These tender spiced grilled plums highlight sweet summer stone fruit in the best possible way. For this easy dessert that's ready in just 20 minutes, quartered plums are gently cooked in sweet spiced orange butter in a foil packet on the grill or over your campfire.
I will happily admit that in the summer, I'm a farmers market junkie. Every Thursday afternoon from June to October, our family makes the blissfully short trek to our community farmers market and inevitably returns home with far more produce than we can hope to consume. By mid-summer, our fridge and counter are bursting with our favorite fruits and vegetables, with stone fruits topping the list.
Which is how this spiced grilled plums recipe came to be. After devouring the ripest, juiciest dark ruby plums over the sink, juice dripping down our arms, the remaining plums that were only just ripe and still slightly firm needed their own special treatment. And what a treatment it is!
These plums are quartered, topped with a simple combination of butter, orange juice, brown sugar, and nutmeg, then wrapped up in a snug package and gently cooked on the grill or over a campfire. The result is meltingly tender plums that softly slump into a buttery spiced syrup. The hardest part of the whole process is waiting for them to be cool enough to eat.
Why This Recipe is Great for Camping
- It requires only five ingredients and is ready in just 20 minutes.
- It is made completely in a foil packet, so there is no need to dirty any extra dishes.
- It can be made over a grill or your campfire.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Plums--This recipe is intended for plums that are ripe, but not overripe and juicy. Extremely ripe fruit will break down too much during cooking. Choose plums that give gently when squeezed but don't feel soft.
- Brown sugar--This adds just a little bit of sweetness to the plums.
- Orange juice--If you want to get fancy, or make a grown-up version of this dessert, try swapping in an orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
- Pile the quartered plums on a large sheet of foil. Top with butter, sugar, orange juice, and nutmeg. Fold up and seal the foil packet.
- Grill the plums over medium-low heat until tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
You can eat them directly from the foil packet, or plop them into bowls and drizzle the spiced syrup from the bottom of the pouch over the fruit. Either way, they are exceptional on their own, but you could top them with ice cream or whipped cream.
Place your food in the center of the foil. Bring the long edges of the foil up to meet, and then fold them over a couple of times, creating a seam that runs over the top of your food. Then working with one end at a time, fold it over a few times to seal the end.
I like this method because it's easy to open the seal on top to check them for doneness and then close, if necessary, and it also creates an easy pouch for eating when opened.
There are two reasons. First, the plums will be very hot after cooking. If you dive in right away, I promise you will be nursing a burned mouth for days.
The second reason is that during the cooling period, the real magic happens. The plums continue to soften and slump and the buttery juices that collected at the bottom of the foil packet thicken up into a sweet syrup for drizzling over the cooked fruit.
The key to grilling plums, or any stone fruit in a foil packet, is to keep the heat reasonably low. Around 300°F on a grill is good. If your foil packet is over a campfire, you should hear gentle sizzling, but not a lot of crackling and popping.
Because the fruit is encased in a foil pouch, it can break down quite quickly if cooked at a high temperature. Cook it over gentle heat and check it frequently as it begins to soften.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- Don't flip the foil packet while it is cooking.
- To check your plums, gently open the foil packet from the top and give them a poke with a knife. If they're not ready, close up the foil packet and wait a few minutes. Don't try to increase the heat to rush things along as this will result in the plums breaking down.
- This spiced grilled plums recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets. To make it vegan, use plant-based butter.
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Spiced Grilled Plums
- 4 medium plums quartered
- 2 teaspoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 big pinches nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- Preheat the grill for medium-low heat (300°F | 150°C) or set up a bed of dying coals under a campfire grate.
- Pile the plum quarters on a large sheet of aluminum foil.
- Top with butter, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Drizzle over the orange juice.
- Fold up and seal the foil packet.
- Place the plum foil packet over direct heat on the grill or your campfire grate. Grill until the plums are tender when pierced with a knife and just beginning to slump, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and open the top of the foil packet slightly to let steam escape. Let the plums sit in their juices for at least 10 minutes before serving. They will smell amazing and it will be incredibly difficult to be patient, but it's worth the wait.
- Serve the warm plums with the syrup from the bottom of the pouch drizzled over the top.
- Don't use overripe fruit--Extremely ripe fruit will break down too much during cooking. Choose plums that are ripe, but still firm.
- How to check your plums for doneness--Gently open the foil packet from the top and give them a poke with a knife. If they're not ready, close up the foil packet and wait a few minutes. Don't try to increase the heat to rush things along as this will result in the plums breaking down.
- Let the plums rest--This is the most important part of the whole recipe. The plums will be very hot, so they need to cool, and as they cool, the buttery juices will thicken up into a sauce.
- Dietary--This recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets. To make it vegan, use plant-based butter.