P is for Plums

P is for Plums, Poodles, Peas, Pancakes, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Potager, Present and Past, Possibilities, Principles, Palaver, Print, Plumpness and Poetry. I think I’m going to plump for Plums!

I love them you see, particularly English ones, like early Victorias with their yellow and pink speckled skins and their greenish insides, little wild mirabelles gathered from ornamentals in the park, or just plucked from a tree branch overhanging the street,  eaten fresh as they are, or in a plum sorbet, or baked in a crumble, as a cake topping, ruby jam liquifying on a buttery crumpet in the middle of winter, or spicy in a chutney with roast potatoes….

This is a great new plum recipe from the Dan Lepard Guardian column for a Wholewheat Plum tart. It reminds me of a french patisserie cake for some reason; it’s not quite cake and it’s not quite tart.

The base is dense and has a slightly dry mouthfeel, due I think to the wholemeal flour or maybe I overcooked it,  but it is spicy with cinammon and works beautifully with the plums and the shiny sticky glaze of warmed jam that you put on once the tart has cooled down.  I thought the sherry cream might make the whole thing a bit rich but it worked well for us.   It was also an easy one to make, I used Shipton Mill’s fine wholewheat pastry flour as I didn’t have any stoneground wholemeal so I am not sure if that had an effect on the final result or not.

 I really enjoyed it the next day warmed up.

The glistening plum jam glaze caramelized slightly on being reheated and made it extra delicious the following day.

I used a mixture of creme fraiche, brown sugar and Pedro Ximenez sherry for the cream topping. Wow!

The photos all came off the Ipad which is why they look a bit grainy, but I hope you get the general idea of what it looked like. I think the plums I used were very firm, they didn’t collapse quite as much as the ones in the photo on the Guardian. As a footnote, I tried making this again, only using apricots instead and it wasn’t nearly as successful, the apricots contained far more water and they made the centre of the cake soggy. So if you make this, stick to the recipe!

I also like prunes, particularly the French pruneaux d’Agen, which have a completely different taste from those big chewy Californian ones. But prunes will have to wait for another day….

Just got back from a long day’s driving… what a lot of rain. The word Puddles is an understatement, Flash Floods more like. Edit: I’ve just seen the late news. There were floods all along the South Coast, we must have driven through part of it on our way down to London. A month’s rainfall in a day in Bournemouth….

20 thoughts on “P is for Plums

  1. sallybr

    I love plums, and love prunes too – especially prunes soaked in Armagnac, which we used to have while living in Paris, one of our favorite desserts, small and satisfying

    beautiful plum tart, that Lepard is always coming up with incredibly good stuff!

    1. Joanna Post author

      In the winter I used to soak dried fruits and gently stew them with a little brown sugar and eat compote for breakfast with a spoon of yogurt. I’ve never had them for dessert – must try that Sally :)

  2. Andrew

    So far this season I have made spiced plum cake, tarte aux prunes and a vanilla cheesecake with plum sauce.
    Might try Dan’s recipe next.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Do you have an icecream maker at theloaf? C has been making fabulous Roast Plum sorbet over on her blog. I think it’s a good idea to have lots of cake while all your building works are going on. Keep the builders sweet and the customers happy :)

  3. Jeannette

    I had a big bag of plums given to me from my next door neighbour last weekend. I made a few plum crumbles and also stewed some to go with ice-cream. Some we ate as they were, sweet and juicy and lovely!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Jeannette how lovely to be gifted plums ! It’s definitely plum season right now – I am looking for damsons but haven’t seen any yet round here :)

  4. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Prunes was how Little Monkey started his day this morning. The fridge was beeping, and I went to investigate and there he is like a squirrel, cheeks stuffed into the bag of prunes.

    Plums are always a hit. I will try and remember this recipe when our summer stone fruit hit.

    1. Joanna Post author

      What a vision that conjures up, clever little squirrel! Prunes are delicious, I am very fond of those ones that are soft when you buy them, though I do like poaching them too with a vanilla pod and other whole spices.

  5. teawithhazel

    i love the way the plums have nestled themselves so comfortably into the cake and i am in heaven as i imagine the sourness of the plums contrasting with the sweetness of the cake..

    when it’s plum season i take a drive into the dandenongs (a low mountain range behind melbourne) where i know of an abandoned victoria plum orchard..last year we picked about 8 kilos..they are my one of favourite plums but they’re not seen in the shops here much..another one that is never available in the shops is the damson plum..i tried growing one in my previous house but the possums defoliated it constantly and it perished..that reminds me..must try growing one here..

    1. Joanna Post author

      An abandoned v p orchard? I would be in heaven. They appear briefly in the shops here, but mostly we get imported plums from Spain and in the winter from all over the world, but they are so not the same. English plums are the best and damsons for jam are the Queeen of plums.

      The only time I tried growing a plum tree it didn’t make it through its first winter. I would like to try again but I have no space in my garden for new trees.

  6. Nip it in the bud

    plums and prunes are severely under-rated (why does it feel like a naughty confession to admit to liking them when you’re the right side of pensionable age?).
    Peas made it to my shortlist too (love love love them and one day I’ll work out how to grow them well too!). Didn’t make my number one spot though as you’ll see later :o)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Maybe because they are so plentiful and cheap right now and don’t require a conservatory or a special sheltered warm wall like peaches and nectarines. They don’t have that glamour do they? Well I’ll stick up for them :)

  7. heidi

    We used to have a prune plum tree when I was growing up! I loved to use them in baking and just gorge on them for plain eating. Now I only eat them when I see them in the fruitstands. :) thanks for the memories.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The memories of plums past are what prompt me to buy them each year too Heidi :) I’ve just found some little dark damsons at the market today and am going to make jam with them tomorrow. They are my absolute favourite for jam :)

  8. emilysincerely

    Oh you do have a lovely list of P’s!! Plums. I love the look of your plum tart before baking and after too. We put in two plum trees 2 years ago. I know I have high hopes, but I hope for plums this next spring. I do know, realistically, it might be another year. we used to go to a rifle range and camp on weekends while my dad shot in a competition match or just practiced. There was an old abandoned farm house on the property and we would pick and eat off the plum tree until our tummies ached. YUM! (sorry, this laptop I am using is the pits (& I am impatient becuase I can’t do anything fast!) Emily

    1. Joanna Post author

      Abandoned and purloined fruit sounds extra good ;) I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your new plum trees fruiting next year!

  9. C

    Thank you for the lovely link! I’m never sure about plums, but I probably like them more than I think I do, if that makes sense. I like the fact that they’re tart and sweet. When I was younger and we moved house, there were two ancient VPs in the garden. One died quite quickly, but we had quite a bit of fruit off the other before it too died. J planted a new plum tree, called ‘Damson’, well, we think it was a plum tree rather than an actual damson tree, because the fruit were too big for damsons though they were pretty dark. Mysterious! Anyway, it took a few years to get going and we then unfortunately had to sell and move. Very sad. They were good plums and made good plum jam.

    I love your picture of peas, sweet peas are some of my favourite flowers. We used to grow those too, and take bunches and bunches across to our elderly neighbour across the road. Memories. I must get round to planting some next year.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think it can be quite confusing, what these trees are called. I have bought plums called ‘damson plums’ which are smaller and darker than big plums, maybe that was what you planted? The imported plums we get the rest of the year are bigger but they tend to be more tart than anything and lack the complexity of flavour I associate with native grown fruit. These sweet peas are the perennial sort, they are rampaging around the garden this year. The annual ones didn’t come to anything I think we sowed them too late. I will try to remember to do some in the autumn this year.

Comments are closed.