Peaches seem to get picked more often than plums this time of year, but with plum season starting this month, it's time to consider the underrated stone fruit.
Throughout the summer, plums are great sliced and tossed into big dinner salads. Every year since I first came across a famous plum torte from New York Times food columnist Marian Burros, I've baked the simple but wonderful cake topped with halved plums. (Find that recipe at tbtim.es/plumtorte.)
Plums also make for excellent sorbet, and ice pops, too. As summer descends upon us, I'll be making plenty more Plum Swirl Pops With Basil.
Red plums (with red skins and flesh) are my go-to pick for these pretty, swirly pops, but most varieties will do. Look for plums that yield to gentle pressure and are slightly soft at their tips. Plop them onto a baking sheet and roast until the fruit slumps and the sheet is streaked with red syrup. Nearly every time I make this recipe, I'm surprised by how much flavor comes from the roasted plums. During roasting, a lot of water is removed from the fruit, which leaves them tasting even more like themselves.
The "swirl" comes from yogurt, and you can control how much you'd like to swirl the plum mixture with the yogurt. A basil-infused simple syrup provides another layer of flavor. The syrup comes together quickly while the plums do their thing in the oven. The People's Pops recipe I riffed on calls for aniselike tarragon, but basil conjures up summer more strongly for me. The syrup becomes incredibly fragrant and heady with the herb.
The pop pros in New York City say this is one of their top 10 flavors ever, and I can see why. I made and loved their raspberry and cream pop, but this one is more complex.
Ileana Morales Valentine lives in St. Petersburg with her husband. For more of their kitchen stories, visit her blog, ALittleSaffron.com. Say hello at [email protected]