This fruit and cheese dessert is un­ex­pect­edly lus­cious — and health­ful

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - EL­LIE KRIEGER

A plate of fresh fruit and cheese is a de­light­ful way to cap off a sum­mer meal.

But add some heat, honey and herbs to that ba­sic pair­ing and you wind up with a sen­su­ous, out-ofthe-or­di­nary dessert with a real wow fac­tor.

In the ac­com­pa­ny­ing recipe, the heat of the grill warms ripe plum halves just enough to caramelize them a bit and re­lease their juices while the char that forms on their cut sides gives them a slightly savoury flair.

Pretty much any large stone fruit, such as peaches or nec­tarines, would work as a sub­sti­tute. The key is to use what­ever looks and smells the most beau­ti­fully fresh and ripe. The fruit is served warm, or at room tem­per­a­ture, with goat cheese. The chèvre is whipped with honey and a dash of milk into a smooth, dol­lopable cream and then chilled, so its tex­ture re­sem­bles a dense whipped cream. It tastes rich and lightly sweet, with the in­trigu­ing un­der­tone of the dis­tinc­tively grassy cheese.

Each plum half is topped a dol­lop of the cream, punc­tu­ated with a plump black­berry and fin­ished with a driz­zle of honey, le­mon juice and fresh thyme. The herb adds a unique flo­ral essence and is a pleas­ant el­e­ment of sur­prise be­cause thyme is more typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with savoury dishes than dessert. Basil or mint would work well, too.

Grilled Plums with Goat Cheese and Honey-Thyme Driz­zle MAKES 4 SERV­INGS

2½ ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre) 3 ta­ble­spoons low-fat (2 per cent) or whole milk 3½ tbsp honey, di­vided 1 tbsp fresh le­mon juice ½ tea­spoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves 4 medium ripe plums (about 20 ounces to­tal) ½ tbsp olive oil 8 black­ber­ries (about 3½ ounces to­tal)

Com­bine the goat cheese, milk and 1½ ta­ble­spoons of the honey in a mix­ing bowl. Use a hand-held elec­tric mixer to beat for one to two min­utes, un­til creamy. Makes about ½ cup. Cover and re­frig­er­ate for at least 30 min­utes, and up to three days.

Whisk to­gether the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons of honey, the le­mon juice and the thyme in a small bowl.

Pre­heat a grill pan over medi­umhigh heat. Cut the plums in half through the stem end, pit them and brush the cut sides with oil. Grill the plums, cut sides down, for two to four min­utes, un­til they have soft­ened a bit and there’s some char on the plums’ flesh. Trans­fer cut sides up to a plate to cool slightly.

Serve the plums with a dol­lop of the goat cheese cream, each topped with a black­berry and driz­zled with the honey-thyme mix­ture.

Per serv­ing (us­ing low-fat milk): 160 calo­ries, 4 grams pro­tein, 25 g car­bo­hy­drates, 6 g fat, 3 g sat­u­rated fat, 10 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 90 mg sodium, 2 g di­etary fi­bre, 23 g sugar

DEB LIND­SEY, FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

The heat of the grill warms ripe plum halves just enough to caramelize them a bit and re­lease their juices while the char that forms on their cut sides gives them a slightly savoury flair.

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