Recipes for plum desserts

Table of Contents

8 Ways to Use Plums

Plums are just coming into season and will stick around through early fall. When ripe, they’re juicy and sweet, usually with dark skin and pinkish flesh that makes them especially sexy in desserts. Underripe, they’re crisp and a bit puckery, making them delicious in certain savory dishes, from a sauce for meat to a tangy slaw. Here are eight ideas to try with plums.

1. Pickled. Pack plums in jars with a spiced vinegar brine to make pickles that are stellar in cocktails or with roasted pork.

2. Caramelized. Brown plum wedges in a skillet with honey, then add them to a salad or serve over ice cream.

3. Poached. Cook plums in a sweetened wine (rosé is especially lovely), then serve chilled with ice cream or plain cake.

4. Grilled. Brush plums with a little olive oil and grill until charred. Add them to salads, serve them alongside grilled lamb chops or save them for dessert.

5. Sauce. Use underripe plums to make a tangy Georgian (yep, the country) sauce for grilled kebabs or puree them with a red pepper jelly to make a glaze for chicken legs.

6. Dumplings. Fold squares of store-bought puff pastry up and over plums to make a super-simple riff on a Danish.

7. Cake. Cut plums into bite-size pieces and fold into simple cakes, like this one, baked in a cast-iron skillet.

8. Salad. Add sliced plums to a light spinach salad or something more hearty, like couscous with smoked duck. Or thinly slice underripe plums for slaw.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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What to do with a glut of homegrown plums

So, after picking and sampling my delicious ‘Merryweather’ damsons, marvelling at the gorgeous colours of foraged fruits and swiftly assessing the freshness of a basket of cherry plums, what did Thane suggest I should do with my surfeit? Apart from freezing – plums freeze well in pudding-sized portions for winter crumbles, tarts and pies – they make an excellent red jam (far more popular than yellow jam apparently, and hard to imagine anything else in a Victoria sponge or jam roly-poly).

We settled on her recipe for spiced roasted plums, adapted here from her book, using a firm red variety ‘Opals’ rather than her favourite Victorias, as they are too watery to roast or pickle.

The plum season here in the garden of England runs from ‘Sanctus Hubertus’, a lovely blue-bloomed dessert plum that fruits in late July (available from Walcot Nursery), then dusky red ‘Opals’ at the beginning of August, to purple ‘Marjorie’s Seedling’ in early October (a good variety if you get late frosts).

Commercial grower Henry Bryant, of D H Bryant & Partners, sends plums to markets all over the country. He recommends ‘Top Taste’, a new variety with a greengage flavour. He reminded me that stone fruit trees should never be pruned when dormant.

I asked grower David Simmonds, of Whitehill Farm near Faversham, whose stall is a firm favourite at the market, for his preferred damson. He couldn’t decide between ‘Merryweather’ (shown above left) or hardy ‘Farleigh’ (from Keepers Nursery). His top tip was to always prune damsons on a dry day (to prevent disease) and to prune when in flower for shape and to prevent overcrowding.

Plummed out, Thane and I set off to Wheelers in Whitstable and enjoyed their seafood platter and half a dozen oysters, and without a plum in sight on their pudding menu, we ended the afternoon with tea in my beach hut.

Make plum liquers and sauces with your homegrown fruit Photo: Clara Molden

Top plum recipes from Thane Prince

  • For three medium jars, quarter and stone 750g plums and place on a lined baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with 55g caster sugar and roast at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 30 minutes.
  • Dissolve 245g caster sugar in 400ml red wine vinegar in a stainless-steel saucepan.
  • Add spices. I used 1 tsp crushed coriander and cardamom but allspice is good.
  • Stir to the boil then simmer for five minutes and allow to infuse.
  • Divide the plums in three, pack into jars with a strip of orange zest, ¼ red chilli and an inch of cinnamon stick, and cover with vinegar.
  • Store for a month before using.

Plum liqueurs

Thane suggests using damsons or other small plums, as “their sour flavour and deep colour add complexity to the drink, and are best left for a year to mature – if you can wait!”

  • Freeze 500g fruit overnight to break down the skin.
  • Prick the thawed fruit skin with a silver fork.
  • Place in a glass bowl with 100g caster sugar and 3½ cups of gin.
  • Cover with cling film and leave in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months.
  • Strain through muslin, then pour into bottles and leave to mature.

