The other day a neighbour asked if we wanted to come over to her house and pick some plums. Not being able to resist an offer of organic fruit, we happily agreed. Subjected to the customary Andalucian generosity, we returned home with two heaping bags of organic plums, one bag of organic almonds, three humongous branches of their spectacular flowering bougainvillea and a potted seedling of a most rare type of cactus.
In addition, as if that weren’t enough, they waved us off with the carte blanche invitation to come back for more any time. They also extended a personal invitation for me to raid their bitter almond tree in the fall, as few people share my love of this unappreciated delicacy.
That was last night, so when we woke up this morning with plums galore and still only two mouths to feed, my first question was how to utilize them. I have never made plum liqueur before, but since I have made quaffable liqueurs from cherries, pears, lemons, oranges, almonds, walnuts, quince and god knows what else, plums were next in line.
ANDALUSIAN GOLDEN PLUM LIQUEUR
Ca. 1.5 kilo plums
1 large or 2 small organic lemons (only the peel is used, so choose accordingly)
100-ish grams of sugar (I haven’t yet succeeded with stevia, so I use the smallest amount of sugar possible)
750 ml vodka, or 500 ml vodka and a generous glass of brandy
Condiments (feel free to add/subtract)
A few pods of green cardamom
A drizzle of whole coriander seeds
A slug of Mexican vanilla extract (genuine or nada!)
And a shake of Sichuan peppercorns
* Peel the lemons.
* Add lemon rind, sugar, spices, vanilla and vodka to a 2-litre sealable glass jar.
* Fill with whole clean plums until the fruit reach the top of the liquid.
* Store out of sight and mind for 4-6 months.
* Remove the plums. Most recipes will tell you to discard the liqueur-infused fruit, but I do nothing of the kind. I usually boil them to get rid of some of the alcohol, which also makes them easier to pit. Then I chop them and use them in baking with very tasty results.
* Decanter into a bottle and enjoy.
Before you get brewing, I want to make it clear that this is not an official recipe. It is more of a loose suggestion to encourage other plum lovers to get creative. No measurements are accurate and all may be altered according to taste. Furthermore, I cannot guarantee the result, as it really shouldn’t be opened until near Christmastime. What I can promise is that nobody has died of drinking my liqueurs yet, none of my liqueurs-in-progress has ever exploded, and all who have partaken in my happy hooch experiments have rather enjoyed them.
As far as the inherited bag of organic almonds is concerned, it almost forces me to revamp our supply of homemade Amaretto, but I will leave that project for the fall.