It's autumn, and with leaves falling from the trees and the nights drawing in I felt compelled to spend a few hours over the stove, stirring something sweet and comforting. Jam is pretty easy to make - in this case you just take equal quantities of plums and sugar, and optionally jazz it up with some spices.
I used about 10 plums and filled two 500g Le Parfait jars, with a bit left over to be eaten that afternoon.
Jam keeps up to two years in a sterilised jar, if you don't know how to do this then read on...
Plum jam with star anise & cinnamon
800g plums, (weight without stones - about 10 plums)
800g caster sugar
2 star anise
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Wash, quarter and stone the plums.
2. Toss the plums with the sugar and cinnamon until thoroughly coated. Leave for a couple of hours. This isn't essential but does help to draw out the juices and make the jam quicker to cook. You could always do this the night before and leave them overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1.
4. Put the plum mix into a saucepan with the star anise and heat gently until the sugar has all dissolved. Once this has happened you can bring the jam to the boil.
5. Once the jam has reached setting point, decant into the sterilised jars and close the lids while the jam is still hot. Setting point is at 105°C/220°F, so go by your sugar thermometer if you have one. Alternatively, you can test the jam by putting a drop onto a cold plate and pushing with your finger to see if it wrinkles - if it does, you're done.
Why not try substituting some vanilla seeds or ground cardomom for the cinnamon and anise? Or you could try splitting the plum stones and adding the kernels for an almondy flavour (although I must confess I didn't have much success with the splitting).