Plum pickles and sauces

We also discussed home-made sauces: a brown sauce with plums, dates, raisins and onions, flavoured with garlic, ginger, chilli and spices, and a more unusual hoisin sauce, using  1kg plums, 300g onions, 75g garlic, 200g ginger, 2-4 chillies, ½ cup soy sauce, 500ml rice wine vinegar, star anise and 500g caster sugar. Cook all ingredients till plums are soft then blend until smooth.

Best ever plum recipes

Roasted plums with balsamic blueberries

Turn the humble plum into something special in just 20 minutes with this sweet, syrupy sauce.

Plum chutney

A classic spiced chutney to serve with cheese or cold cuts. The flavour gets mellower and deeper the longer it’s left, so give it at least a week before diving in.

Plum cake recipes

Plum and earl grey pound cake

This plum and earl grey pound cake makes for the perfect afternoon treat with a cup of tea (earl grey, naturally). It’s an easy recipe to make but it looks really good and tastes even better.

Sloe gin layer cake with plum filling

The best use of sloe gin. Team with plums and make a layer cake with wow factor. It’s sure to impress your friends, and best of all it’s an easy recipe too.

Plum crumble recipes

Sloe gin and plum crumble

Our sloe gin and plum crumble is a twist on a classic and much-loved British dessert. Pair with a scoop of good-quality vanilla ice cream to really take advantage of the cinnamon and mixed spice notes.

Quince and plum crumble

Serve six with this unbeatable homemade crumble featuring plums and quince. These mouth-watering crumbles are cooked slowly for nearly 4 hours. Serve it with lashings of good, vanilla-y custard.

Plum and almond crumbles

You’ll need really ripe plums for this so they give up their juices – woolly ones just won’t work, which is why it’s best to wait until they are in season.

Plum pudding recipes

Marsala-baked plums with chantilly cream

Check out our simple recipe for juicy plums with sweet marsala wine and star anise. Topped with velvety Chantilly cream, make this easy recipe for a midweek sweet treat.

Dutch baby with spiced plums

Ice cream for breakfast? Yes please! A Dutch baby is like a giant, sweet Yorkshire pudding and we’ve served this one with spiced plums.

Queen of plums

This classic British dessert uses homemade plum compote and is topped with golden meringue – the perfect family pudding to follow a Sunday roast.

Plum tart

This tart is an easy treat for teatime and even pudding if there’s any left. Plums stay naturally juicy and sweet when cooked, and give a lovely tang against the almonds.

Overnight plum and almond oats

Prep your oats the night before to make this quick and easy vegan breakfast for two. It may be low calorie but it’ll leave you feeling satisfied and full until lunchtime.

Savoury plum recipes

Roast duck with plums and star anise

With crispy skin and melt-in-the-mouth duck served with rich plums, this recipe with star anise makes for a perfect Sunday roast.

Pulled lamb with plum sriracha

Check out our pulled lamb recipe with a sweet plum-sriracha marinade. This lamb is slow cooked for six hours for the ultimate melt in the mouth meat, serve in the middle of the table for perfect sharing food.

Plum and sesame lamb cutlets

Rosie Birkett’s plum and sesame lamb cutlets are so good we put them on our cover. The delicious, sweet, sticky glaze with a kick of spicy sriracha works so well with lamb and the spring onions add a crunch of freshness. They look fantastic, and are sure to be a hit at your next barbecue.

Seared sriracha chicken with pickled plum slaw

BBQ season might be over but that doesn’t stop you recreating the chargrilled taste of the charcoals in your kitchen with this seared sriracha chicken.

Roast pork belly with star anise plum sauce

Pork belly is a brilliant budget cut for feeding the family. Try it roasted with Asian spices like star anise, coriander seed and ginger and served up with a sticky sauce made from fresh sweet plums, cinnamon and brown sugar.


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Easy Plum Cobbler – sliced fresh plums topped with a sweet crumbled dough, cobbled together for a quick and easy dessert featuring these delicious, juicy fruits.

