Tuesday, September 29

plum gums

{sugar plums ~italian prune plums}

I'm a big fan of these sugarplum candies, distributed seasonally by the goelitz candy co. (of jelly belly fame) and being a cheap-o/hoarder by nature, I buy a pound or more when they are marked down after christmas, and rediscover them periodically throughout the year, tucked among fruit rollups and southwest airlines peanuts in the pantry. this summer, as the cache slowly depleted, it occurred to me their flavor is similar to pâtes de fruits, in the french tradition...just in gummi form. then, serendipitously, I discovered a promising lead in a cookbook featuring san francisco ferry building (farmers' market) recipes.


{sugarplums}


so here's an attempt at the more traditional plum pâtes de fruits. you know, to help a junkie out through the season between fresh plums and holiday candies. don't judge.



lavender plum candy
adapted from the san francisco ferry plaza farmers' market cookbook

4 pounds damson or italian plums, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp culinary quality (organic, untreated) dried lavender blossoms
4 c. (approx) sugar, plus
1 c. (approx) large grain sugar, for dusting

in large, heavy enameled cast iron or other non-reactive pot, combine plums, water, lemon juice and lavender blossoms. place over low heat and cook until fruit is very soft, about 20 minutes.


{straining}


remove from heat. puree plum mixture through a fine-mesh food mill screen, or process in blender, then force it through a fine sieve held over a bowl (a food mill would have been quite handy, but I tend toward generalist tools and a little more elbow grease...not claiming as a virtue. it was a total pain. use the food mill if you have one). measure puree and return to pan, adding equal amount sugar. cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until fruit reduces, thickens and begins to hold together as a mass, (hard to judge exactly what is meant by this — I just stirred until it was pretty thick and bubbles became very large) 20-30 minutes.

line a 9x12 rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment, overlapping edges. pour plum paste onto lined pan and spread evenly with rubber spatula. cool, cover, and allow to stand at room temperature for 48 hours. the paste will firm on standing.

invert pan onto cutting board, peel off plastic wrap, and cut paste into about 36 squares. roll in sugar, for sparkly finished look. arrange in layers on waxed paper and store in airtight plastic container at room temp.

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