Today was a kitchen day.
The weather was beautiful and I have sheets of lists of jobs to do outside, but today I felt I just needed to be in the kitchen. I had planned a beef bourguignon for dinner which took time to prepare and there were plenty of ripe apples to use, so an apple pie appeared. My most pressing crop, however, is the plum crop. The tree is practically collapsing under the weight of ripe plums. Last year I had the sum total of 16 edible plums. This year I could not even estimate how many ripe plums I can see every morning when I look out of the kitchen window. So we have plum crumble, plum cake, stewed plums for porridge and today, plum brandy.
Plum brandy is my new winter treat. It makes great gifts for friends, it is wonderful added to mince pies and Christmas cake and it is very nice on its own in front of the fire with a good book. I first came across it in the wonderful cookbook Prepped by Vanessa Kimbell. This book is full of seasonal kitchen treats and amongst its many delights I discovered Plum Brandy, which is now an essential autumn routine.
The recipe is simple – 1kg pricked plums, 750g sugar, 1L brandy. Measure out the ingredients and tip them all into a 2L kilner jar.
Once sealed, keep the jars handy for a few days so that you can give them a good shake to help the sugar dissolve. When all the sugar has dissolved the jars can be stored in a dark cool place until December, when you can pour the plum brandy into bottles and add a pretty label, ready to give away as presents.
Make sure you keep a few bottles aside though – this sweet heady liqueur is a perfect winter night treat.