Friday, October 7, 2011
Bourbon Spiked Plum Jam: Going Plum Crazy (In a Happy Way)
I’ve been in a cozy mood this week with the darker mornings and drizzly days. The tips of the maple leaves on the tree outside my window are tinted red. Autumn is truly here and I’m embracing it.
One afternoon, after doing some chicken chores in the wet backyard, I glanced at a bowl of Italian plums sitting on the kitchen counter and my thoughts turned to jam. Making jam is a homey task, right up there with kneading bread. I felt chilled from the damp air and a bubbling pot on the stove sounded very appealing.
After chopping the plums and stirring them together with sugar and lemon juice in a sauce pan, I pulled a bottle of bourbon from the liquor cabinet and added a couple of healthy splashes to the mix. The kitchen filled with a pleasant, plummy, boozy scent and I inhaled deeply as I stirred. Not a bad way to pass the afternoon!
The skins of the Italian plums turned their yellow flesh a rich, deep purple. Before half an hour had passed, I had a luscious pot of jam (and a burned tongue from taste testing!).
I waited impatiently for the jam to cool. I had picked up a loaf of bread on impulse that morning (studded with pears, hazelnuts and figs ... you understand these impulses) and I was dying to try a slice with the jam. Then I spied mascarpone cheese in the fridge and the afternoon got even better.
I was swooning and licking my fingers. Thick slices of bread (remember the pears, hazelnuts and figs), a generous spread of mascarpone cheese and a big scoop of plum jam to top it off. Heavenly to indulge in, especially while sipping tea and looking out at the mist turning to rain.
Bourbon Spiked Plum Jam
Makes almost 1 pint
1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) Italian plums, washed, pitted and diced
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons bourbon
Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer rapidly for about half an hour, until the mixture thickens and looks jammy. Stir the jam often to prevent sticking.
When cool, ladle into a 1 pint Mason jar. Jam will keep for 1 month in the fridge (but it won’t last that long!).