Cobbler is a bit of a catch-all word that has many meanings. It may refer to a person that mends shoes (if you can find one anymore), or a tall, iced drink which normally includes wine, sugar, whiskey and rum. Or Cobbler can also refer to a mountain in Scotland near the head of Loch Long. But today we’re talking about the deep-dish fruit cobbler with the thick top crust. However, cobblers can also be of the savory variety like our favorite Winter Vegetable Cobbler, or this incredible Tomato Cobbler, which is one of the best skillet meals I’ve ever made or eaten!

Mom often covered her cobblers with a layer of pie crust that ‘floated’ in the bubbling fruit juices.

This method is similar to the Pandowdy, which is made small pieces of dough pressed down into the juices of the fruit. I’ve also made many cobblers with a ‘drop-biscuit’ topping like this luscious Black Raspberry Cobbler. So as you can see, there may not be a wrong way to make a cobbler. As long as you have a floating crust over a sweet or savory filling, I think you’ve got it made!

Plum Cobbler is incredibly delicious served warm from the oven.

No waiting on the pie to set up and cool. Scoop out a nice big serving of plum cobbler and top it with a scoop of ice cream. If you’re not married, and want to be, this may be the ticket to get you down the aisle. Just saying, it may not hurt to try 🙂

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to talk about the amazing plum!

European plums are used to make prunes, but in the US, you may notice they are often referred to as dried plums. Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, plums can also help with iron absorption into the body. Prunes have been known to help normalize blood sugar levels and are loaded with soluble fiber. Enjoy plums like you would an apple, peach or pear. They are juicy, sweet and have a lovely deep flavor, and make a pretty great plum cobbler too!

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5 from 3 votesPrint Easy Plum Cobbler Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 45 mins Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Sliced fresh plums topped with a sweet crumbled dough, cobbled together for a quick and easy dessert featuring these delicious, juicy fruits.

Course: Dessert Servings: 8 Author: Tricia Ingredients For the filling:

  • 8 cups fresh plums, pitted and sliced (about 8-10 large plums)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on a large box grater
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar for topping
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the plums, brown sugar, brandy, grated apple, cornstarch and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into a 9″ or 10″ cast iron skillet.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar. Add the butter and using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the cream and stir with a fork just until moistened. Gently press the mixture together using a spatula, forming a loose dough. Crumble the dough on top of the plum mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of coarse sugar.

  4. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Serve warm topped with ice cream if desired.

Recipe Notes

We used Calvados Apple Brandy for this recipe.

Here are a few of the tools used when making this plum cobbler (each photo is clickable):

The small print: If you decide to purchase something at Amazon after following my affiliate link, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use to pay for web hosting and services for this blog.

Looking for a few more delicious recipes featuring plums? Try this super simple Plum Crisp from The View from Great Island. Don’t forget about using plums in a savory dish like this 15-Minute Tangy-Sweet Plum Spiced Chicken from Noble Pig. I’m also loving this Plum Skillet Cake Recipe from She Wears Many Hats. And finally, how about making some homemade Plum Jam from Serious Eats?

Plums seem to be a forgotten fruit, bringing up the end of the line after the peaches, nectarines and apricots. Let’s help the plum rank higher on the list – eat more plums!

Thanks so much for stopping by!




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1. Broiled Plums with Orange Vanilla Sugar

Photography by Christopher Testani

This recipe is basically the only good reason to turn your oven on during the hottest time of summer. Rub plums with a delish mixture of sugar, vanilla and orange zest and broil ’em for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream!

Recipe: Try our Broiled Plums with Orange Vanilla Sugar

2. Plum & Port Cobbler

Okay, maybe there are a few good reasons to turn on your oven. (Hint: all of the reasons are in this roundup.) This plum & port cobbler is not too sweet and is a sophisticated way to round out any summer meal.

Recipe: Try our Plum & Port Cobbler

3. Spiced Plum Crumble

The secret ingredient? Chinese 5-Spice Powder!

Recipe: Try our Spiced Plum Crumble

4. Ginger-Plum Quick Jam

Photography by Sarah Anne Ward

This jam recipe would be delicious swirled into vanilla ice cream. Serve it on ricotta toast the next morning (pictured above)!

Recipe: Try our Ginger-Plum Quick Jam

5. Plum Tiramisu

Give this classic Italian dessert a juicy summer upgrade. Just five simple ingredients and you’re in business!

