Our house smells like a pickle factory! Pinny is on, cauldrons are steaming late into the night and the perrenial search for jars is on.
This one is in response to a request - thought I'd publish it as plums are ready to go right now!
Someone has already sneaked a slice off the bottom one, when my back was turned. . .
SWEET/SOUR PLUM PASTE
Be warned; this paste takes hold of taste buds and won’t let go - especially when served with brie and crackers.Black Doris plums are a favourite for this paste, giving it an intense black/red colour and great flavour; but other red-fleshed plums such as Omega or Satsuma are also excellent.
Yield: about 2 ½ cups.
1 kg ripe plums, preferably red fleshed
1 Tbsp lemon zest
juice of ½ lemon
1 star anise
Stone and chop the plums, a task easily done when the plums are very ripe. Transfer to a large saucepan with the lemon zest and juice and the star anise. Bring to simmer point over a low heat and cook, partly covered and stirring regularly, for about twenty minutes or until very soft.Pour into a large sieve set over a bowl and push the mixture through with a wooden spoon. Discard the small amount of skin/fibre remaining.
Weigh the sieved pulp and transfer to a wide, shallow, non-stick fry pan.
Stir in an equivalent weight of sugar and bring to a boil, stirring, over a medium heat.
Cook for about one hour, stirring regularly. The mixture will reduce by just over half and be quite thick. A wooden spoon will leave a trail through the mix for a few moments at this point.
Turn off the heat and sit for ten minutes to cool (no longer) while you line moulds of choice for the paste.
An easy way to do this is to line ramekins with cling wrap, pour in the paste, cool and turn out. The cling wrap does imprint wrinkles on the paste, but if this is an issue, cut baking paper to snugly fit the bottom of the ramekins; when cool, dip a knife in hot water and run it around the inside of the mould to release the paste and turn out.
It is also possible to use small, unlined jelly moulds.
Wrap each paste in cling wrap and store in a refrigerator.
Serve this paste as part of an antipasto, as it complements not only cheeses but cold meats (or hot); with cheese after a meal instead of dessert; or add to sauces for extra flavour.