One of the popular flavours of last century, around the ’70’s, was to bake fruit in Port or Marsala (a dark, sweet fortified dessert wine, produced in Sicily). The popularity of it has waned, though, to the extent that Marsala is now hard to find in stores and outlets. However, I still like it, to the extent that once or twice a year, the bottle comes out and some fruit goes into the oven. See this delicious Pear dish.
Inevitably, cinnamon is paired with the Marsala, and it is a good combination, along with lemon and butter.
Today’s dish uses this combination in a bake of pears, apples and/or plums. At this time of year we are using plums on their own – it is Plum Season and my friend has gifted a bucket of home grown juicy fruit. They are baked and served with their juices along with cream, marscapone, or icecream, and can be added to pies and pastries, or included in icecreams, yoghurt deserts, and summery drinks (alcoholic or not).
a tray of baked plums
Plums, Apples, and/or Pears, Baked in Marsala or Port
use one or all of
4 granny smith apples (small)
4 beurre bosc pears
4 plums, halved and stoned
adjust the portions of fruit if using only one or two of the fruits – ie you might choose the bake a dish full of fruits for freezing for later.
these amounts are for the 12 fruits above. adjust amounts if baking more
200g jaggery or palm sugar or use caster sugar if these are not available
1 cinnamon stick
juice and zest of 1 lemon
180 ml marsala or tawny port
1 stick fresh rosemary
Heat the oven to 190C.
If using a mixture of the fruits, halve them and stone the plums. If using only one type of fruit, they can be baked whole or halved.
If the fruit are halved, place the apple and pear halves, flesh side down in a baking dish and place the plums whole or halved around the fruit.
Scatter with sugar and lemon zest. Add the cinnamon stick, and drizzle in the port or marsala and lemon juice. Lay the rosemary over the top of the fruit.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 mins until tender. Cool slightly and serve the fruit with their juices.
recipe notes and alternatives
If the plums are small, bake them whole, or add them to the baking dish after 20 – 25 minutes.