On Sunday evening, James and I spent our last evening on the deck drinking frosty beverages–of course, not the last of all time–just the last of the summer. Bid and Paul bring us loads of berries every Friday night during the summer, and James likes to freeze them for our “Frosty Bs” on Saturday and Sunday evenings. However, Bid and Paul have gone back to the big city, so no more Frosty Bs until next summer! Last week, they also brought us a huge bucket of plums from their trees on Hornby and a cookbook for James from The Acorn–a vegetarian restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver.
As we imbibed our bevvies, we went through the cookbook page by page, and evaluated each recipe to decide which we would make first. We decided on their preserved plums, but, of course, I made the requisite changes, which I’ll share here.
To preserve any fruit, you simply clean and pit the fruit, place it in a sterile jar, cover with simple syrup, and then process for twenty minutes so the jar of fruit will remain shelf stable. You can also add different spices to the fruit–cinnamon bark, vanilla beans, juniper berries, cardamom pods, etc. And you can add a bit of liquor–bourbon has a nice flavour for peaches, for example. The Acorn method involves the addition of cardamom pods, and I, of course, added a healthy dose of plum brandy!
Preserved Brandied Plums
Step 1: Wash, half, and pit….
- 5 lbs. ripe plums
Step 2: Sterlize…
- 4 1-litre mason jars and lids
Step 3: Divide the plums amongst the four jars
Step 4: Pour into each jar…
- 3 ounces plum brandy (12 ounces total) OPTIONAL
Step 5: Make a simple syrup by mixing in a sauce pan and simmering for 5 minutes…
- 4 cups filtered water
- 3.5 cups white sugar
- 10 cardamom pods
Step 6: Scoop out the cardamom pods and pour simple syrup over plums in each jar. Leave 2 inches at the top of each jar, and screw on the lids until finger-tight.
Step 7: At this point, you can just refrigerate the jars and eat them over the next month or two OR you can process them to make them shelf stable for a couple of years. To process the jars, place in a huge canning pot of boiling water and allow them to boil for 20 minutes. Remove the jars and leave until they cool. Once you hear the tops pop, tighten the lids and place on a dark shelf until you are ready to eat them. If you need more detailed instructions, check out this link from Allrecipes. Once you open a jar, you must refrigerate it.
I always think it’s so disappointing that you start with full jars of fruit, but once you add the hot liquid, they shrink to half the size and float to the top!
Anyway, I remain obsessed with Jamie Oliver’s toasties, so I wondered how a toastie of preserved plums would taste and thought I’d give it a try. I left out the yogurt because I have none, and replaced the water with the liquid from the preserved plums (which is a mixture of simple syrup and brandy). The result was surprisingly delicious and would be amazing with a dollop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
Brandied Plum Toastie
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 7 TBS liquid from preserved plums
- 10 preserved plum halves
- 1 – 2 TBS brown sugar (depending on how sweet you prefer your toastie)
- 1 TBS vegan butter
Heat a flat pan and add vegan butter. Mix the flour, baking power, and liquid from the preserved plums together to form a thick batter. Once the pan is hot and the butter bubbling, add the batter to the pan and spread out to form a large circle. Sprinkle brown sugar over the surface and, as the edges start bubbling, place the plums on one side of the circle. Use a spatula to flip the empty side over the plums. Turn down the heat and let heat through for a minute or two. Flip for another minute or so.
Delicious! Next time I make these, I’m going to top with a small scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the blueberry syrup I made earlier in the summer!
And the song of the day is Ivan and Alyosha’s “Don’t Lose Your Love” because it reminds me of our darling girl, Stella–James’ canine soulmate–who we lost at the end of the winter this year.