Plums sautéed in brandy
This is a dessert that’s very quick to make — it takes about 5 minutes. But you need to prepare it just before serving, so that the plums will be warm on top of the ice cream.
Choose plums that are ripe but still firm. As for the brandy, I used slivovitz, an East European plum brandy that I happened to have on hand. But this is not essential. You can use French cognac, Italian grappa or a local brandy. By the way, eau de vie, which translates as ‘water of life’, is a clear-colored brandy that is distilled from fruit — not to be confused with liqueurs, which are sweetened.
I owe the inspiration for this recipe to Le Repaire de Cartouche, one of my favorite neighborhood bistros, whose chef, Rodolphe Paquin, was kind enough to grant me an interview a couple of years ago.
6 large or 8 medium blue plums
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. sugar, preferably demerara, cassonnade or another raw sugar
1 tbsp. brandy or eau de vie
1/2 pint (1/4 liter) vanilla ice cream
Rinse the plums, dry them thoroughly, cut in half and remove the pits.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer to allow it to soften while you are cooking the plums.
In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it sizzles, add the plums, skin side down. Sauté one minute. Sprinkle with the sugar, then gently flip the plums over so that they are flesh side down. Sauté about 3 minutes more, until the flesh is beginning to turn golden brown. (You can check by flipping a plum or two over again).
When the plums are golden, pour the brandy over them. Allow to simmer for about a minute. Remove from heat.
Scoop the ice cream into two dishes. Spoon the plums over the ice cream, and cover with sauce from the skillet. Serves 2.