having been given some of BT's flukey plum largesse it's experiment time for me too.
so to the Googlemobile and instant success. this not being Baking (and therefore Science) I've done what I wanted to one of St Stephanie's recipes. hers is here. cracking stones etc is not for me, I couldn't find the muslin, and I only used 1 kg of plums instead of 1.5kg (saving the rest for something else), so this is my version -
- 1 kg plums
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cups red wine
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 1/2 tsp seeded mustard
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp chilli
- 1 tsp salt (actually, I forgot about this)
- 1 Tbsp ginger
- 1 Tbsp garlic
- score the plums into segments. if the flesh comes off easily, well, hooray, otherwise bung them stones and all into a medium saucepan (like I did).
- put everything else into the pan.
- bring to the boil and stir well.
- turn down to a medium simmer and cook until plums collapse, stirring occasionally. this turned out to be over an hour rather than the 20 mins in the recipe. even then, they still had a lot of structure. cooking for an hour doesn't do any harm anyway, and dear god, it smelled fantastic. I stopped once the liquid started to reduce and become syrupy.
- strain liquid into a bowl then tip it back in the pan.
- pick out all the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and stones. yes, okay, the muslin would have been handy.
- dump the fruit back into the pan.
- whizz with your stick blender. you'll find out if you left a stone in there!
- bring back to the boil and continue to cook till it's as thick as you like. remember this doesn't have to become thick like jam, it's a sauce.
- spoon/pour/funnel into hot, clean jars.
- seal tightly once the steam has stopped rising from the jars. but don't just walk away from them and come back later - they've got to still be very hot.
- leave for a week before using. in theory. not sure if I can follow that instruction.