Tag: sweet

Pflaumen muss (plum puree)

Pflaumen Muss in jar, sitting on a printed 'love' sign with crockery in the backgroundMy 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)

How to

  1. Drain and pit the plums and put them into a heavy-based pot, on a high heat.
  2. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar and any of the optional spices.
  3. 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.
    Plums in heavy pot on stove, early in the cookPlums in heavy pot on stove, a bit later in the cook - slightly reduced
  4. 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.
    Plums in heavy pot on stove, a bit later in the cook - more reduced, thicker consistencyPlums in heavy pot on stove, a bit later in the cook - more reduced, ready for putting into jars
  5. Tip in a small measure of cognac if you like, about five minutes from the end of the cook.
  6. 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.
    Pflaumen Muss in jar, sitting on a printed 'love' sign with crockery in the background


Rhubarb and strawberry jam

Rhubarb and strawberry jam in a jar, next to flowers and near a candle. There’s a sign in the background that says ‘The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives’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)

How to

  1. 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
    Rhubarb chopped up in pot
  2. 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.
    Rhubarb and strawberry in pot
  3. 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.
    Cooking strawberries and rhubarb to reduce themJam on stove, final stages
  4. After about 20 minutes of cooking time, your jam is ready. Spoon it into a small jar for later, or tuck in right away.
    Jam in a car near a blue candle holder

Marzipan with cognac

Completed marzipan logs on a trayThis 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.

How to

  1. Empty the almond meal into a large bowl. Run your fingers through it to break down any clumps.P1000069
  2. Sieve icing sugar into the almond meal and mix it through with your hands.
  3. Mix boiling water, lemon juice and almond essence in a cup.
  4. 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.

  5. If you’re adding cognac, do it now, then put your hands into the bowl to mix it into a ball.
    Marzipan ball on a board with icing sugar, ready to be divided up and rolled into logs
  6. 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.
    Marzipan logs cut, ready for rolling
  7. 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.
    Rolled marzipan logs, ready to be coated in chocolate
  8. 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.
    Melting chocolate on a plate, over a pot of hot water that’s on the stove
  9. Place baking paper onto a flat oven tray.
  10. 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.
    Marzipan logs coated with chocolate, drying on baking paper
  11. Let the chocolate set then bag up the spoils, or chop a log into slices and serve it with some decent coffee. Enjoy!

    The end product

    The end product