Roasted plums may be the easiest dessert you make this summer. They’re simply sprinkled with brown sugar, strewn with star anise, and roasted until soft and crimson. Spectacular with ice cream or mascarpone yet equally stunning served straight from the baking dish.
These spice roasted plums are easy to make, healthy, and completely irresistible. Need we say more?–Angie Zoobkoff
Roasted Plums FAQs
What’s the difference between plums, pluots, plumcots, and apriums?
Surely you’ve noticed some kinda kooky names attached to the plethora of plum-like creatures proliferating in produce aisles in recent years. Pluot. Plumcot. Aprium. Each of them are slightly different yet still largely the same in terms of being a cross of plums and apricots.
In contrast to the rather tart tang of old-fashioned plum varieties, these new-fangled stone fruits have a sweet-tart flavor, notes author Dana Jacobi. They’re all good in our book. Just slightly different from one another.
Fortunately you’ll want to make this again and again and again so you’ll have ample opportunities to discern which speak to your soul.
How should I serve these roasted plums?
They’re wonderful on their own, but, as the author suggests, a dollop of whipped cream, crème fraîche, ice cream, or ricotta would be welcome on top.
- Unsalted butter for the baking dish
- 8 ripe black plums halved and pitted
- 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
- 8 whole star anise crushed into pieces
- Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ricotta for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter a baking dish just large enough to hold the plum halves in a single layer.
- Arrange the plum halves, cut side up, in the prepared dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar even over the plum halves, then sprinkle with the star anise.
- Roast until the sugar has melted, the plums are warmed through, and the skins are just beginning to wrinkle at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how ripe your plums. Let the plums cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the baking dish.
- To serve, remove and discard the star anise. Scoop some ice cream into dessert bowls and arrange 2 plum halves on top or place 2 plum halves in a dessert dish and dollop with some whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ricotta. Spoon some of the crimson juices lingering in the baking dish over everything. Serve right away.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe was sooo good and sooo easy. It’s amazing how simple ingredients can make such transformations. I found really sweet black plums that were very juicy, which created the natural crimson sauce that looked so pretty over ice cream.
The star anise gave just enough spice without being overpowering. The brown sugar added a nice touch.
This method would be great with other stone fruits as well or even a combination. The plums needed about 20 minutes in the oven for the desired tenderness and came out perfect.
These roasted plums are a simple recipe that effectively allows the flavors of mid- to late- summer, and even early fall to shine through while allowing for a more upscale presentation than plums eaten out of hand.
I used black plums as specified, in a range from very ripe to not quite ripe. They were all easy to halve but the not-quite-ripe ones pitted better. The ripe to very ripe ones didn’t look clean and pristine after the halving and pitting; rather, they looked flattened and dilapidated, which didn’t affect their delicious taste but did affect how I would present them.
My plums were much juicier than those in the photo, and there was a puddle of delicious red juice in the bottom of my dish after roasting. I cut down the sugar by 1/3. They were plenty sweet when fully roasted. The ripest of the plums were ready in 15 minutes. The anise aroma was lovely. The next ripest plums came out of the oven after 20 minutes. But it was the ones that were a bit underripe and baked for 25 minutes that were the best of all, as they had the longest opportunity to pick up the flavor of the star anise.
While the idea of cooling the plums and saving them for later might be practical, the idea of eating them right away won out. This is good as more than just a vehicle for vanilla ice cream. While the idea of serving this as a dessert may be appealing to some, I think they would also be great as part of a special breakfast or brunch. They could be served with regular or Greek yogurt, either as a topping or stirred in. They could be topped with granola. Other things that could be tasty with these plums include softly whipped cream (either sweetened or unsweetened), mascarpone, crème fraîche, or sour cream.
To enhance the depth of the sweetener, dark brown sugar might be an additional suggestion, as well as possibly enhancing the star anise flavor by infusing the sugar with the star anise first. I found that 1 1/2 plums seemed to be the perfect serving size. My plums weren’t small, though this certainly could be done with the smaller Damson plums or red plums instead of black. Or even yellow plums.
I only used 2 teaspoons sugar. The plums were sweet and sprinkling on more felt like too much since I thought they would seem sweeter after roasting, and the instructions said to serve them with ice cream or frozen yogurt. This felt to me like a recipe for showcasing ripe summer fruit, fruit that doesn’t really need much to make it the star of the show.
I could eat these regularly. This recipe would be perfect to pull out when you’re visiting friends in the summer and you’ve just gone to the farmers market or you’ve been asked to make something when you’re at your friend’s beach house or country home or summer cottage and you’re not quite sure what to do or what might go with whatever they’re serving.
This was a great quick dessert that would be fantastic at the end of a heavy meal. The roasted spiced plums felt special and luxurious but not stodgy.
I had to deviate a little from the recipe because the only plums I could find were tiny—it took 14 to fill a 9-inch baking pan. I thought I would be clever and save myself time by leaving the pits in and removing them after the plums were cooked. Rookie mistake. They weren’t in the oven long enough to give up their grip on those pits, and I should’ve been a dutiful tester and removed them from the beginning. Don’t be like me! But do make this recipe.
It was only very slightly sweet, which made it perfect as a topping for ice cream. I had leftover plums the next morning on plain Greek yogurt, and together it was a little too tart, so I’ll stick with ice cream next time.
The spice is also very subtle, which surprised me given the amount of star anise. The plums didn’t create a huge amount of syrup, which I think is why there was just a hint of spice. I’m not a huge licorice fan, so this was perfect for me. And at 25 minutes from start to finish, it was quick and easy (apart from my self-inflicted pit debacle). This is definitely going in the holiday menu arsenal!
I love this easy yet decadent summertime dessert! I’m giddy each summer when stone fruit are at their peak of ripeness. From apricots and plums to nectarines and peaches, sign me up. Roasting these summertime gems for a quick and easy dessert is one of the best ways to use these ripe seasonal fruits. That’s why I love this recipe for roasted spiced plums. The ripe black plums really don’t need much tinkering with, but the sprinkling of sweet brown sugar and the spiciness from the star anise enhanced the loveliness of the roasted plums without masking their natural tastiness.
My plums took about 20 minutes to get warmed through and perfectly roasted. I served them immediately with a dollop of crème fraîche, but I could also see vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or even creamy ricotta cheese working well as a topping.
I love the warm pepperiness that the star anise gives the plums, but I could also see sprinkling the tops with ground cinnamon as an alternative spice.
Originally published August 14, 2015
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
These roasted plums are absolutely the most stunning summer recipe you will make—and for the least amount of effort. What is so beautiful about roasted fruit is the multiplier effect—the taste becomes more intense. The simplicity of the star anise and brown sugar delivers a sophisticated flavor.
Don’t worry if your star anise is in pieces, it makes it easy to sprinkle them. You can use the recipe exactly as written with nice big plums or even pluots (I used a mixture). They’re dramatic looking and great for dessert or breakfast, as no one can resist a pastry-free offering this pretty. I will be making this again and again until plums go away.