This drizzly autumn long weekend, whilst my family is chowing down on hot cross buns, I will be thickly spreading summer on toast in the form of 'Luisa' plum jam. Mmmmmmmmm! Which reminded me that this post has been sitting in my drafts folder since, oooof, who knows when. I am posting it much too late to be of any use to anybody in the southern hemisphere this year, but perhaps it will be useful to those of you heading into spring....
When life gives you plums, so very many plums... You go through all of your cookbooks and dig out every single recipe to use them all up!
This year we've had, at a guess, a total of around 40kgs of plums from the 3 trees in our orchard (a fourth tree didn't fruit at all). I know many of you have had that amount from single trees, so we are certainly not the only ones trying to make the most of all of this fruit, all at once. And in years to come, as our trees mature and reach their full fruiting potential... oooof, I know that I am going to want to have a very handy resource of recipes to make the most of them.
So in order to keep my plum recipes in one place, I thought I would start a little list here on The Tree Diaries. I would love to hear your own favourite plum recipes or preserving methods too.
Plum jam - I have shared my standard jam recipe elsewhere on the blog, so I won't bother repeating it but it's an easy way to use fruit and be able to enjoy their flavour all year round. There are so many delicious baked goods that can be made with jam, so you don't have to spend all of winter missing summer fruits. Best of all, it only requires the fruit of your choice and sugar, which I always have on hand (plums are a medium-high pectin fruit, so you probably won't need to add any pectin to achieve setting). I made four jars of plum jam from the very last of our plums, the 'Luisa' variety.
Plum cordial - I used the same recipe as for nectarine cordial that I shared a few weeks ago, but this time I had tartaric acid on hand so I added a small amount (1 tsp, for a batch that used 350g plums). I used the other half of our Luisa plums for cordial as they have the nicest colour.
Plum tart - this, my friends, was ahhhhhhhmazing. After spending the better part of a day looking and salivating over a million and one versions of plum crumble cakes, I found this very simple tart in The Cook and Baker cookbook and knew it was the one. Better still, we have lots of apricot jam from earlier in summer. I can not possibly emphasise enough how delicious this is. Although, to be honest, there are about thirty recipes in The Cook and Baker book that I feel I absolutely need to have in my belly! This recipe can be found elsewhere on the internet in it's original form, in case you want to skip my ad-libbing.
Ingredients: 300g plain flour (GF works wonderfully) // 150g cold butter, diced // 250g caster sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling // pinch of salt // 2 egg yolks at room temperature // 1 tsp vanilla extract // 750g ripe plums // 4 tbsp apricot jam
Method: Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and fully line a 20x30cm slab tin. Whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and salt and whizz again. Add the egg yolks, vanilla and 2 tbsp of cold water. Whizz until the dough forms a ball. Press the dough evenly into the tin. Quarter the plums and place them on the dough in rows. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the extra caster sugar and then bake for 45-50 mins (until golden). Leave the tart in the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Gently heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan and then strain it through a sieve. Brush the plums liberally with the jam as a glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature - either way it is beyond delicious!
This one is definitely on the menu again for next summer's harvest!