Today’s Grilled Plums and Port Parfaits are the perfect way to celebrate the beautiful warm summer evenings, especially after a family barbecue. I love the hint of wine in the background complementing the plum flavor. It got rave reviews in our house! But if you are making this for children or someone who doesn’t want the alcohol, you can replace the port with apple or cranberry juice.
When you think about barbecue and grilling, I’ll bet you imagine luscious steaks, chops, sausage, and chicken hitting the hot grate, sizzling and turning the perfect golden brown. These mouthwatering foods are 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 cooked pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples, and other firm fruits on the BBQ. Today I wanted to use grilled plums to create a decadent sauce to put over ice cream.
Last week my husband and I found beautiful fresh plums at a local farm stand and grabbed a large bag. 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 can be 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 seed. 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 fairly firm. Plums are 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.
The plums you buy in the grocery store tend to be fairly large by comparison to the ones I used. If they are medium to large, adjust the recipe quantities accordingly. You will not need a thickener for this sauce because you will be boiling it down, evaporating the liquid and concentrating the flavors.
You can make the sauce a day or two ahead. This saves you a lot of time on the day of your party. Just return the sauce to room temperature or lightly rewarm before assembling the parfaits.
While the summer stone fruits are in abundance, give these Grilled Plum and Port Parfaits a try and I’ll bet you find many uses for the sauce. In addition to dressing ice cream you can pour 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!
Key Ingredients for Grilled Plums and Port Parfaits:
- Ripe, firm plums
- Port wine
- Plum, seedless raspberry, or red currant jelly
- Fresh ginger, sugar, lemon zest
- Vanilla ice cream
- Crumbled ginger cookies (gluten-free if needed), optional
Once off the grill, you can add the plums straight to the saucepan if you want your sauce to be a little chunky, or you can chop them into smaller pieces so they will dissolve more easily. If your grill has a side burner then you can make the entire sauce right on the grill. It is great to be able to do it all outside and not heat up the house during the summer.
How to make Grilled Plums and Port Parfaits:
- Grill plum halves until they have grill marks and skins begin to split
- Make the Sauce: Boil the port, jelly, grilled plums, sugar, and ginger; reduce to a low simmer and cook until reduced and thickened
- Assemble Parfaits: Layer the plum sauce, ice cream, and cookie crumbs in glass dishes so you can see the beautiful colors; garnish with a mint sprig and serve
If you’ve never worked with plums, they have a medium 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 seed. A couple of plums later and you’ll be pitting them like a pro.
The skins of some varieties of plums can be quite sour. But the skins add a lot of beautiful rich color and good fiber! You can peel the fruit if you want, I don’t.
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links):
The only possibility for gluten contamination may be the port wine. Wine is considered safe to consume but rarely some people may react if the caulk they use in the barrels has wheat as an element. If you are worried you can substitute apple or cranberry juice for the port.
- 25 to 30 small, ripe but firm plums, pits removed
- Oil, for brushing on fruit
- 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
- 1/2-inch thick slice of fresh, peeled ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tbsp sugar, or more to taste if the plums are very tart
- 1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
- Vanilla ice cream
- Plum-Port Sauce
- 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 and scrub the grates clean.
- Rinse the plums well and pat dry. Cut the pits out of each one. Brush the cut sides with oil and place oiled-sides down on the hot grill. Cook a few minutes until starting to get 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 15 of the prettiest halves for garnishing.
- Make the Plum-Port Sauce: Combine the port, jelly, grilled plums, sugar and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. 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. 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 or more lemon zest if needed. The sauce can be made a couple of days in advance. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before assembling the parfaits.
- 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 or two on the side. Add a mint sprig for garnish and repeat with remaining dishes. Serve immediately.
- Alternately, set out bowls of all the ingredients and let everyone help themselves. They will have fun creating their own parfaits and it is a lot easier on you!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 315Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 191mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 7gSugar: 52gProtein: 4g
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. This month’s theme is A Vegetarian Barbecue hosted by Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian. We have a great mix of ideas for you this month, including cocktails, appetizers, entrees, and desserts. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
A Vegetarian BBQ
- Grilled Stone Fruit Sangria – The Red Head Baker
- Chia Limeade (non-alcoholic) – Shockingly Delicious
- Tomato Caprese Tart – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Grilled Zucchini Pizza – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Streusel Topped Rhubarb Bars – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Grilled Plum and Port Parfaits – The Heritage Cook
- Browned Butter Blondies with White Chocolate Chips and Toasted Pecans – Creative Culinary
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This post was first shared in 2015. The article was updated in 2020.