Tart and sweet at the same time, these roasted plums get the royal treatment with meyer lemon olive oil and a drizzle of the best aged balsamic you can get your hands on. It’s a match made in heaven.
There’s something about roasting plums that seems so natural to me. Maybe it’s because biting into a plum – regardless of how ripe it might be – always makes my mouth pucker a little. They’re just a little too tart for me, and the skin leaves my mouth feeling chalky. I don’t mean any disrespect to the plum, I just prefer it cooked. I love it, in fact. Add a little heat, and that tartness mellows and the skin softens enough to relinquish its chalkiness (I know it’s science at work, but I’ll leave the specifics to the left-brained people to figure out). Give me cooked plums over raw ones any day…but that’s just me.
SWEET MEETS SAVORY
I’ve always been a fan of food that blends savory with sweet. In this version of roasted plums, the fruit is sliced in half, brushed with olive oil, and then sprinkled with brown sugar before going into the oven. A dollop of yogurt (or vanilla ice cream if you wanna go big), fresh basil, and a drizzle of good quality aged balsamic vinegar is a surprising, but delightful finishing touch. When all the flavors blend together they dance on the tongue.
For the oil, I used a lovely Meyer lemon olive oil available at We Olive, a wonderful purveyor of artisan California extra virgin olive oils, vinegar, and gourmet foods here in Salt Lake City. The Meyer lemon olive oil is definitely a nice complement, and the inspiration for this dessert, but if you can’t find it it’s not the end of the world. As an alternative, you can queeze a few drops of Meyer lemon juice into about a tablespoon olive oil and use it instead.
More important is that you use a good quality, aged balsamic. Aged balsamic is typically rich, viscous, glossy and dark brown, resembling molasses. These qualities are essential for the best flavor experience in this roasted plums dessert. A cheap balsamic will tend to be more watery and acidic, which doesn’t work well here, so choose wisely. I am by no means an authority on balsamic, so if you’d like to learn more, check out this excellent article by Serious Eats.
MAKE IT CREAMY
I used full fat Maple Hill Creamery maple yogurt for this recipe and the flavor and texture were perfect. This particular brand of yogurt tends to be a bit more watery than most yogurts, and also quite acidic. Feel free to experiment with other types of yogurt, but I would definitely go for full fat as it gives this dessert the creaminess it deserves.
Another alternative – I know you were thinking it – is to use vanilla ice cream. Yes, of course! For best results, allow your ice cream to soften on the counter a bit before placing a dollop on your plums.
FINISH IT OFF
Another surprising element to these roasted plums is the basil. Yes. Yes. Definitely top this dessert off with a few basil leaves and make sure you get some with every bite. Then come back and tell me what your reaction is. And of course, that drizzle of aged balsamic ties it all together. Now go out and gather your ingredients for Roasted Caramelized Plums with Olive Oil and Balsamic. The plums are fresh for pickin’.
Roasted Caramelized Plums with Olive Oil and Balsamic
- four large plums
- brown sugar
- Meyer lemon olive oil or olive oil with a few drops of meyer lemon squeezed in
- Tangy full-fat yogurt not Greek, plain, vanilla or maple (or substitute softened vanilla ice cream)
- good quality aged balsamic
- fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- Slice the plums in half and remove the pit. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and brush each plum with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle each plum with a bit of brown sugar. Place the plums in the preheated oven and bake about 7 -9 minutes, or until the tops are bubbling. Turn the oven to broil and cook another 2-3 minutes (keep from burning). Remove from oven.
- Allow the plums to cool about two minutes. Place one or two plum halves on a serving dish and be sure to top with some of the scraped up caramelized red plum juices from the pan (this is my favorite part). Place desired amount of yogurt or ice cream on each plum half, drizzle lightly (about an 1/8 of a teaspoon) with the balsamic. Finish each half with a leaf or two of basil leaves. Enjoy!