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 concentrated plummy goodness filling the air with its 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 prefect accompaniment to a cheese board on a chilly evening.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
Plum, Walnut and Cinnamon Jam
- 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.