Cinnamon Plums with Port Sauce

Adapted from: Raichlen's Indoor Grilling
Method: direct grilling
Serves: 4

for the Port Sauce:

  • 1 cup port
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 strips lemon zest, each about 1/2 by 1-1/2 inches (see Notes)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

for the plums:

  • 4 large ripe plums (see Notes)
  • 8 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches)
  • 8 strips lemon zest (see Notes)
  • Vanilla ice cream or yogurt, for serving
  • 4 fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

1. Make the port sauce: Place the port in a heavy nonreactive saucepan. Stick the cloves into the strips of lemon zest and add them to the port, along with the cinnamon stick and the sugar. Gradually bring to a boil over high heat, then let boil until slightly reduced and just beginning to become syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice and gradually stir it into the port mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer until it thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the sauce into a heat-proof bowl and let cool to room temperature. The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

3. Prepare the plums: Cut each in half along the crease. Twist the plum halves in opposite directions to separate them. Remove and discard the pits. Cut each plum half in half. Using a metal skewer and working from the pit-side, make a hole in the center of each plum quarter. Then thread two plum quarters on each cinnamon stick, skin side to cut side, placing a strip of lemon zest between the two quarters. Repeat with the remaining plum wedges to make 8 cinnamon stick skewers. The recipe can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage.

4. When ready to cook, set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate. Cook the plum kebabs, basting with the port sauce, until they are sizzling and golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side, turning with tongs. Baste one last time.

5. To serve, scoop vanilla ice cream into 4 martini glasses, wine goblets, or small bowls. Place 2 plum kebabs on top of each scoop of ice cream and spoon the remaining port sauce over them. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve at once.

Note: The zest is the oil-rich outer yellow rind of the lemon. Remove it in the thinnest possible strips using a vegetable peeler, zester, or paring knife.

Note: Almost any type of plum is good grilled. I like big, fleshy, freestone purple plums; freestone refers to a fruit that's easy to pit.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort