Plum Compote

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When you find a glut of cheap plums, poach and chill them and you’ll always have a burst of sunshine to add to natural yogurt for breakfast, to slather on a homemade scone or to fill a cake.

Ingredients

500g purple or yellow plums
250g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cold water
Juice of half a lemon

Method
1. Halve the plums and remove the stones. Place the fruit with the caster sugar and cold water in a heavy-bottomed pan.

2. Melt the sugar over a gentle heat, stir the sugar and fruit together, then turn the heat up to a boil and boil the mixture for 9-10 minutes or until the syrup has thickened and the bubbles appearing on the surface are large. (Be careful that the mixture doesn’t boil over as it is difficult to clean.)

3. Remove the pan from the heat, leave the mixture to settle for a few minutes, then remove any white froth on the surface or stir it back into the fruit (you can remove it for appearance but it is OK to eat it – read why jam skimmings are the best cook’s treat here). Stir in the lemon juice.

4. Ladle the fruit and syrup into warm sterilised jars and seal them if you want to keep the plum compote for up to 6 months. Store in a cool dark plate. If you are going to eat it in the next week or two store it in a covered bowl in the fridge and always use a clean spoon to remove the jam.

Recipe Variations: Plum and Vanilla Compote
Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into the mixture after you have removed it from the heat. Taste after you add one teaspoon and only add more if it needs it, it will depend on your preference. Or use orange flower water or a tiny splash of rose or orange extract as it is stronger.

Plum and Cardamom Compote
Add the seeds of 2-3 cardamoms along with the plums and caster sugar.

Plum and Apricot Compote
Substitute half the plums with stoned, halved apricots. If you use yellow plums with the apricots, the finished compote has a lovely golden orange hue.

How to make a quick sorbet from Plum Compote
If you have an ice cream machine, you can freeze this compote for 20-30 minutes and turn it into a fat-free creamy dessert.

This recipe has been triple-tested in the gréatfood test kitchen.

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