Bejewel autumn comfort food with bountiful ruby-red plums

With autumn climes beginning to waft in, it is time to make the most of the last plums of the season and showcase their sweet, juicy goodness in comforting autumnal desserts.

Plums are abundant from November to April and even as the season comes to a close, you will still find these jewel-toned stone fruit on supermarket shelves in a range of colours and flavours from very sweet to appealingly tart.

Plums are a nutritious powerhouse. They are packed with vital nutrients and anti-oxidants, and have a lower GI and less sugar than many other fruits. Always look for firm, brightly coloured fruit but make sure you allow them to ripen to develop their full sweetness before you tuck in.

Plums are delicious to eat on their own and add fabulous autumn colours and flavours to desserts. Give TV Chef Justine Drake’s simple citrus poached plums a try and be sure to serve them with a dollop of something rich and creamy.
Chef Jenny Morris’ yummy plummy bread and butter pudding is a delicious autumn twist to a hearty South African favourite.

If you are looking for an indulgent gluten free, plant based alternative try the vegan plum sponge by Charlotte Roberts from Charley’s Health blog. This cake is sweet, fluffy and studded with vibrant plums.

Plums also make the best braai marinade for sticky ribs. Food writer Karen Hart’s spicy Chinese plum sauce will add extra zing to your braai ribs, or use it to baste a pork joint or chops for extra flavour.

Feel inspired by following @juicydelicioussa on Instagram or visit http://www.juicydelicious.co.za for more tempting stone fruit recipes.


Simple Citrus Poached Plums

By Justine Drake

Ingredients:
2 cups (500ml) water
1 cup (250ml) fresh orange juice
½ cup (125ml) sugar
Peel of 1 lemon
Peel 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole plums, halved and stoned

Method:

  1. Combine water, juice, sugar, citrus peel and cinnamon stick in a saucepan.
  2. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Poach plums in the syrup for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove plums from the syrup and slip off their skins.
  5. Boil syrup to reduce by half.
  6. Serve plums with vanilla ice cream, yoghurt or thick cream and a scattering of toasted flaked almonds

Yummy Plummy Bread and Butter Pudding

By Jenny Morris
Serves 4

Ingredients:
10 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed and buttered on both sides
2 heaped Tbsp of strawberry jam
Zest and juice of one lemon
6 large plums stoned and chopped into small pieces
350ml milk
125ml cream
2 large eggs
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp caster sugar
Extra caster sugar for sprinkling
Flaked almonds (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut the buttered bread into triangles.
  3. Place the jam, lemon zest and juice along with the plums into a saucepan, bring to the boil and remove from the heat.
  4. Arrange half the bread in a baking dish, spoon over the plum mixture and cover with the remaining bread.
  5. Whisk together the milk, cream, eggs cinnamon and caster sugar. Pour it over the bread and let the pudding stand for 30 minutes before baking.
  6. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and almonds if you are using them.
  7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the custard has just set and the top is golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar. Serve warm with whipped cream or great blobs of vanilla ice cream.

Vegan Plum Sponge Cake

By Charlotte Roberts, Charley’s Health blog

Ingredients:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp caster sugar or coconut palm sugar
¾ cup vegan butter
1 cup oat milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 ¾ cups gluten free self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 plums chopped into small chunks

Frosting:
3 Tbsp vegan stick butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
5 plums for topping

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C and lightly grease a loose bottom cake tin with vegan butter.
  2. Combine the milk and cider vinegar together and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Whisk in the milk mixture then stir in the dry ingredients until smooth.
  4. Fold through your diced plums and transfer your cake batter into the cake tin.
  5. Pop this into the oven for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer can be removed clean from the cake.
  6. Allow to cool a little, then remove the cake tin and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack.
  7. For the frosting, beat the butter to a pale and fluffy consistency, then gradually add in the sugar and cocoa.
  8. Once smooth, spread over the cake and layer on your sliced plums

Spicy Chinese Plum Sauce

By Karen Hart
Makes 1 litre

Ingredients:
2kg ripe plums5-6 medium sized onions, choppedCloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped20cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped1 cup soy sauce4 cups apple cider vinegar4 red chillies, deseeded and chopped 5 cups brown sugar6 star anise, ground

Method:

  1. Cut the plums in half and remove the stones.
  2. Put all the ingredients, except the sugar and star anise in a large saucepan or preserving pan.
  3. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until or the ingredients are very soft. Pass the ingredients through a mouli or course sieve and return to the cleaned saucepan or preserving pan.
  4. Add the sugar and star anise and bring back to the boil, stirring frequently to ensure that the sugar dissolves.
  5. Simmer for an hour until the mixture is thick and creamy.
  6. Pour the sauce into sterilised bottles and seal with vinegar-proof lids.

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