(Mass Appeal) – Cookbook author and chef, Betty Rosbottom, is with us today to create a delicious and simple warm dessert that is absolutely perfect for these cool autumn nights.

Warm Spiced Plums with Honey Whipped Cream

Simple and delicious, these spiced plums topped with honey-scented whipped cream make an excellent dessert for cool autumn nights. You can sauté the plums and whip the cream in advance so that only a quick assembly is needed at the last minute.

2 pounds ripe, large dark red or purple plums
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Honey Whipped Cream (Recipe follows.)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (See cooking tip.)
Mint sprigs for garnish

1.Rinse and dry the plums, and then halve them lengthwise. Remove and discard the pits and any tough flesh around them. Cut halves into 3/4 -inch wedges. (If plums are not ripe enough, you may have trouble separating them into halves. In this case, simply cut 3/4-inch wedges from the plums with a sharp knife.)

  1. In a small bowl combine the sugar and orange zest and use your fingers to rub the orange zest into the sugar. Mixture will turn a light orange color.
  2. Place a large (10 1/2- to 11-inch) skillet (cast iron works well) over medium high heat for a few seconds. Add plums and sprinkle with orange-scented sugar mixture. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves and forms a glaze and plums are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 6 to 10 minutes. Cooking time can vary depending on ripeness of the plums. Do not overcook, or plums will become mushy.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the cardamom. Taste plums and if you prefer a sweeter taste, stir in some extra sugar. (Plums can be prepared 3 hours ahead and left in skillet. Cool, cover loosely with foil, and leave at cool room temperature. Reheat, stirring, over medium heat before serving.)
  4. To serve, spoon plums into 4 to 6 old fashion glasses, wine glasses, or ramekins. Top with dollops of Honey Whipped Cream and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Garnish with mint springs. Serves 4 with larger portions and 6 with slightly smaller ones.

Cooking tip: To toast almonds, spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in a preheated 350° F oven until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully so nuts do not burn. Remove and cool.

Honey Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
6 mint sprigs, optional

1.With an electric mixer on high speed, whip cream until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and drizzle honey into whipped cream. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Using a wire whisk fold in the crème fraîche. This will deflate the stiffly whipped cream slightly giving it a yogurt-like consistency. (Cream can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)