Skip to main content

Plummy Accents

Last year it was cherries.  This year it's plums.

For some reason we didn't spot any cherries this summer.  Do the trees take a year off or something?  We'd resigned ourselves to the only free fruit being blackberries - as prolific and delicious as ever - when I happened to notice a couple of plum trees dripping ripe fruit onto the pavement.

I summoned the troops and we made a raid.  Between us we gathered over 6 lb of plums, without even needing recourse to a ladder.  Some were low enough for Toby to pick, although I doubt many of those made it into the boxes!  Occasionally a gust of wind brought a shower of purple fruit down on our heads, which he found extremely funny.  Once we'd packed the basket of Theo's pushchair as full of plums as we could manage, we set off home to work out what to do with them all.

Jam!


The great advantage of plum jam is that you don't have to take the stones out first.

2.4 kg/ 3 lb plums
450 ml / 15 fl oz water
2.4 kg / 3 lb sugar
knob of butter
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Put the plums and water in a preserving pan and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until the fruit is well softened.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then add the butter and lemon juice.  Bring to a lively boil and boil for 10-15 minutes until setting point is reached.

Take off the heat and skim off the plum stones.  Because I hate recipes that say things like this as if it involves a couple of quick flicks of the wrist: be warned.  This took me ten minutes of  fishing around with a slotted spoon, teaspoon, and potato masher (for breaking up the plums).  But you're supposed to leave the jam for ten minutes before potting anyway, so that was OK.  When you think you've got all the stones, pour the jam into sterilised jars, cover and leave to cool.

Cake!


From the recipes I unearthed, it seems that plums and almonds go well together.  So... lump of leftover marzipan, half a packet of ground almonds... voila!  Plum Bakewell Slice.

Base
60g / 2 oz sugar
125g / 4 oz butter or margarine
190g / 6 oz plain / all-purpose flour
190g / 6 oz marzipan
190g / 6 oz plums

Grease and line an 8" x 12" pan with non-stick baking paper.  Rub together sugar, butter and flour to form a crumbly mixture.  Tip into the pan and press down firmly.  Grate or roll the marzipan (mine was a bit old and dry so it grated well; if it's softer you may find it easier to roll it out to slightly smaller than the pan) and spread over the shortbread base.  Halve and stone the plums and arrange on top of the marzipan.



Topping
190g / 6 oz butter or margarine
190g / 6 oz sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
125g / 4 oz ground almonds
60g / 2 oz plain / all-purpose flour
(or 6 oz ground almonds if you prefer)

 Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Stir in the almond extract and ground almonds, or almonds and flour.  Spoon over the plums and spread out carefully.  Bake 40-45 minutes until golden and set.


Freezer!


My ancient copy of Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (revised 1985.  Hey, that's younger than me!  Not that ancient.) advised me to freeze plums in a sugar syrup.  I duly dissolved half a pound of sugar in half a litre of water (mixed units, anyone?) and poured the cold syrup over the halved and stoned plums.  They look OK in their frozen state - I'll let you know how they come out when defrosted.

And yes, we do still have a few left to eat!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dove Valley Walk: finding the mouth of the Dove

The Bonnie Prince Charlie Way was really just a fill-in walk until I could start my next big excursion. Gloopy though the BPC was, I knew it wouldn't actually be flooded, whereas the bits of ground I was tackling next had had ducks paddling on them for most of the winter.   The grand plan is to start from my house in Findern, reaching the start of the River Dove. I can then follow the Dove to Uttoxeter, making up my own route, as this section has no official waymarked path. At Uttoxeter I join the Staffordshire Way up to Rocester, then the Limestone Way beyond that. It stays near the Dove for a while longer. Then it cuts across the southern Peak District to reach Matlock. At Matlock I can pick up the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, heading south through Derby to reach the River Trent at Shardlow. The Trent has its own relatively new Way, leading back to Repton and then, eventually, home. The map shows a rough idea of the route. If only it would stop raining long enough for me to get a

Dove Valley Walk: Marston from both directions

Marston-on-Dove consists of about three farms and a church. If you live more than ten miles away, you've probably never heard of it. Bizarrely, the church is the parish church for Hilton, which is now many times Marston's size after a bunch of houses were built on an old MoD base. Marston Lane bridge  Marston also has a bridge over the River Dove. I walked from Egginton and crossed it north to south, then walked from Tutbury and crossed it south to north. I think I can now consider that bridge pretty well crossed off my list! Walk 1: Egginton to Marston Having visited Claymills Pumping Station , I now know that Egginton used to be dominated by the stench of Burton's sewage, which was pumped up here to be spread across some fields in the hope that it would magically disappear. It didn't. It sat there and stank.  We don't seem to have learned many lessons about making bad things magically disappear (see also: plastic, nuclear waste) but at least sewage treatment has p

A Place at the Table: Spiritual Formation Book 12

"God has ordained in his great wisdom and goodness that eating, and especially eating in company, should be one of the most profound and pleasurable aspects of being human." Miranda Harris had been intending to write a book for years. She'd got as far as a folder full of notes when she died suddenly in a car accident in 2019. When her daughter, Jo Swinney, found the notes, she decided to bring her mum's dream to fruition. A Place at the Table was the result. I thought this was going to be a nice friendly book about having people over for dinner. In one sense it is, but it's pretty hard-hitting as well. Miranda and her husband Peter co-founded the environmental charity A Rocha, so the book doesn't shy away from considering the environmental aspects of what we eat and how we live. They also travelled widely and encountered hunger at close quarters; the tension between seeing such poverty and believing in a generous God comes out clearly in A Place at the Table.