Monday, August 27, 2007

Before I knew anything more than a single variety of the cherry, peach, nectarine or apricot there showed up for me a myriad of plum – green, red, black and the purplish oblong shaped Italian all made it into my greedy mouth. I never did associate those succulent treasures with the viscous juice my grandfather drank everyday. Though today the dried plum board of California would prefer if we refrained from using the word prune. One of the sweetest of domestic fruits, the plum, ranks with the peach in commercial production, but out strips it in varieties available. Believed to have originated in southwestern Russia and the Caspian Sea these multi-colored fruits need to fully develop their sweetness on the branch. Once they are harvested they will not continue to develop sugar though they will soften. The premiere eating variety has to the green gage with its light celadon skin and yellowish meat. It has one of the lowest of acidity levels that allows permits its sweetness to shine without interruption. Though it is the red and black Santa Clara varieties that rein supreme in the United States (from a commercial production). These plums with red and yellow flesh are produced primarily in California are prefect for chutneys and sauces, and are readily available throughout plums mid-summer to early autumn run. The freestone member of this family the Italian prune tends to be oblong with a purplish skin and pale golden meat. This is the notorious dried variety that a generation took in liquid form daily.

Plum filled Raviolis – yields 10 servings

1 package of wontons

1-pound plums - chopped
1 vanilla – split in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg - beaten
4 ounces (1stick) unsalted butter

Place the chopped plums, vanilla bean, lemon juice, wine and 1/4 cup of sugar in a 1 quart pot. Over a medium low flam cook the plum mixture for 20 minutes with a secure fitting lid. Discard the vanilla bean and allow the mixture to cool completely.

Place a tablespoon of the plum mixture in the center of a wonton skin. Lightly brush the edges with the beaten egg and place another square on top. Pinch the two pieces together making sure to squeeze out any air pockets. Continue with the remaining wonton skins.

Heat a 10 inch sauté pan over a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter starts to get frothy add in the raviolis in two patches. They can be tightly packed, but should not overlap too much. Cook the raviolis for 4 to 5 minutes, and gently mix in cup 1/8 cup orange juice. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with some of the remaining sugar. Wipe out the sauté pan and proceed with the second batch. Serve immediately.

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