My top plum recipes

Our dripping plum treeOur elderly plum tree is dripping with fruit – and a good month later than last year, thanks to this summer’s weird, wet-hot weather. What to do with them all? My favourite recipes are hazelnut plum crumble, sugar plum tart, spiced plum chutney, and moist plum and almond cake. All except the chutney are gorgeous with a spoon of Greek yogurt.

Hazelnut plum crumble

This is my own adaptation of a bog-standard crumble. There’s something very yummy about the combination of sugary-but-tart plums with the earthy crunch of hazelnuts. I just grind these in the blender, but you could use ready ground almonds instead:

3oz butter

5oz spelt flour

2oz porridge oats

2oz ground hazelnuts (or almonds)

3oz sugar (plus a few 2 tbsps for the plums)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2lbs washed plums


  1. Pre-heat oven to C180.
  2. Stone and halve plumbs, toss in cinnamon and a few tablespoons sugar and put in a pie dish.
  3. Rub together flour, oats and butter until texture of breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in sugar and ground nuts.
  5. Pile the crumble mixture over the plums.
  6. Bake for approx 30 mins.

Sugar plum tartSugar Plum Tart

From Citrus and Spice by Sybil Kapoor: less of a tart; more of a juicy, doughy pud.

125 ml full fat milk

1tsp dried yeast

300g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

50g caster sugar, plus extra for the plums

30g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

1 medium egg, beaten

1 tsp cinnamon

1.5kg plums, halved and stoned


  1. Heat the milk until tepid. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle on the yeast and leave for 10 mins.
  2. Place flour, salt and 50g sugar into a mixing bowl. Stir the cool, melted butter into the yeasty milk and pour into the flour. Add the beaten egg and mix together with hands into a soft dough. Turn out and kneed for 5-10 mins. Cover in bowl and leave somewhere warm for an hour.
  3. Butter a 28cm tart tin. Turn dough out onto floured board and roll out to line the tin. Prick the base with a fork.
  4. Preheat oven to Gas 7/C220. Toss the plums in 4tbspns caster sugar mixed with cinnamon. Arrange them, standing up at a slight angle, tightly packed. Leave to rise for 30 mins.
  5. Bake for 20-25 mins or until plums cooked and dough golden brown. Best eaten warm or cold.

Spiced plum chutneySpiced plum chutney

Slightly adapted from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, a real winner – rich and fruity to keep the plum fest going all the year round. Makes about 6lbs.

3lbs washed plums (1.3kg)

1lb cooking apples (450g)

3 largish onions

3 cloves garlic

2 heaped tspns  ground ginger

1lb seedless raisins (450g)

1 lb dark brown soft sugar (450g)

1lb demerara sugar (450g)

2 pints malt vinegar (1.2 litres)

2 tbspns salt

2 small cinnamon sticks

2 tsps mixed spice

1 dessertspoon whole cloves

A very large pan, selection of jam jars with plastic-lined, screw-top lids, discs cut out of waxed paper.


  1. Halve and stone plums and put in pan. Use food processor to chop onions and cored apples into mince-like consistency and add to pan.
  2. Add crushed garlic, ginger, mixed spice, raisins, sugars and vinegar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and stir well. Bring to the boil then simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Stir now and then – more often towards the end to stop it sticking. When it’s a dark, thickening mushy consistency it’s done. Be watchful towards the end or it will burn.
  3. Pour into jam jars – warm from the dishwasher or 5 mins in moderate oven. Cover with waxed discs and seal down with screwed lid. Store in a cool place and leave to mellow for at least three months before eating.

Plums fresh from the treeMoist plum and almond cake

From Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries – another favourite recipe book. Just perfect.

150g butter

150g caster sugar

16 halved and stoned plums

3 large eggs

75g plain flour

1.5tspns baking powder

100g ground almonds

50g shelled walnuts (or whole hazelnuts)


  1. Pre-heat oven to C180, line base of a 22cm cake tin, 6cm deep, with baking parchment.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add lightly beaten eggs a little at a time.
  4. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold into the mixture. Then fold in ground almonds.
  5. Chop walnuts to size of gravel and fold in too.
  6. Scrape mixture into lined cake tin. Plonk the plums on top (they will sink in during cooking) and bake 40-45 mins, doing a skewer test to check if it’s done.
  7. Cool in the tin for  15 mins before turning out – and try not to eat it all at once!
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