Recipe: Try our Plum Tiramisu


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I love this easy plum crumble recipe because it’s so delicious and a bit unexpected. You’ll also love how portable it is too! Plums are at their best right now and if you are looking for a dessert to bring to a summer BBQ, this is the ticket! If you can’t find plums you can also try my easy Summer Fruits Crumble recipe instead!

How do you make this Easy Plum Crumble Recipe?

You can use regular Black Friar Plums which has the yellow flesh inside or some red plums. I love the deep red Santa Rosa Plums we get out here in California this time of year they are just spectacular. But often I’ll just do a mix of both, that way you get tw different flavors tart and mild and the bright red color the Santa Rosas bring to the crumble are just fantastic!

In fact, if the plums aren’t labeled properly at the market it can be hard to know what you are buying until you cut into them. So if you really want the red ones, ask the produce department to verify they are in fact the variety you think they are, typically they’ll even slice one open and allow you to taste it.


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Can you make this Easy Plum Crumble Recipe ahead of time?

Yes! The best part about a crumble is the fact that you can assemble the whole thing ahead of time and just pop in your fridge. Then when you sit down to dinner, pop it in the oven and bake. That way once dinner is over you’ll have a hot bubbling crumble ready to serve to your guests. This pairs really well with some high-quality vanilla ice cream and yes, this would be the time to spring for the Haagen-Dazs

Here are some more delicious summer dessert recipes: Triple Berry Campfire Cake Recipe, S’more Pudding Pot Recipe, Apricot Galette

Triple Berry Campfire Cake Recipe S’more Pudding Pots Apricot Galette Recipe

Please let me know if you make this easy plum crumble recipe by leaving a rating and review below

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  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
  2. Toss plums with sugar and flour and set aside.
  3. For crumble, mix all ingredients together with a fork until a wet crumble forms.
  4. Pour plum mixture into a 14 x 9 greased oven safe casserole dish. Sprinkle the crumble evenly on top.
  5. NOTE: At this point you could cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. This is a great dessert to make the day before and just bake while you are having dinner, and present to the table right out of the oven.
  6. Bake for 25-30 mins until top is golden brown and juices begin to bubble.
  7. Serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Happy Summer! Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 211 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 10mg Sodium: 153mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 7g Protein: 3g 112shares

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Duck breast with plum sauce

An enduring combo, and for good reason – duck and plum were made to go together. Five-spice powder – a mix of star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, and clove – is one of the essential bases to Chinese cooking. For a good DIY recipe, go to
Bill’s Everyday Asian, by Bill Granger (Quadrille)

Serves 4
4 duck breasts (about 175g each) with skin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp julienned ginger
8 plums, halved and stoned
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tbsp lime juice

1 Score the skin of the duck breasts and season with the salt, pepper and five-spice powder. Fry the duck in a large frying pan, skin-side down on high for 1 minute, then cook on low for 8 minutes to render the fat. Flip and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from the pan, transfer to a warm plate, cover with foil and set aside to rest.

2 Pour off the excess duck fat and fry the ginger for 2 minutes. Add the plums to the pan, then add the honey, soy sauce, cinnamon stick, star anise and lime juice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until juicy and softened.

3 Slice the duck breasts and serve with the sauce, steamed rice and greens or a simple cucumber salad.

English plum salad

A salad as floral as an English country lane. Serve with good crusty bread.
Recipe by Rosie Reynolds,

Serves 4
6 English plums, halved and stoned
140g watercress, rocket and spinach leaves
200g Lancashire cheese, crumbled
100g flaked almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

For the dressing
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp English mustard
1 tbsp honey

1 Put the onion in a small bowl with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Combine with the other dressing ingredients in a serving dish. Set aside.

2 Slice the plums and add to the dish with the onions and salad leaves. Pour over half of the dressing and toss to combine. Scatter over the crumbled cheese and chopped nuts, pour over the remaining dressing and serve.

