Remove any stalks from the plums, and rinse them. With a sharp knife, cut round the long circumference of each plum, right down to the stone, and twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate them. Ease out the stones and put to one side. Put the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan, and heat gently until the sugar has melted. Crack the plum stones to extract the kernels and add these to the syrup with the plums. Cook gently for 10–15 minutes, or a little longer if the plums were very firm. Remove from the heat, cool and then chill until required. Serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream. The plum kernels add a delicate hint of almond to the dish. Whenever I make plum jam, I always add a few for each jar, just before the jam is about to reach setting point.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.