COOKED PLUMS AND YOGURT CHEESE
2 cups fresh yogurt
Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
Honey to taste
In a bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon zest and honey. In another medium bowl, spread a linen tea towel. Pour the yogurt mixture into the tea towel. Secure the top and place the towel in a strainer or colander in the sink or over a bowl. Let all the liquid drip out. This generally takes 12 or so hours.
When the mixture is semi-solid, form the yogurt into a ball. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
24 ripe, dark-colored plums, any size or type
1½ cups water
1½ cups port or red wine
½ cup sugar or honey
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
10 whole cardamom seeds, crushed
Cut the plums in half and discard pits. Place in a medium saucepan and add wine and water to cover the plums. Add the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom seeds.
Bring ingredients to boil, then lower heat and simmer until plums are softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
To serve, put plums on a small dessert plate and add a generous dollop of yogurt cheese to the top.
Both the plums and the yogurt can be made in advance and stored 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Note: Canned plums work just as well as fresh plums—no need to cook them.
By Suzanne Simpson