I do like preserves that step out of the jam on toast box and lend themselves to a savoury repast. I love the mix of sweet with savoury and serving sweet preserves with cheese is a classic partnership.
Of course not all preserves will snuggle well on a cheese platter. Some are just too cloyingly sweet and don’t hit it off at all well in a cheesy partnership, but fruit cheeses are made using fruits that will pair well with savouries and their more robust, sliceable consistency means they are also easier to deal with on crackers and oatcakes.
This Plum Cheese with Lime is a perfect example and goes beautifully with good strong cheeses. Make some now and it will be perfect for foodie gifts for friends at Christmas.
The addition of lime brings an sharpness and zestiness while the vanilla adds depth and a sweetness. Tossing black peppercorns into the mix add heat and even more character. This is no plain and simple Plum Cheese, this is one with real oomph in the flavour stakes that can hold it’s own against the oldest and most pungent cheeses.
I like to make my fruit cheeses in tiny jars that are just enough for a party cheese platter. This isn’t like jam where you ladle it on to toast with a devil-may-care attitude, with plum cheese (or any fruit cheese) a little goes a long way and a small slice is sufficient. When you see Membrillo (the Spanish speciality fruit cheese made from the quince fruit) it is always sold in tiny jars, never in huge half pint jars like jam.
The set is all-important here, you don’t want a sloppy jelly or even something spoonable, it must be firm and something one would slice. That’s how it gets its name as a cheese, nothing to do with cheese itself or the fact that it goes so well with cheese, no, it is simply because it is firm and slices rather like a good cheese.
Check out my post on jam making and setting points and follow your instincts. If it hasn’t set up in the 40 minutes I have worked with, then just simmer it a bit longer. Remember to use sterilised jars for your finished product, and a jar with a wide mouth is always easier to get into than anything with a narrow opening.
I just made a small amount here using one pound of plums, double up the recipe to make as much as you want.
- 450g/1 lb red plums
- 1 lime (juice and zest)
- 6 black peppercorns
- ½ vanilla pod
- Rinse the plums and pat dry before cutting in half but leave the stone in them as they add flavour and pectin.
- Place plums in a pan along with the other ingredients and just a little bit of water so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cook until the plums are completely tender and squishy.
- Remove from heat and press the pulp through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon to get as much juice as possible.
- Weigh the resulting juice and measure out exactly the same quantity of sugar.
- Pour juice and sugar into a heavy based pan and slowly bring to the boil allowing the sugar to dissolve completely.
- Lower the heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes until it is thickened and has reached a good set.
- Carefully ladle into a small jar and pop on the lid.