Plum souffle

This is not a classic egg-based or white sauce-enriched souffle. It depends on a stabilised thickened fruit puree, which can be prepared in advance. Just whisk the egg whites immediately before you are ready to bake.
National Trust Simply Baking, by Sybil Kapoor (National Trust Books)

Serves 6
400g plums, halved and stoned
145g caster sugar
3 tbsp Mirabelle eau-de-vie or kirsch
2 tbsp arrowroot, cornstarch or potato starch
Butter, softened, for greasing
6 medium egg whites
Icing sugar, for dusting

1 Put the fruit in a saucepan with 115g of the caster sugar and 2 tbsp of the Mirabelle or kirsch. Cover and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until soft. Puree the cooked fruit and return to the pan.

2 In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot and remaining Mirabelle or kirsch. Mix in a spoonful or two of the hot fruit puree, then return it to the pan of pureed fruit. Set over a medium heat and stir regularly for about a minute, or until it comes to the boil and thickens. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool completely.

3 Remove the top rack from the oven. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Butter a 1.5 litre souffle dish (or several smaller dishes) and place in a small, deep roasting pan.

4 Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, add the remaining caster sugar and continue to whisk until stiff. Stir two large spoonfuls of whisked egg white into the fruit puree to loosen the mixture, then fold in the remainder with a metal spoon, gently scooping the heavier puree from the bottom of the bowl up over the egg whites until they’re lightly integrated.

5 Spoon into the souffle dish or dishes, smooth the top and place in the roasting pan. Pour in enough boiling water to come one-quarter of the way up the side of the dish. Bake for 20–25 minutes (10-15 minutes if using smaller dishes) or until a skewer comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Pan-fried plums and parsnips

A flavoursome and herbaceous side to accompany a roast, especially poultry.
Kitchen Garden Cookbook, by Carina Contini (Frances Lincoln)

Pan-fried plums and parsnips: perfect with poultry. Photograph: Helen Cathcart/Guardian

Serves 4
3 firm parsnips
Salt, to taste
25g unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 firm plums, halved and stoned
2 sprigs of lemon thyme
A large handful of watercress leaves

1 Peel, trim and cut the parsnips into cubes the same size as the plum halves. Blanch the parsnips by plunging them in boiling salted water for a few minutes until tender but not overcooked. Drain well and set aside.

2 Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan. When they start to bubble, add the plums. Cook for about 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add the blanched parsnips and the lemon thyme. Just before serving, add the watercress and heat through.

Brioche plum ginger bake

Choose fruit that is firm, only just ripe, and still very slightly sour. The crumble and the dough should be made a day in advance – but the wait is well worth it.
Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook, by Roy Levy and Gail Mejia (Ebury)

Serves 6-8
For the pudding
50g butter, at room temperature
10 fresh, just-ripe plums
50g demerara sugar
25g dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp water
Juice of ½ lemon
Egg wash (2 egg yolks + pinch of salt, beaten til smooth and blended)

For the brioche dough
10g fresh yeast
1 tbsp milk, at room temperature
250g strong white flour
2½ eggs, beaten, at room temperature (use the remaining half for something else)
25g sugar
125g salted butter, at room temperature (plus an extra 25g to grease baking tin)
1 tsp fine salt
To soak the pudding
50ml milk
50g butter
1 heaped tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground ginger

For the crumble topping
150g plain flour
100g salted butter, chilled and diced
50g caster sugar

1 To make the crumble, rub the flour and butter together in a bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and continue until you’re left with large crumbs. Spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and chill overnight. Don’t cover – the cold air in the fridge will help to dry it out and make it even crumblier.

2 To make the dough: with a fork, whisk together the yeast and milk in a mixing bowl and leave to sit for a few minutes. Mix in the flour, eggs, sugar and half the butter, and knead to a soft dough for 3-4 minutes. If you’re using a stand mixer, with the machine running, start to add the rest of the butter, one lump at a time. When it has all been incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to knead for another 6-8 minutes. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, add the salt and increase the speed to fast. To do it by hand, tip the dough out on to a clean work surface and crumble the remaining butter over it. With the heel of your hand, energetically work the butter into the dough. It’s very sticky at first, but persevere, pushing the butter and dough together until suddenly a smooth, shiny, elastic dough forms.

3 Put the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave at room temperature to rise for 1 ½-2 hours, until doubled in size. Then, use your fist to knock the air out of the dough. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.

4 To make the pudding, grease a 20cm x 28cm, deep pudding dish with butter. Take the cold brioche dough from the fridge and shape it into 9 equal balls. Put these in the buttered pudding dish, cover with clean, damp tea towel, and leave to rise for 1 ½-2 hours, until doubled in size.

