Spicy Plum Preserves

I wanted to add to my small stash of jam/preserves that I have set aside for the winter and saw some beautiful purple plums at the farmer’s market that I thought would do the trick.

SPICY PLUM PRESERVES

  • Servings: 4 half-pint jars
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  • 4 cups unpeeled, diced purple plums (6 to 8 medium plums)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 box powdered Sure Jell pectin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a large, heavy kettle, combine the prepared plums and water.  Cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While plums are simmering, measure out the sugar into a container (a 4-cup measure is handy because the sugar can be easily poured) and have the pectin ready to use.

After plums have simmered for 5 minutes, stir the pectin into the fruit mixture.  Continue to cook over medium heat for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the sugar all at once, raise heat to high and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down).  Boil for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and let rest for 2 minutes, then skim off any foam that remains.  Stir in the cinnamon and immediately ladle into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  For small batches, I like to use an asparagus steamer.

Remove jars to a rack to cool.  A jar-lifter is essential for this.

From this batch, I got four half-pint jars and one small sample jar of preserves that I won’t process and will have on tomorrow’s breakfast toast.

Let cool completely and label.

Here’s a good website with information on canning and preserving.

Really Good Buttermilk Bread/Rolls

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The Sunday dinner I made for my two daughters and two grandchildren seemed like a Thanksgiving preview – in miniature.  We had a small roasted chicken, a small amount of stuffing that would fit in its cavity, mashed potatoes, corn and something that was full sized and then some – buttermilk rolls.  This recipe made a medium loaf and 15 large soft, delicious rolls.

REALLY GOOD BUTTERMILK BREAD/ROLLS

  • Servings: One 9-1/2-inch loaf or one 7-1/2-inch loaf plus 15 rolls
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  • 2 Tblsp. dry fast-acting yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 7-8 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups buttermilk, heated to 130 degrees F
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, room temperature

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place the yeast, salt, soda, sugar and 2 cups of flour.  Add the heated buttermilk and melted butter.  Beat with the paddle beater at medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat for another 30 seconds.

Remove paddle beater and insert bread hook.  Add 2 cups of flour and beat at medium speed for another 6:30 minutes, gradually adding more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic.  You may need a little more or a little less flour.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

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Oil bread pans or baking sheets.  Punch down dough and form into loaves and/or rolls.   This time I chose to use 1/3 of the dough to make a loaf to fit a 7-1/2″x3-1/2″ pan (inside measurement) and pinched off dough about 2″ diameter to make 15 rolls.

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Cover the bread and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

When bread has risen, place in oven on middle rack and bake approximately 12 minutes for rolls and 25-45 minutes for loaves, depending on size.

I have a note in my recipe binder:  “Excellent – first made in March, 1988.   From a library book, Miss Mary’s.”

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I like to keep at least 3 thick slices of homemade bread in my freezer for the times when my oldest son stops by for breakfast.  He loves toasted homemade bread with his bacon and eggs.

sliced

For dessert we had an old favorite which I posted in October of 2007, Old Fashioned Plum Streusel Pie.  It was delicious – the purple plums seemed especially flavorful.

Old Fashioned Plum Streusel Pie

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Purple plums are readily available and make a delicious pie.  Since the plums only need to have the pits removed and don’t have to be peeled, they are an easy fruit to work with and produce outstanding results.  This was our dessert today for Sunday dinner.

PLUM STREUSEL PIE

  • 4 cups sliced, unpeeled purple plums
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • One 9 inch unbaked pie shell

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 Tblsp. cold butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

In a large bowl combine the plums, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, lemon juice and lemon peel.  Toss to mix and let stand for a few minutes to blend.

Place the fruit in an unbaked 9″ pie shell.  Mix the topping ingredients together, cutting in the butter/margarine, and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the fruit.

Place the pie on a large flat pan or cookie sheet to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

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Fresh Fruit Kuchen

Before retiring, I worked for 30 years for a manufacturer’s rep and in the 1980s and 90s he started doing business with Germany.  I took German lessons so I could help with translating the letters we received and to send presentable letters back to Germany.  I also used my limited skills to translate many recipes for the boss’s wife.  One of them was for a fruit kuchen which I adapted to my own taste and what was available in the U.S.  The recipe was a good one and a plum version won a Blue Ribbon at our county fair plus a low-fat recipe contest at a Cincinnati paper.  It makes a very tasty morning coffee cake, especially with fresh peaches.  The results aren’t as good with canned fruit.

FRESH FRUIT KUCHEN


3 Tblsp. sour cream

3 Tblsp. milk

3 Tblps. vegetable oil

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp lemon peel

¼ tsp salt

1 cup + 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 lb. fresh fruit, peeled and cored, in thin slices

Cinnamon topping:  2 Tblsp. granulated sugar

and 1 tsp. cinnamon, mixed together

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, oil, sugar and lemon peel.  Mix together the salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda, and gradually stir into sour cream mixture.  Place batter in greased 8″ or 9″ pan.  The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky.  Dampen your hands with water and then press the dough into the pan.

Arrange the peach slices over the top of the cake.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle cinnamon topping over top of cake and continue baking for 5 more minutes.

Place on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Best when eaten warm from the oven.Yield: One 8″ or 9″ kuchen