Jammy plums with coconut cream

Jammy Plums 007
Photo by Matt Russell from The Secret of Cooking

I sometimes think that jam – including marmalade – is the most underrated fast ingredient for dessert.The point is that it already tastes delicious without you having to do anything extra. You can use jam to glaze fruit tarts, to fill cakes or to make these glistening sugarplums, roasted in minutes on the hob. These jammy plums also happen to be vegan.

Plums are not in season yet in the U.K. but Iβ€˜m posting this now because the same idea works brilliantly with any soft stone fruit - apricots with apricot jam, peaches with peach jam. A friend observed this week that when itβ€˜s good, peach jams can be the most delicious jam of all.

Photo Matt Russell

If the plums seem like work enough, don’t feel you need to make the coconut cream. Some plain yogurt plus a drizzle of maple syrup or similar would be a fine accompaniment.

Serves 2

1⁄2 tablespoon neutral oil

4–6 plums (depending on size), halved and destoned

1 tablespoon sugar

1-2 tablespoons plum or damson jam (or any jam you have) 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

A pinch of ground cardamom

Rose petals, dry or fresh, to serve or toasted nuts - pistachios are lovely

Coconut cream

1 tin of coconut cream (160ml) or, if you can’t find this, use a tin of regular coconut milk but make sure it is the good stuff, ideally Thai and not β€˜lite’

15g icing sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, make the coconut cream. Spoon off the thick top layer of the coconut cream into a mixing bowl. Save the watery part for another recipe such as soup, or use it to make porridge the next day. Add the icing sugar and vanilla to the thick coconut milk and whisk – preferably with an electric whisk but a balloon whisk will do – until thick and cloudlike. No matter how long you whisk it, coconut never develops quite the same texture as dairy cream but it has another texture – half watery, half creamy – that is excellent in its own way when you develop a taste for it.

Heat the oil in a medium frying pan – preferably cast iron – and cook the plums for a minute, cut side down. Add the sugar and continue to cook until the plumscatch at the edges and go caramel-brown. Add the jam and gently continue to turn the plums in the pan until they are thoroughly glazed. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and cardamom.
Put a dollop of the coconut cream on each of two plates with the plums on top, then scatter over the rose petals or toasted nuts.