Friday, August 26, 2011


After a chaotic couple of months, we are installed in our new house and settling into our new village. Now that I'm feeling a bit better (thank you for all the good wishes) and have unearthed the kitchen equipment, I'm back to the stove and cooking away.

I was a little sad to leave the fabulous garden at our rental property complete with its many fruit trees. The plums were just ripening as the time came to leave and I hated to leave them on the tree for the next tenants. No need to worry though. As fortune would have it, I share an office with someone currently faced with a serious glut of plums. Last week I came home laden with four bags full of the little beauties and with a head full of ideas for transforming them into delicious treats. Four kilos of plums is quite a few to deal with. Especially considering that I'm not especially fond of stone fruit (odd, I know - it is a textural thing). I do love the flavour of plum though so I was keen to preserve the flavour whilst losing the fleshy texture I'm less fond of.

First up was this superb accompaniment to cheese. Plumbrillo is a fruity take on the superb membrillo which is often served alongside Manchego cheese. It is essentially a fruit 'cheese'. A thick, almost jelly-like confection which slices neatly and goes well with lots of cheeses.

It is easy to make and looks very impressive with its gleaming plum-red colour. The only hard part is pushing the cooked plums through a metal sieve. Next time I think I'll invest in a mouli which would make this job much less time-consuming! Whilst this looks best set into small moulds and turned out onto the cheese board, I actually poured most of mine into sterilised jam jars. This way it will keep for up to 6 months and will make nice presents at Christmas time. If you can find small, ramekin-shaped jars, these would be perfect.

I found the recipe on the BBC Good Food website, a great favourite recipe source.

Enough to fill approx. 7 small jam jars


2kg ripe black or red plums
1kg jam/preserving sugar

1. Wash the plums. Quarter and stone all fruit and place in a large preserving pan along with 500ml water.

2. Bring to boil and simmer for around 45 mins until the plums have completely cooked down and are pulpy and dark.

3. Now for the hard bit! Pour the plums into a large bowl. Rinse out the preserving pan and then push the plum mixture through a nylon sieve (or use a mouli) into the cleaned pan. Try to extract as much of the pulpy flesh as you possibly can.

4. Stir in the sugar and heat, stirring all the time until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Bubble for approx 25 minutes until you have a thick puree. The mixture is ready when a wooden spoon leaves a trail along the bottom of the pan for a second before the puree floods the gap.

5. Pot into sterilised pots or jars and seal. Leave to set and cool before labelling. Keep in a cool dark place for up to 6 months.