A slow lazy autumn Sunday, coffee and papers in bed, followed by a relaxed breakfast. Billie Holiday is singing on the stereo, there is a loaf of bread in the oven, and puttering away on the stove is a big pot of Plum and Walnut Jam, the concentrated plummy goodness filling the air with a delicious jammy aroma.
I can’t actually think of anywhere I would rather be at this moment. Home. A pause between two madly busy weeks, and a chance to centre myself, catch my breath and spend some time doing things that bring me pure, unadulterated pleasure.
For anyone who has been reading along, it’s no surprise that I love plums, so when they are in season here in Germany I have them in the kitchen almost constantly. Last year when we were living in Cyprus I spent a season selling jams and preserves at one of the local markets, and during the short plum season, this was one of my favourite and slightly unusual (but delicious) recipes.
The plums have to be simmered slowly first before adding the sugar to allow time for the skins to soften. Fresh orange juice and cinnamon add a beautiful complexity of flavour, and at the last minute, a handful of roughly chopped walnuts adds a fabulous nutty surprise. This jam is perfectly delicious on toast in the morning but is also a perfect accompaniment to a cheese board on a chilly evening.
This recipe makes enough for several jars, so there should be plenty left to give as gifts for Christmas in a few months – if you haven’t eaten it all first! The walnuts do soften over time but even soft have a wonderfully nutty flavour that makes this jam so special. If you’re planning on eating more as a breakfast, feel free to up the cinnamon – for the cheeseboard it can be too overpowering so stick to half a teaspoon or leave it out altogether.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 1.5 kg plums
- 100 ml fresh squeezed orange juice
- 300 ml water
- 1 kg sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 150 g walnuts , roughly chopped
- finely grated zest of 2 organic oranges
- 2 Tbsp rum or brandy
- Begin by washing your jars and lids in hot soapy water, then put the jars in the oven at 100°C / 210 °F / Gas ½ to sterilise.
- Wash, stone and quarter the plums, then put them in a big pot with the orange juice and water. Bring to a simmer and cook really gently, stirring often to prevent the skins sticking to the bottom of the pot until the fruit and skins are soft. This will take 15 to 20 minutes, but don't rush it. It is important that the skins are softened before adding the sugar as otherwise they will harden.
- Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir until it is completely dissolved, then turn the heat up and bring to the boil until setting point has reached (104.5°C or do the 'wrinkle test' with a plate from the freezer - see note). Usually I would say not to stir the jam during this time but plum jam has an unfortunate habit of sticking to the bottom of the pan, so keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.
- When the setting point has been reached,remove the jam from the heat, stir in the walnuts, orange zest and rum or brandy (if using).
- Pour into sterilised jars (a jam funnel will make life easier here) and seal.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months and refrigerate once opened.
Note: the 'wrinkle test' is the easiest way to see if a jam is going to set if you don't have a sugar thermometer. Before you begin to cook put 2 or three small saucers in the freezer. To test if the jam is set, remove it from the heat, put a small teaspoon of jam onto the saucer and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Push the jam on the saucer with your finger, and if a skin has formed and it wrinkles, the jam will set.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 60 Serving Size: 2 tsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I am allergic to nuts! Can I leave them out of Plum and Walnut Jam?
Of course you can, simply omit them from the recipe.
How long will Plum and Walnut Jam keep?
6 months to a year, if you keep it in a cool, dark place.