If you have a plum tree, you have an annual need to do something with the bucketloads of fruit on your tree.
This recipe came about from many seasons of making different things; one late night, we added a nip of rum
to our bowls of stewed plums with dollops of vanilla yoghurt. We have never looked back. – Maria
1 kg plums, stones removed, quartered
¼ tsp ground star anise
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of dried thyme
A few pinches of freshly cracked black pepper
Pinch of sea salt flakes
2 heaped tbsp honey, plus extra to taste
2–3 star anise
About 2–3 tbsp good-quality dark rum
Place all the ingredients, except the whole star anise and rum, in a medium saucepan and stir. Gently heat over medium–low heat to a very low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Add more honey to taste.
Transfer the plum mixture to sterilised jars. Place a whole star anise on the top and add a swig of rum (about 1 tablespoon) before sealing. Heat-treat in a water bath at 90°C for 30 minutes.
The plums will be most flavoursome after infusing for several weeks. Store in the pantry for 1–2 years. Once opened, store in the fridge for 2 weeks and make sure you use only a clean spoon to remove the plums, as the sugar content is low and mould will form more easily than in conventional preserves.
Serve either hot or cold, with a dollop of yoghurt or ice cream.
COOK’S NOTES: If you don’t want to preserve the plums, you can also use this recipe to make a batch to serve for dessert. Simply omit filling the plums into jars and instead cool them in the pot or serve immediately. Add the rum to each portion at the table for some extra fanfare.