ripe but still firm. Plums are very delicate and if they are too ripe and soft, they will disintegrate on the heat of the grill. Because of this the sauce tends to be a bit on the tart side. I needed to add more sugar to mine, you can add as much as you like to yours.
After cutting out the pits, I lightly brushed the cut sides with oil and set them on the medium-hot grill. It only took a few minutes for them to be softened, turning slightly golden and beginning to develop grill marks. When you see the skins starting to split, pull them off the heat.
Once off the grill, you can add them straight to the saucepan if you want your sauce to be a little chunky, or you can chop them into smaller pieces. If your grill has a side burner then you can make the entire sauce right on the grill. That’s what I did and it was great to be able to do it all outside and not heat up the house during the summer.
The plums you buy in the grocery store tend to be fairly large by comparison to the ones I used. If they are all you can find, adjust the recipe quantities accordingly. You will not need a thickener for this sauce because of the natural pectin in the fruit and you will be boiling it down, evaporating the liquid and concentrating the flavors.
There is very little alcohol left after cooking the sauce down, but if you are making this for children or someone who doesn’t want the alcohol, you can replace the port wine with apple or cranberry juice. I love the hint of wine in the background complementing the plum essence. It got rave reviews in our house!
While the summer stone fruits are in abundance, give this sauce a try and I’ll bet you find many uses for it. In addition to dressing ice cream you can serve it over waffles, spread on toast, cut back the sugar a little and use it as a sauce for a pork roast or duck breasts (just stir it into the pan juices and reduce), there are so many ways to enjoy it!
- Grilled Plums
- 25 to 30 small, ripe but firm plums, pits removed (50 to 60 halves)
- Oil, for brushing on fruit
- Port-Plum Sauce
- 40 to 50 grilled plum halves, from above (reserve remaining 10 halves to garnish the parfaits)
- 1/2 cup port wine (use apple or cranberry juice for alcohol-free)
- 3/4 cup plum, seedless raspberry, or red currant jelly (not jam)
- 1/2-inch thick slice of fresh, peeled ginger or 1/2 tsp ground
- 3 tbsp sugar, or more to taste if the plums are very tart*
- 1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
- Vanilla ice cream or other flavor of your choice
- Port-Plum Sauce, from above
- Crumbled crispy ginger cookies (gluten-free if needed), optional
- Reserved grilled plums, from above
- Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
- Grill Plums: Preheat the grill to Medium-Low. When hot, scrub the grates clean.
- Rinse the plums well and pat dry. Cut the pits out of each one. Brush cut sides with oil and place oiled-sides down on hot grill. Cook until starting to turn golden with pale grill marks. When you see the skin starting to split, pull them off the heat. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
- Set aside 10 of the prettiest halves for garnishing.
- Make the Port-Plum Sauce: Combine the port, jelly, grilled plums, sugar and ginger in a saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. If your grill has a side burner, you can make the sauce completely on the grill. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
- Simmer, uncovered, stirring often until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Timing will depend on the heat of your stove or grill burner. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools so don’t over reduce it.
- Remove pan from the heat and discard the piece of ginger. Stir in the lemon zest. Taste and add sugar if needed, or more lemon zest. The sauce can be made a couple of days in advance. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Assemble Parfaits: Place a little of the sauce in the bottom of a glass serving dish (wine glasses are always elegant) and top it with a scoop of ice cream. Ladle in a little more plum sauce, sprinkle on some of the crushed cookies, and top with a second scoop of ice cream. Ladle a little more sauce in the dish, sprinkle some more of the cookie crumbs over the top and tuck a reserved grilled plum half on one side. Add a mint sprig for garnish and repeat with remaining dishes. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few minutes until everyone is ready.
- Alternately, set out bowls of all the ingredients and let everyone help themselves. This is a lot easier on you and they will have fun creating their own parfaits!
- Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- *Note: The skins of some varieties of plums can be very sour. You can peel them if you want; I don’t. The skins add a lot of beautiful rich color and good fiber!
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Summer Soiree celebration. See the links below for inspiration and great recipes and check out our Pinterest page for even more!
The Hungry Traveler Blog: Banana Coconut Paletas
The Lemon Bowl: Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Shell
Creative Culinary: Strawberry, Lemon and Basil Sherbet
The Heritage Cook: Grilled Plums and Port Parfaits (Gluten-Free)
TasteBook: Triple Chocolate Mousse Pie
Dishin & Dishes: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Homemade Delish: Jalapeno and Peach Gelato
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Chocolate & Greens Fudgsicles
Red or Green: Ice Cream Sandwiches with Frozen Yogurt
The Mom 100: Easy Chocolate Mousse
Weelicious: Fruity Lemonade Ice Pops
Taste with the Eyes: Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child
Healthy Eats: Puddings, Pops and Pies: 7 Desserts Best Served Cold
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Seven Sensational Frozen Treats
FN Dish: 8 Desserts to Check Off Your Frozen-Treat Bucket List
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