5 Meanwhile, prepare the plums: stone them and cut them into quarters. Mix with the sugars, the ginger, the water and the lemon juice, and set aside to sit for an hour at room temperature.

6 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Decant the plums and their juice into a roasting tin, and bake for 10-15 minutes, then leave to cool in the tin.

7 Meanwhile, make the soaking mixture. Heat the milk, butter, caster sugar and ginger gently in a small saucepan, stirring until the butter melts. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

8 Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Carefully uncover the risen brioche buns. Gently brush egg wash over the top of the dough balls. Pour the lukewarm milky topping all over too, soaking all the dough with sweet, gingery liquid. Take a sharp pair of scissors and make two snips in each bun to cut a deep cross halfway through each ball.

9 Take the reserved roasted plums and their juices – don’t leave a drop behind, because the stuff is liquid gold – and spoon the plums and juices evenly between the buns. Scatter the chilled crumble over the top, but don’t cover the surface entirely – you want to leave some of the pudding peeking through. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving with dollops of thick yoghurt or mascarpone.

Plum tarts

Plum tarts: an autumnal classic from Michel Roux. Photograph: Helen Cathcart/Guardian

These are elegant and simple: a round of plums atop a bed of buttery pastry, a cushion of of custard and a glaze of sugary syrup.
Michel Roux: The Collection, by Michel Roux (Quadrille)

Serves 6
750g ripe plums, cut in half and stoned
500ml stock syrup (see below)
3 bay leaves
380g puff pastry
200g creme patissiere (see below)
Juice of ½ lemon

For the stock syrup (makes 700ml)
400g caster syrup
50g liquid glucose
350ml water

For the creme patissiere (makes 750g)
6 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
40g plain flour
500ml milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
A little icing sugar or butter

1 To make the syrup: combine the sugar, glucose and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 3 minutes, skimming the surface if necessary. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl and leave to cool. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

2 To make the creme patissiere: whisk the yolks and ⅓ of the sugar in a bowl. Whisk the flour in thoroughly. In a saucepan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla pod. As soon as it comes to the boil, pour it on to the egg yolk mixture, mixing as you go. Return the mixture to the pan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously with the whisk. Allow the mixture to bubble, still stirring, for 2 minutes, then tip it into a bowl. To prevent a skin forming, dust the surface with icing sugar or dot all over with flakes of butter. Once cold, the pastry cream will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove the vanilla pod before using.

3 To make the tarts, put the plums in a dish. Put 500ml of the stock syrup into a pan along with the bay leaves and bring to the boil, then leave to cool slightly for about 5 minutes. While still hot, pour over the plums, then set aside to cool.

4 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 2mm thickness. Using a 12cm cutter, cut out 6 rounds of pastry. Place on a baking sheet brushed with a little cold water and chill for 20 minutes.

5 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Take the pastry rounds from the fridge and prick each one with a fork 5 or 6 times. Divide 200g of the creme patissiere between the rounds, spreading it evenly to within 1cm of the edge. Carefully and thoroughly drain the plums, reserving the syrup. Arrange them on top of the creme patissiere and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, making sure the pastry is properly cooked on the bottom.

6 Transfer the tarts to a wire rack and leave them to cool slightly. Meanwhile, boil the reserved plum syrup to reduce to a semi-syrupy consistency, then add the lemon juice. Brush lightly over the plums. Place one tart on each plate and serve just slightly warm.

Hyderabadi chicken kofta with plums

A heady combination of meat and fruit. Serve with naan bread and cucumber raita and lemon-dressed salad leaves.
Made in India, Cooked in Britain, by Meera Sodha (Fig Tree)

Makes 24-26
5 ripe plums (or 400g)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4cm ginger, peeled
4 green finger chillies
800g chicken or turkey mince
1 tsp ground chilli powder
½ tsp ground fennel seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ ground cardamom
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp salt
1 medium egg, whisked
2 tbsp oil for frying

1 Roughly chop the plums, removing the stones, and pop them into a blender.

2 Pour the blended plums into a saucepan and reduce for around 20 minutes or until very thick and jammy. Take off the heat and leave to one side to cool.

