Filed under:

Oven-Dried Plums

Introduction

This was an experiment from last week, that turned out very well. A friend brought me a large bowl of Quetsch plums. It's a variety commonly grown in Alsace and is most often used to make tarts, plum brandy and Slivovitz. We already had 'Liqueur de fruits' scheduled for our course this week, so wanted to try something else.

We have been preparing oven-dried tomatoes so it struck me that this might also work with plums. I discovered that Martha Stewart had given this a whirl some years ago, but I wanted purer flavours.

The resultant dried plums can be used for sweet or savoury dishes. I have posted a recipe combining some of them with aubergines\eggplants.

Bowl of Quetsch plums

Tips

Any plum variety can be used but they need to be firm, not squishy, or they will disintegrate.

The addition of salt might seem strange, but it will intensify the flavour and helps with preservation.

Ingredients

  • 2kg\4-5lbs of Plums
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 level teaspoon of salt
  • 1 level teaspoon of coarsely grated black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

Tools of the Trade

  • Baking sheets\trays
  • Baking paper\parchment to line the trays

Plums, quartered and coated with the sugar\salt solution

Method

Cut the plums into quarters lengthwise, removing the stone\pit and place in a bowl.

Beat the salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar together in a warmed bowl until the salt and sugar have almost disolved, then add the sunflower oil. Pour the mixture over the plums and toss thoroughly until all are coated.

Arrange the plums, skin side down and spaced apart, in a single layer on the lined baking sheets and dry in a warm oven, 120°C\250°F gas mark ½ for 3-4 hours. Open the oven from time to time to release moisture. Turn the oven off and leave the plums in the oven for 8 hours or overnight. The plums will shrink, but will still be moist. Store the plums in an air-tight jar.

Plums, drying in the oven

Suggestion

Replace the sugar with honey. A herb honey would be particularly good.