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Spiced plums in red wine syrup

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Spiced plums in red wine syrup
1

Place the cloves and peppercorns in the center of a 4-inch-square piece of cheesecloth and tie the cloth in a bundle with a piece of kitchen twine. Combine the bundle, the cinnamon stick, red wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes.

2

Add the plums and cook, keeping the wine at a bare simmer, until the plums are just tender. Depending on the ripeness of the plums and the size of the pieces, this will take between 5 and 10 minutes.

3

Drain the plums, discarding the cheesecloth bundle and the cinnamon stick, and transferring the syrup into a smaller saucepan. Return the syrup to the heat, and cook at a bare simmer until it has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and return the plums to the syrup. Set aside until ready to serve.

4

Serve at room temperature with the ice cream or creme fraiche.

If you find really small plums, handball-size or slightly bigger, they are absolutely beautiful when poached this way. If they’re bigger than that, you can cut them in halves, quarters or smaller wedges.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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