3 Rinse the blender and blend together the garlic, ginger and chillies and transfer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients: mince, chilli powder, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, tamarind, salt and egg.

4 Mix together and add the plum sauce (there should be around 150g of reduced plums) and mix again. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge for around 10 minutes then roll into ping-pong-ball-sized kofta and flatten into discs.

5 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the kofta in batches for around 4 minutes, turning until evenly cooked through.

Roast plum and liquorice chutney

This slow-cooked condiment is perfect with roast meat or creamy goat’s cheese.
Salt Sugar Smoke, by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)

Fills 3 x 225g jars
1.2kg plums
200ml white wine or cider vinegar
200ml red wine
500g granulated or soft light brown sugar, to taste
½ tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
½ tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
3 blades of mace
Seeds from 8 cardamom pods, ground
2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
2.5cm piece of liquorice root, chopped

1 Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Halve and stone the plums and put them in a roasting tin in a single layer (or something similar) with all the other ingredients. Put in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, then taste. You may need to adjust the sugar (depending on how tart your plums are).

2 Return the dish to the oven and cook until the mixture is glossy and chunks of soft plum are surrounded by a rich, thick syrup – this can take anything from 1½–3 hours, depending on how ripe and juicy your plums are. Check now and then to see how your chutney is doing. Remember sweet syrups thicken more as they cool, but if your plums are very dark in colour (getting over-roasted) and you still have too much liquid, drain some off, reduce it by boiling, then return it to the plums.

3 Pot in warm, sterilised jars, cover with waxed paper discs and seal with vinegar-proof lids. Keeps for 6 months. Refrigerate once opened.

Sauteed plums with cardamom

The tart, tannic quality in plum skins is more pronounced when cooked, but served with Greek yoghurt or mascarpone, the flavours balance out beautifully.
Seasonal Fruit Desserts, by Deborah Madison (Broadway)

Serves 4
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4-6 large plums, sliced into wedges
2 tbsp agave nectar or 50g sugar
½ tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp Grand Marnier or 1 tsp orange-flower water

1 Heat the butter in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. When it melts, add the plums, agave, or sugar if using, and cardamom. Raise the heat and cook, jerking the fruit in the pan about every 30 seconds so that the cut surfaces take on some colour, eventually caramelising.

2 After 5 minutes or so, the plums will give up their juices. Continue cooking on high heat until the juice just coats the fruit and the smell of caramel is apparent. Remove from the heat and add the Grand Marnier, or orange-flower water if using. Then remove to a serving bowl, scraping in all the liquid from the pan. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Sticky boozy chocolate plum pudding cakes

Bittersweet chocolate, plums and booze make for a very grown-up sort of treat.
Recipe by Erin Orr,

Makes 12
Butter and rice flour to dust the pans
24 plums, halved
4 tbsp armagnac or cognac
65g icing sugar
60ml buttermilk or yoghurt
60ml sunflower oil (or some other mild oil)
1 large egg
50g light brown sugar
2 tbsp treacle
125g all-purpose flour or 40g each of sorghum flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
140g dark chocolate, chopped

For the syrup
70g icing sugar
2 tbsp armagnac or cognac

1 Preheat the oven to 100C/200F/gas mark ¼. Spread the plums in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with 1 tbsp each of the icing sugar and the armagnac and bake for a few hours, shaking the pan once or twice an hour. When half-dried and much like mi-cuit plums, remove from the oven and set aside. Reserve the juices for the glaze.

2 Increase the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter 12 muffin tins and dust lightly with rice flour.

3 Warm half the plums in a small saucepan with the remaining booze, then set aside. Puree the remaining plums with the buttermilk or yoghurt and the oil until you have a light, shiny paste.

4 In a large bowl, whisk the egg, sugars and treacle into the plum and buttermilk puree. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and cocoa powder.

5 Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet with a spatula. Fold the chopped chocolate into the batter. Pour the batter into the muffin tins so that it is evenly divided. Press a booze-soaked plum into the surface of each cake.

6 Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake them! While the cakes bake, make the syrup by dissolving the sugar in the reserved plum liquid along with the additional 2 tbsp of armagnac.

7 When the cakes are done, allow them to cool a bit. Unmould the cakes and drizzle them with the syrup. Allow the cakes to soak up the syrup before eating.

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