Mmm... wild red plums. We came across several baskets of these at our local farmers' market over the weekend. It almost seems like a crime to eat these precious little gems in any form other than the way nature intended- fresh and unadulterated; however, we found ourselves driving home from the market with more plums than we could possibly eat before they spoiled. What can I say? I have no self control.
Instead of letting my bounty go to waste, I threw together a quick compote, because really, there's never any good reason to throw away fruit. They're incredibly easy to throw together, they're a great way to use up excess fruit, and they're about the most versatile thing you'll ever make. They're fun to experiment with, and it's hard to go wrong: strawberries and red wine, peaches and ginger, or just raspberry with a hit of lemon. Berries and stone fruits work wonderfully, and you can it on anything from vanilla ice cream to lemon cake. I generally use 10 parts fruit to 1 part sugar, though that will vary based upon the sweetness of your fruit. I like to keep mine on the tart side since I usually use them to compliment a sweeter dessert. At any rate, I love keeping compotes on hand, because nothing takes dessert to the next level like a spoonful of this stuff.
Cardamom Plum Compote
This makes a small amount of compote, enough for 4-6 people.
Eight to ten small wild red plums, cut into smallish chunks Sugar, to taste One generous pinch of cardamom 1/4 tsp. vanilla
Heat fruit and sugar in a small saucepan until the fruit gives off liquid. Add cardamom, simmer 5-10 minutes until enough liquid has evaporated and compote has thickened. Stir in vanilla, adjust sugar (if needed), and simmer another minute. Let cool.