Sugar Plum Jellies

This year we have more plums than ever before. Given that we only have one, small tree, the sheer amount of fruit decorating its branches is staggering! Several branches have broken under the weight of its own produce. And so, we’re having to be especially inventive with plum-related recipes (especially as we’re still oven-less!).

Whilst looking through a number of cookbooks, old magazines and recipes cards, I stumbled across a recipe for vegetarian plum jelly sweets in the Waitrose Harvest magazine from Autumn 2013, and had to give them a go! I fiddled with it slightly, because I can never just leave a recipe alone, but for the most part it’s the same as the original.

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Ingredients: (makes approx. 40 sweets)
– 750g plums (I used Victoria, but I don’t think it matters), stoned and halved
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 500g caster or granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting
– 150ml Certo liquid pectin
– juice of 2 lemons

1. Put the plums in the biggest, heavy-based saucepan you have, along with 5tbsp water and the cinnamon stick. Cover and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until the plums have softened, stirring frequently.

2. Put the cinnamon stick to one side before transferring the plums to a food processor (or similar implement), and blitz until you have a smooth purée. Return to the pan and add the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon stick, then heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring lots, for 15-20 minutes – until thickened but not caramelised.

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3. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the liquid pectin and boil for 10 more minutes, still stirring constantly,

4. Line an 18cm (or thereabouts) square cake tin with cling film and carefully pour in the mixture, spreading it into the corners. Leave to cool for about 5 hours or overnight, transferring it to the fridge when it’s cool enough, until the jelly is firmly set.

5. Sprinkle plenty of sugar onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, and remove the set jelly from the tin. Using a sharp knife, slice into 2cm strips, and then cut the strips into rectangular cubes. Roll these in the extra sugar, and serve.

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Once the sugar coating’s been added it will start to sink into the jellies, so unless you’re ready to serve the jellies straight away I’d recommend keeping them in the fridge without it. And please do let me know if you have any good plum recipes – we still have far too many!

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