Monday, February 18, 2008

Cardamom-Flavored Plum Compote (With Walnuts and Raisins)

Seasonal Fruits and vegetables are a cook's best friends, as you can be sure they are not artificially grown or flavored and also because they bring a lot of variety to the table every changing season! We all know how important it is to include fruits in our diet, and the markets in California are flooded with dark and juicy Plums. They have been one of my preferred fruits right from childhood, and I love their juicy fibrous texture and their sweet and tart flavor. There are so many things you can do with plums, but jams, jellies and preserves are the best way to capture their essence so you can enjoy them even after the seaosn is gone! I decided to go for the Plum Compote, which is similar to a jelly, just with a few chunks rather than a puree.



A fruit compote is traditionally made of whole or pieces of fruit simmered in a sugar syrup, simmered over gentle heat. To add flavor, it can be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit, or raisins. I chose to add some Cardamom, because I thought it would blend well with the flavors and also infuse a nice lasting aroma! Just looking at the dark red color was a treat to the eyes!



Ingredients

5 large Fresh plums - deseeded and cut into 1/2" pieces

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 orange rinds

1 cup brown sugar (adjust according to taste and tartness of plums)

1/4th-1/2 cup water

4 tsp cardamom powder

pinch of cinnamon powder

raisins and walnuts - optional for garnish



Method

Take a thick-bottom pan and add the chopped plums, orange rinds, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon powder and half of the cardamom powder. Let this stand for at least 45-60 mins, stirring and coating once in a while.



Now place the pan on the stove, add about 1/4th cup of water and let it simmer, partially covered, for 3-40 minutes. Keep stirring often so the fruit doesn't stick at the bottom of the pan. Do not overcook else you would break the fruit. Remove ffrom stove once its cooked and before its done upto the point that the fruit breaks down and becomes mushy.



Your Plum Compote (Preserve) is now ready! You can put this in steamed and dried (air-tight)jars to preserve the jam. Vacuum seal the jars and store in a cool, dry place. You could even serve the warm compote topped with golden raisins and walnuts, and a little whipped cream or ice cream for a wonderful light dessert!

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