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Something wondrous happens when you cook European plums.

Deep purple-blue, European-style plums are mild-mannered when raw but take on a full, rich taste when cooked.

Now, during their peak season, is the time to make the most of these prune plums. Try them in desserts like lattice-topped pie accented with orange and port, and kuchen flavored with almond paste. Equally good in savory dishes, the plums have a sweet-tart flavor that accents smoked pork chops and more elaborate Peking-inspired duck salad. The warm salad uses prune plums to make a fresh version of Chinese plum sauce to go with the duck-home roasted, or available barbecued from a Chinese market.

Known by many variety names, such as Italian, President, and Empress, these plums are distinguished from Japanese-style ones by their bluer (as opposed to red) skin, elongated (instead of round) shape,, and sweeter flavor. It is European-style plums that are dried to make prunes.

California and the Northwest states grow the bulk of the fresh prune plum crop.

Italian is the predominant variety, but you can use any type in these recipes.

Port and Prune Plum Pie

4 1/2 cups quartered and pitted prune

plums (about 1 3/4 lb. whole fruit)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

3 tablespoons port

2 teaspoons each grated orange peel

and vanilla

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie

1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a large bowl, stir plums, sugar, tapioca, port, peel, vanilla, and nutmeg. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to I hour for tapioca to soften; stir occasionally.

On a lightly floured board, roll half of pastry into a 12-inch circle; ease into a 9- inch pie pan. Fill with plum mixture. On floured board, roll out remaining pastry into a 10-inch square. With a pastry wheel or knife, cut into 8 equal strips.

Arrange strips on top of pie in a lattice pattern. Fold bottom crust over lattice, making flush with rim of pan. Flute edge.

Brush pastry (not the filling) with egg. Set pan in a foil-lined 10- by 15-inch pan (pie bubbles as it cooks). Bake in a 400 degree oven until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling in center, about 1 hour. Serve wedges warm or cool. If made ahead, let cool, then cover. and chill up to 2 days. Serves 6 to 8.

Per serving. 426 cal.; 4.3 g protein; 68 g carbo.; 16 g fat, 34 mg chol; 286 mg sodium.

Almond Prune Plum Kuchen

3/4 cup % lb.) butter or margarine

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) almond paste

4 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

10 prune plums (about 1/2 lb.), halved

and pitted

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar and almond paste. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Stir in flour and oats. Spread batter in a buttered 7- to 8- by 11- inch baking dish.

Arrange plum halves in rows of 4 across dish, alternating rows of fruit cut side up and cut side down. Press plums slightly into batter. Sprinkle kuchen with remaining sugar. Bake in a 375 degree oven until cake pulls from pan sides, 40 to 45 minutes. Cut into rectangles and serve warm or cool with ice cream. If made ahead, let kuchen cool, then cover and hold at room temperature up to 2 days. Serves 8.

Per serving. 419cal.; 7.4g.protein; 47g.carbo.; 23g.fat, 18.4mg chol.;212mg.sodium.

Smoked Pork Chops

with Prune Plums

4 smoked pork chops, each about 3/4

inch thick and 1/2 pound

1/2 cup regular-strength beef broth

1 1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon

peel
 3 tablespoons lemon juice
 2 tablespoons honey


1/2 teaspoon crushed dried hot red

chilies (optional)

12 prune plums ( about 3/4 lb.)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Trim and discard fat from pork chops. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, brown chops on both sides, about 10 minutes. Stir all but 2 tablespoons broth with lemon peel and juice, honey, and chilies; add to chops. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve and pit plums. Add fruit to frying pan; cover and simmer until plums are hot, 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, lift chops and plums to plates and keep warm. Stir remaining

broth with cornstarch. Add to broth in pan; stir over high heat until liquid boils. Pour over meat and fruit. Serves 4.

Per serving.283cal.;24g.protein;27g.carbo.; 9.4 g fat, 60 mg chol.; 1, 520 mg sodium.

Warm Peking Duck Salad

1 Chinese barbecued duck (2 to 2 1/2 lb.),

or roasted duck (recipe follows)

8 prune plums (about 1/2 lb.)

1 small head (1/2 to 3/4 lb.) escarole,

leaves rinsed and crisped

Won ton strips (recipe follows)

1/4 cup sliced green onions

24 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs

Plum sauce (recipe follows)

Strip skin and fat off duck in large pieces; discard fat. Cut skin into thin strips. Pull meat off carcass; shred meat. Halve plums, pit, and cut halves into segments attached at one end. Reserve 4 large escarole leaves. Stack remaining leaves and thinly slice crosswise. If made ahead, cover each component separately and chill up until next day.

Place duck skin in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat and stir often until skin is deep brown, 8 to 10 minutes; halfway through cooking, spoon out and discard fat. Drain skin on paper towels.

On each of 4 dinner plates, place I large escarole leaf, then arrange equal amounts of shredded escarole, duck meat, skin, won ton strips, green onions, and cilantro. Place plums alongside, fanning segments. Offer sauce. Makes 4 entree servings.

Estimated per serving with Chinese duck: 379 cal.; 16 g protein; 26 g carbo; 26 g fat; 58 mg chol.; 129 mg sodium.

Roasted duck. From 1 small duck (about 4 lb.), pull off and discard lumps of fat; reserve any giblets for other uses. Pierce skin all over with a fork or slender metal skewer. Combine 1/2 teaspoon each ground

ginger and ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and pepper.

Rub bird inside and out with spices. Place duck, breast up, in a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 15-inch roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of thigh. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake in a 400 degrees oven until thermometer reaches 175 degrees, about 45 minutes. Uncover and siphon off fat. Remove thermometer.

Combine 1 tablespoon each honey and soy sauce; brush half of it over top of duck. In a 475 degrees oven, roast duck until skin is deep brown, about 10 minutes. Turn duck over; repeat basting and browning. If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 day.

Estimated per serving: 683 cal.; 38 g protein; 5.3 g carbo; 56 g fat; 174 mg chol.; 374 mg sodium.

Won ton strips. Stack 14 won ton wrappers (about 3 in. square). Cut into 1/2- inch-wide strips; separate pieces. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, heat 1/4 inch salad oil over medium heat until a won ton strip added to oil browns quickly. Add remaining strips; cook until golden, turning once, 1 to 2 minutes. Lift from oil with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. If made ahead, store airtight up to 1 day.

Plum sauce. Halve and pit 1/2 pound (about 8) prune plums. Place in a 1- to 2- quart pan with 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons each soy sauce and cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon each ground ginger and grated lemon peel, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon anise seed, and 1/8 teaspoon each cayenne and ground cloves.

Boil, covered, until plums mash easily, about 8 minutes. Whirl smooth in a blender; serve warm. If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill until next day; reheat.

Per tablespoon: 16 cal.; 0.2 g protein; 4.3 g carbo; 0 g fa t; 0 mg chol.; 86 mg sodium.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1989
Words:1373
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