Friday, June 28, 2013

Pate de Fruit

Still dealing with buckets of ornamental plums.  I decided to make pate de fruit because I love it!  But it's quite expensive to buy it.  I have organic gelatin around the house (because we order it by the pound- as my husband likes to drink it.  He thinks it helps his joints).  So I used granulated gelatin.  You will notice it calls for "leaves of gelatin" in the recipe- that's more European.  1 TBS of granules = 4 leaves of gelatin.  I modified the recipe a little.  First, because I'm lazy, I did not pit the plums.  I cooked them with the lemon and sugar called for in the recipe, and then I simply strained out the pits.  Then I used my immersion blender and blended the mixture.  I cooled about 1/4 cup of the fruit sauce and added 3 (not 2) TBS of gelatin- and they were heaping TBS.  I'm glad I did that, because the resulting candies would not have been firm enough without the extra gelatin.  I might even add more gelatin next time.  I'll see what I think after these are a few days old- as I expect them to dry out a little over time.


After I cut up the squares I coated them in organic sugar and stored them 3 layers deep (separated by plastic wrap) in tupperware.  I think the un-sugar coated plum product will make an excellent accompaniment for cheese (rather like quince paste- only fruitier).  I'm also considering make a cold dessert out of this, using a layer of sponge cake soaked in marsala, a layer of plum, a layer of custard, and some berries and whip cream.  It will be like a trifle!  I'll put the pictures of the candies up soon.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Got Ornamental Plums?

We have an ornamental plum tree that has amazingly tasty fruit.  Not all ornamental trees have good fruit, but if you have one that does, use those plums!!!

Here are some easy suggestions- aside from just eating the fruit, which we do.

First- make plum sauce,  Take plums and wash them- I used 17 cups.  Then I put them in a pan- NOT pitted and NOT skinned.  I added 6 cups of sugar.  I turned on the heat to medium, and cooked them for about 45 minutes.  The fruit bursts and all the juice comes out.  There is no need to add water.  Strain the liquid through a sieve or colander (I use a colander).  Then I like to cook the liquid down and thicken it more.  I did about 2 hours on low heat, stirring very occasionally.  The sauce is amazing on ice cream.  You can mix it with soda water or champagne for a drink.  You can make margaritas with it.  You can use it for Asian plum sauce -by cooking 1 cup of sauce with 4 cloves of garlic, minced, one white onion, minced, dash of hot pepper sauce or chili oil, 2 tsp 5 spices seasoning, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 1 tbs grated ginger- you can also add sesame oil (but I never do because my husband is allergic to sesame.)  If you want to thicken it, cool about 1/8 cup, stir in 1 tbs cornstarch, and add it back to the liquid stirring quickly.  Any of the ingredients listed can be omitted and you'll still get a tasty sauce.  I have used this sauce to baste chicken and pork.  Have added butter to it and sauteed veggies in it.  Makes a great dipping sauce for Asian foods.  And it's good over cheese!  I'm sure there are many other uses for it as well.

I'm going to try making plum sauce brownies this weekend.  I'm going to add plum sauce instead of water.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Second- infuse vodka with plums.

Third- infuse vinegar with plums.

Fourth-  candy the plums.  It's pretty simple, and there are lots of instructions on the net, but basically you replace the water in the fruit with sugar.  It's just a long slow process of cooking the fruit in sugar.

Fifth- pate de fruit.  I'm totally doing this one!  I love pate de fruit, and it's darn expensive.  So I'm going to make my own.  I'll try to take a picture before I eat it all.  I'm going to try several different recipes- some with gelatin, some with pectin, and see which I like better.  I'll keep you informed!

I'll add some pictures of my plum sauce as soon as I get my camera back from my daughter who borrowed it.