My mother’s sister, my Tante Kathe, used to make Pflaumen Muss by roasting plums in the oven for hours, with some sugar and lemon juice.
Here’s a version inspired by her original cook, but using plums in jars.
This dish yields about 400 g of gooey goodness (not much left after starting with 2.1 kgs!), and takes about 3.5 hours to prepare, cook and put into jars.
Use it for a tart filling, or have it on toast or with latkes. I think a vegan coconut pastry that’s slightly less sweet or even a bit salty might make a good pairing.
- 3 x 700 g tins or jars whole plums in juice
- 3 tblsp brown sugar
- 3 star anise (optional)
- 5 cloves (optional)
- 4 strips of lemon rind (use a vegetable peeler) (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cardamon (optional)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 30 ml cognac (at the end, if you like)
- Drain and pit the plums and put them into a heavy-based pot, on a high heat.
- Add the lemon juice, brown sugar and any of the optional spices.
- Boil the ingredients, and then keep the mix on a moderately high heat for about 40 minutes to start the reduction process. Stir every 5-10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat slightly so you have a slow bubble going on, and keep stirring now and again for another 2 and a bit hours. You’ll notice sticky plum puree forming on the bottom of the pot, so it’s good to move that around.
- Tip in a small measure of cognac if you like, about five minutes from the end of the cook.
- When the mixture resembles a thick puree (about 3.25 hrs after you started cooking it), you’re ready to put it into sterilised jars.
If you’re making scones, why not whip this jam up while the scones bake? It takes about 20 minutes and yields a small jar of compote-like jam. It’s velvety and luscious and gracefully lasts for week or two in the fridge. It’s easy to scale the recipe up, and it’s vegan friendly and gluten free.
5–6 stalks of rhubarb
1 punnet fresh strawberries, or one can of strawberries, drained
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1 small lemon (and while you’re at it, zest the lemon rind and store it in the fridge for another use)
- Chop the rhubarb stalks into 1 cm lengths and place them in a medium-sized pot on a high heat. Add lemon juice and cook on high for about four minutes, stirring occasionally
- Turn the heat down to medium then add peeled, hulled and chopped strawberries (or tip the drained strawberries into the pot). Keep stirring. If you like, add a bit of lemon zest as well.
- Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract and stir. Continue to cook the jam on a medium heat until the mixture turns compote-like. If you used tinned strawberries, break the whole strawberries up with the wooden spoon.
- After about 20 minutes of cooking time, your jam is ready. Spoon it into a small jar for later, or tuck in right away.
This marzipan is super easy and quick. The ratio of almond meal to sugar is 4:1 so it’s not sickly. There’s not a candy thermometer in sight, nor is there any liquid glucose.
It’s vegan if you use vegan chocolate.
400 g almond meal
100 g pure icing sugar
1 lemon, juiced*
1/3 cup boiling water*
1 tsp almond essence*
Cognac to taste. I use more than 30 ml but less than 60 ml.
150 g melted dark chocolate (I’ve used Lindt dark chocolate with almond flakes, but you can use any chocolate you prefer.)
*The liquid you make up for one recipe actually does a double batch with some to spare.
- Empty the almond meal into a large bowl. Run your fingers through it to break down any clumps.
- Sieve icing sugar into the almond meal and mix it through with your hands.
- Mix boiling water, lemon juice and almond essence in a cup.
- Add a few tablespoons of the water mix to the dry ingredients and stir it through with a spoon. Keep adding water little-by-little until the mixture starts to come together. It becomes wet very quickly so if you want to add cognac, make sure the mix is crumbly – not a dough – but still beginning to stick together.
The end goal is to mix it into a pliable ball that you can cut into eighths and roll into logs with your hands. It becomes wet very quickly, so add the water mix a little at a time.
- If you’re adding cognac, do it now, then put your hands into the bowl to mix it into a ball.
- Dust a large wooden board or your bench top with icing sugar and place the marzipan ball onto the surface. Cut it into four, and then four again.
- Roll each portion into a log. You might find it useful to have a bowl of water on hand. When your hands get sticky, a bit of water on your hands helps when forming the logs. Dust more icing sugar onto your surface and onto the marzipan as you need to.
- Melt chocolate. I use a large plate with slightly raised sides over a small pot of boiling water. The larger the plate, the easier it will be to coat the marzipan.
- Place baking paper onto a flat oven tray.
- Coat marzipan logs, one-by-one, by rolling them in the melted chocolate. Guide them using two butter knives. Transfer the covered marzipan to the tray.
- Let the chocolate set then bag up the spoils, or chop a log into slices and serve it with some decent coffee. Enjoy!!