Plum Seats Soup

plum soup with tarragon and blackberriesDon’t you dare feel sorry for me!

I think I’ll get t‑shirt proclaiming that exact sentiment.

Sure I broke my jaw. Sure my mouth is wired shut. Sure I can’t eat “real” food. And yes it is true that eating is a recreational activity to me. And it’s also true that my days stretch out long, dull and formless now that my muse has flown the coop.

But you really, gotta draw the line somewhere. Here is what I mean:

We are going to the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow with friends to see Ray LaMontagne – that folk, soul, rock genius from Maine! I predict a very special evening.

We have a tradition at the bowl. A long and glorious tradition. I make the dinner and whomever we invite to share our box with us brings wine and dessert.

All of our friends know these “rules”.

Click for more on The Black Chook Click for more on The Black Chook So I was a little suspicious when this week my friends suggested “picking some food up on the way” to the bowl.

That was obviously pity speaking, or worse– they did not want to eat steak sandwiches and corn on the cob in front of me (oh my I just salivated when I typed that). Either motivation is unacceptable.

I am perfectly capable of cooking a lovely meal to take to the bowl. Sure a lot of it will have to be in liquid form. But I can be creative with food. I promise you that.

That’s why I came up with this summery dessert. It’s an ice cold Plum Soup with Tarragon and Blackberries. It is the very essence of summer.

Besides, carrying your picnic into the bowl, spreading out fabulous food and gorgeous wine and dining as dusk becomes evening is perhaps the very best part of living in Los Angeles. No broken jaw is going to deny me this experience. Neither will the drive through at In-N-Out!

So I got to work and planned a menu I could enjoy with my friends under the stars. So I can’t eat some of it. That won’t stop me from enjoying it believe me. You’ll see more of this picnic on Monday.

My brother Grant has done a pairing for this dessert “soup” that will help make the evening special. It’s a Sparkling Shiraz from Australia. So if you think I am some kind of fancy pants wine snob. Think again! Of course all the fancy pants wine snobs with boxes near us at the bowl may raise a Hollywood Chic eyebrow or two. But me, I’ll just keep my mouth closed and enjoy a little bit of bliss.

So don’t feel sorry for me I am doing just fine!


Plum Soup with Tarragon and Blackberries Serves 4–6

  • 6 ripe red plums 
  • 4 ounces blackberries, plus more for garnish
  • 1‑cup dry riesling wine
  • 1/4‑cup sugar
  • 4 sprigs tarragon wrapped in cheesecloth and secured with twine
  • 2 tablespoons triple sec
  • 1/4‑cup water

ripe plumsFill a large bowl with ice and water and set it aside. Bring a medium pot of filled with water to a boil. Drop the plums into the water blanching them until skin starts to get wrinkled, cracked and begins to peel away, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Remove plums from water and immediately place them into the prepared ice bath until cool 4–5 minutes. Remove plums from ice bath, reserving ice bath.

Using your fingers gently peel the plums and cut them away from the pit in chunks.

Place the plum chunks into a medium saucepan. Add 4 oz blackberries, wine, sugar, tarragon, triple sec and the water to the saucepan. Cover the pan, and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low, and allow the fruit to simmer until plums are falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Remove the pan from heat and transfer the contents to a clean bowl. Then place the bowl in the reserved ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cold.

Remove tarragon sprigs from the cold mixture. Using an immersion blender puree the mixture until quite smooth and frothy. Serve garnished with extra blackberries.


Greg Henry


NOTE: This mixture would also make a great base for sorbet. Just freeze it according to the directions of you ice cream machine.

My inspiration for this dessert came from Martha Stewart Living Magazine.