Tag Archives: plum jam

Plum deliciousness

You know I have a long-standing passion for yellow plum jam. Yellow plums are my all time favorite for jamming, and and for eating.

I made 2 batches (20 half pint jars) of ginger/plum/bourbon jam, from just two bowls of plums from my friend Linda. I thought I was done for the year.

Darn kids, I thought. Who’s dropping lunch reject plums on my dried up front lawn? Then I looked up, and realized the truth. The plum trees that I planted 10 years ago, that never produced fruit (well, one tree made two plums about 5 years ago), have decided that this is the year. Maybe they like being heat stressed, or they think they need to reproduce because the heat is going to kill them. Whatever.

I got on a ladder, and picked 19 plums. That’s the harvest, between the two trees. They’re oddly large, and the fruit is firm, like an Italian prune. I think they’re a Japanese plum, but I’m not sure; 2011 was a long time ago. The plums aren’t especially juicy, and they’re fairly tart. I don’t want to make more jam; purple plum jam isn’t as delicious as yellow plum jam, at least to me. What to do?

I put out the question on FB, and the answer was: Plum Torte. The famous NYTimes recipe from Marian Burros, to be precise. I remembered that Smitten Kitchen also had a take on it, and another friend referred to the Food52 version. Excellent references, all. I did a mashup of the three using:

3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1/4 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
3/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
5 plums quartered and pitted (because mine are so big)
omitted the fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chunky sugar and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for garnish

Cream sugar and butter, beat in eggs, beat in dry ingredients. I put mine in an 8” springform pan, because that’s the one I have. Top with plums, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or til done. Cool, remove from pan, celebrate!

I told you the plums are oddly large. The recipes call for 12 small Italian plums, halved, and a 9” pan. If I had halved the plums, I could probably only fit 4 in the pan, so I cut them lengthwise, twice, and made a flower/sunburst with them. They sink into the cake,, so you’d never know, and I forgot to take a picture before baking. I’m not a real food blogger!

We loved this so much, I had to make it a second time, because we still have a few plums left. Also, I wanted to tweak it a bit; I used more corn meal the first time, and it was crunchier than I like. I have medium grind cornmeal, because I use it under pizza on the pizza stone. A finer grind would be ideal, but I don’t use corn meal often enough to have more in the pantry.

This cake is actually for dessert tonight, but I wanted to take a picture for you. And now I have to taste it. Such a sacrifice. Delicious!

Book getting closer to real

I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!

My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.

I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.

More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!

I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.

You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.

Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!

Swatching and blocking, yarn and ice cream

Do you always swatch? Do you always wash and block your swatches? True confessions time here: I don’t always swatch, and when I do, I don’t always wash and block it. This has come back to bite me several times. Lesson learned! I’ve modified my approach: If the yarn is familiar to me, I might dive right in. A new yarn? It’s best to do my homework.

knitpicks galileo

This is Knit Picks Galileo in a deliciously plummy color called Urchin. It reminds me of these shield urchins I saw last December.

shingle urchins hawaii

But I digress.

This ia a new to me yarn. It’s sport weight, a 50/50 blend of Merino and Bamboo viscose. Two ply. It’s deliciously bouncy and round to knit with. Occasionally I’ll split the yarn with the Hiya Hiya Sharps that I’m knitting with, but I want that pointy tip for the lace stitches I’m working. It’s a reasonable trade-off.

The ballband recommends a size US 3-5 needle. I started with a 7, just for grins, because it’s going to be lace. Definitely too floppy. I swatched with a 6, and it felt pretty good, but I thought I’d push the envelope and swatch with a 5, too. It felt a little full on the needle, but surprise! It was my favorite of the three blocked swatches. It relaxed a lot from the bouncy knitted piece, but it also had more of the structure it needed to make this lace behave. So glad I swatched AND blocked in this instance. I’ve been knitting like crazy, and I’m halfway done with the project. No pictures; it’s a secret for now.

Speaking of plummy, my friends offered me plums from their super-productive tree again this year. I picked two colanders full, which was enough for two batches of jam.

yellow plums

I thought I’d come up with my perfect plum jam last summer. That was before I had some plum bourbon jam on a mini-doughnut at Pip’s Original Doughnuts. And over the year I’d also decided that I like a more traditional pectin set for plum jam. (Pomona’s is still my go-to for strawberry, and no pectin at all for raspberry.)

pdxknitterati bourbon plum jam

After the first batch, I went for the trifecta of favorite things: Plum, bourbon, crystallized ginger. Heaven. Not particularly boozy, but a extra depth of flavor that plain plum jam doesn’t have.

Notes for myself:

6 cups chopped plums
1/4 c water
Bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 box Sure-Jell pectin for less sugar (pink box) mixed with 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to boil.

Add
4.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Boil 1 minute per pectin package drections, water bath process for 10 minutes (sea level).

Yum.

I must be an extravagant measurer, or maybe I should re-measure my plums after the first simmer, which I don’t, but I always end up with a bit more jam than I’m expecting. I can only process 8 jars with my stockpot/orange silicone trivet setup, and that’s my expected yield. Maybe it’s the added bourbon, ginger, water? Anyway, the extra jam goes into a jar and into the fridge. I had extras from 2 batches in the fridge, so I did this.

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Plum bourbon jam ice cream. It was a good reason to use the ice cream maker the kids gave to me a couple years ago. And they were coming for dinner!

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Tastes as good as it looks!

Inspired by Erica’s recipe, but I doubled it and adjusted it for sweetness:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup plum bourbon jam
up to 1/4 cup sugar, to taste

Mix milk, cream, jam. Taste! Adjust sweetness as desired. Process in ice cream maker 25-30 minutes. This is a soft set; I put the ice cream in a storage container in the freezer for a couple hours before serving for a firmer set. Delicious. In a perfect world I might make a custard base for a smoother texture, but that would mean more work. I wonder if I’d like it with half and half instead of cream? This is like swatching, with food! But I’m guessing that laziness will win out, and this simple version is probably how it will always happen at my house.

I think this would be spectacular with strawberry balsamic jam, with some additional sugared strawberries thrown in. Just sayin’.

So, extravagant swatching, blocking, measuring, eating! What is your extravagance this summer?

plum busy

September brings plums, and plums mean jam; at least for me. Last year I made 20 jars of jam with the bounty from Vickie’s tree. But I gave away too much at Christmas, and by March I was out of jam. I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for this year’s harvest. Unfortunately, Vickie’s tree didn’t cooperate! I think our strangely rainy and cool extended spring and very short summer have wreaked havoc with the crop. I was reduced to actually buying plums from the supermarket.

purpleplums

These are the biggest Italian prune plums (Damsons) that I’ve ever seen. But they’re the same variety I always use. The inside is greenish yellow, as usual.

insideplum

And the jam is reddish purple, as usual!

colours2

Since I had the water bath canner out, I made another batch of blueberry lime jam, too, using our blueberries from the freezer. This time it set up a lot better than my previous batch.

In other news, my rose is blooming.

survivor

And I’m teaching at Twisted this Wednesday evening and next, intro to circular knitting/basic hats. If you’re ready to break out of your straight needle beginnings and move to the next step, contact Twisted to register!

Knitting continues. I’m flying along on the BSJ. I love knitting garter stitch because it’s so good for multi-tasking; I usually watch a movie or read. It’s hard to get the book to stay open to the right page without using my hands, though. Luckily for me, DH gave me a Kindle for my birthday. (In addition to the rose planting!)

kindle

Do you multi-task while knitting, too?