Issue 09: Plums

by thomandaimee

Now that November is upon us, it is a wonder how fast the last ten months went by. Take a pause and think, what have we done and how much have we grown… There’s a thing called life which tends to get us pretty busy and being creatures of habit, sometimes we fall into the same routines each and every single day. Despite holding full-time jobs (which means late nights and even work on weekends), squeezing out whatever time to cook and bake becomes very precious.

With 2014 looming very closely, Ned and I have sat down to make groundwork for the next year. Alas, yet all we did was hide in a bistro to watch the nearby horses and sip our peach bellinis. To finally have a free Saturday, our minds were geared towards the art of idling. It was one of those days that the bed looks awfully inviting, or that your throat longs for next glass of bubbly. But we’ll get down to proper discussion soon… for now, let’s focus on today’s luscious fruits.

We ventured into plum territory this September with little interaction with the plump stone fruits. (Plump plums! Now I’m inspired to come up with a tongue twister.) The only contact we had were dried prunes which were quite scrummy in actual fact. Mom loves popping them after dinner like a petit four, and now we understand why we had pretty healthy bowel systems growing up.

The interesting thing about plums is that they comprise of a vast array of species and varieties – damsons, greengages, mirabelles, satsumas and pluots (a hybrid). For this issue, we are concentrating purely on plums, as scientifically or biologically accurate as we can get. These luscious drupes vary in size, colour and sweetness. With a spectrum from an almost blueish black to the loveliest tinge of sunny orange, plums are a delight to lay one’s eyes upon. And this is why our fridge was filled with boxes of multi-coloured plums.

Of course we didn’t just bring home bags of plums purely on superficial reasons, the main reason was to have a little taste test. As mentioned, both of us have not the slightest clue how each plum variety differ from the other and this calls for a little experiment. If you could just see us sitting in front of stacked punnets filled with these waxy fruits, we look almost two ridiculous greedy hobbits who got into trouble unknowingly. I swear plums were off the menu for the rest of the year.

It is never easy to define the actual taste notes of each variety as they come almost too close to the other, whether by its sweetness, its tang or sometimes, almost blandness. We found darker skinned plums to be the sharpest yet fullest in flavour. Plums in shades of yellow-orange were honey sweet and a delight to taste. At this stage, we have not gained enough knowledge to fully decide which was a ‘dessert’ or ‘cooking’ plum – they were all too delicious to pass judgement.

Juicy and highly versatile, plums are perfect for jam-making, compotes, puddings, crumbles, pies, and even alongside dishes of a savoury nature. Given a boost of sugar, these fruits collapse into the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. They pair very well with spices such as cinnamon, star anise, clove and vanilla; and work brilliantly with cream and custard. In fact, it’s odd that they are given little exposure in the markets than deserved. We definitely having plums next time round… without the massive taste test.

Ah… what about this: Plump plumbers plummet into plumptious plums.