Foods We Love: Plums
While there has been some debate among historians regarding the exact origin of plums, the popular summertime fruit, one story has it that they were domesticated in China about 2,000 years ago. Chinese myth often associates the fruit with longevity and wisdom, while Pompey the Great introduced the juicy red bites to the orchards of Rome, and later Alexander the Great brought the fruit to the Mediterranean. French immigrants are reported to have brought plum pits into Quebec, and the plum ultimately landed in North America through the British settlers. Plums now rank as the second most cultivated fruit in the world (the first being apples).
Plums offer a hefty supply of Vitamin C, lutein, fiber, and potassium. They also offer nice doses of phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid, which help protect against oxygen-based damage to important fats, such as the fats that make up a significant portion of our brain cells.
This recipe for Honey Lavender Plum Gratin comes to us from EatingWell.com. When you're finished enjoying this treat, you can get your dishes sparkling clean with Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwashing Gel. The biodegradable, plant-derived formula, is chlorine- and phosphate-free.
Honey Lavender Plum Gratin
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- 3/4 teaspoon unsprayed fresh lavender buds, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, rinsed
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fruit & topping
- 4 medium plums, pitted and cut into eighths
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- To prepare custard: Heat milk in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat. Add lavender, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain milk through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Return the milk to the saucepan and reheat until steaming.
- Whisk egg yolks, honey and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually add the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened and starting to bubble gently, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl. Whisk in vanilla. Cover loosely and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- To prepare fruit & topping: Preheat broiler. Coat an 11-by-7-inch oval gratin dish or 4 individual gratin dishes with cooking spray. Spoon custard evenly into the dish or dishes. Arrange plums on their sides, slightly overlapping, in a single layer over custard. Sprinkle sugar evenly over plums. Broil until plums are lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately.