During muggy weather like we’ve been having recently, there’s nothing I like to eat more than fruit. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s been exciting over the last couple of weeks to see all the Ontario fruits coming into season and it seems a fitting time to announce the third sponsor who is helping me get to IFBC this August – the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers.
Plums are one of my all time favourite fruits and they always remind me of my nana and her plum tree. We would spend countless summers helping her make her spectacular plum jam and then got to enjoy the fruits of her labour (no pun intended!) throughout the winter. Nana’s plum jam is still better than any I have ever tasted.
She also used to make fabulous plum cake and when I decided to blog about sweet Ontario plums, I was pleased to see a muffin recipe included in the media pack. A whole cake can be a bit much for just two of us so muffins are a perfect compromise.
Delicious for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea, these plum-moist muffins hold a poppy seed surprise. Double your Ontario Tender Fruit pleasure… spread with Ontario Peach, Pear or Plum jam.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp each: cinnamon and salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup peeled, chopped ripe Ontario Plums (4 or 5)
Grease (or line with paper baking cups) 2 – 2 1/2 inch (6cm) 12 muffin cups. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds, cinnamon and salt. In small bowl, combine milk, butter, egg and plums. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter should be slightly lumpy. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on rack. Remove muffins and serve warm. (Muffins freeze well.) Makes 12 muffins.
I have been wanting to try panna cotta for ages now, since my good friend Lynne made this one back at Easter. I was excited to see a similar version included in the plum recipe pack served with a plum coulis. Since this was my first time making panna cotta, I was unsure that the amount of gelatin it called for was enough (uh, yeah, like I would know!) so I probably added a sprinkle more gelatin which made it just ever so slightly too firm but at least I know to trust the recipe next time… Recipe follows with my notes in red.
Light, silky panna cotta always makes an elegant dinner finale and is remarkably easy to prepare. Here, the Italian classic is infused with nutty Amaretto and topped with homemade Ontario plum coulis – it simply bursts with juicy seasonal flavour, tasting a piece of Ontario in every bite!
Ontario Plum Coulis
1 lb Ontario plums
1/4 cup sugar (did not use)
1/2 cup orange juice
1-1/2 envelopes unflavoured gelatine
1/4 cup cold water (I used lemon juice)
1-1/2 cups 18% cream
1-1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp Amaretto liqueur (did not use)
8 sprigs of mint (did not use)
Ontario plum slices for garnish
Prepare Coulis: Cut plums in half, remove pits and coarsely chop. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat add plums, sugar and orange juice and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until plums are very soft. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Using a blender, purée plum mixture until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve to remove any peel and set aside.
(Ahem – I simply puréed fresh plums with the orange juice – a fabulous quick dessert coulis option!)
Prepare Panna Cotta: Allow gelatin to swell in cold water for five minutes (follow package directions). Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan add cream, milk and sugar. Place saucepan over medium heat and gently stir until sugar has fully dissolved – do not boil. Remove from heat and add Amaretto. Slowly stir gelatin into the cream/milk mixture until completely dissolved. Lightly grease ramekins with oil. Divide cream mixture evenly into ramekins and refrigerate for three hours, or until the panna cotta has set.
To serve, run a knife around the inside edge of each ramekin. Invert panna cotta onto individual serving plates and top with plum coulis. Garnish each plate with a sprig of fresh mint and slice of fresh plum, if desired.
Note: Plum coulis can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Use to garnish pound cake, angel food cake, oatmeal, waffles, crêpes, ice cream and yogurt.
Serves 6 to 8, depending on size of ramekin.
One thing I love about the Tender Fruit Producers is that they try to include a fruit-based cocktail in each fruit’s recipe pack and I couldn’t go past one called Plum’ilicious, could I? I mean. it’s pink and fizzy – what more could you ask for?
“Tree-ripened Ontario plums offer a refreshing and aromatic summer aperitif. Add a splash of sparkling wine or gingerale for a touch of flair.” – Chef Mark Picone, Vineland, ON
1 lb ripe Ontario plums, golden or blue, washed and pitted
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 lemon, zest
1 cup crushed ice (or 2 cups [500 mL] cubed ice)
Splash sparkling wine e.g. Champagne or Prosecco
Garnish: Fresh mint sprigs
In a blender add plums, honey, mint, lemon juice and zest and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add ice and blend until slushy. Distribute evenly between two glasses, top with a splash of sparkling wine and a sprig of mint. Makes 4 servings.
I really enjoyed this and so did my partners in pink drinks, Melanie and Joelle (who were invited over to be my blue corn tortilla guinea pigs!). It was fruity without being overly sweet and much more interesting as a brunch drink than mimosas – and what a pretty colour!
I am proud my IFBC sponsors represent real foods and I am loving my role as a Tender Fruit ambassador – making and blogging about one of my favourite food groups - What could be better?