You have to love seasonal eating! It begins with the absence of a fruit or and vegetable–that you are starting (achingly) to miss. Then, a few juicy berries (or milky ears of corn) arrive and the excitement is palpable. A few days later, a half case ripens and it’s almost like heaven. Soon after, the full crop comes in–and OMG, what will you do with the extras!!
And that’s how I came across the idea of boozy fruit.
It started late last summer with a good deal on a case of pluots. Pluots are a cross between a plum and an apricot (with about 70% plum lineage) and, in a strange twist of fate, are larger and juicier than either! When the box arrived from my buying club, we stuffed ourselves with sweet fruit–but we were never going to finish it all.
I had seen a recipe for brandied plums from the New York Times and it had left me curious. Preserving in alcohol is one of the oldest and easiest preserving methods with no need for even water bath canning. And there would be, of course, a slightly decadent fringe benefit!
When the marinating time was up, I made a brandied pluot upside down cake. The fruity brandy went into sangria. I followed this with a (boozy) peaches and cream pie. When I needed a simple dessert it was time for a brandied plum fool–fruit mixed with sweetened whipped cream. Wouldn’t that warm you on a cool autumn evening!
This recipe is very similar to the classic Rumtopf, from northern Europe and Italy, where fruit is soaked in alcohol, then served around Christmas as a compound or topping for waffles, poundcakes, etc.
And now a case of peaches is on the way. Hmmm, perhaps I can handle the passing of summer after all!
- 3 lbs plums pitted and sliced into quarters or sixths
- 2 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 vanilla beans halved with seeds scraped out and saved
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Mix all ingredients.
- Let marinate, covered, in a dark place for at least 4 weeks (see notes below).
- Fingerling Potatoes with Parsley Butter or Oil
- Plum Drunken Fool (or Sober if You Prefer)