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 This is taken from Elizabeth David French Provincial Cooking.


The colour of the resulting syrup and fruit will depend on the  fruit and alcohol used in preparation of the preserve.

A darker fruit and coloured eau di vie will give a darker syrup.


Use slighly under ripe fruit, greengages Rheines-Claudes

Leave the stalks on and pierce each plum through tot the stone with a skewer in three or four places and leave in a bowl of cold water until all are ready. Weigh fruit.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, put in the greengages and, as soon as the water comes up to a fast boil again, remove the fruit with a perforated spoon to a large china bowl.

For each pound of fruit, measure a pound of white sugar and a wine glass somewhat under 1/4pt of water.

Boil together to the pearl stage ie until the syrup is bubbling with little beads, throw in the fruit, leave until comes to the boil again,  then immediately return it to the bowl I think using perforated spoon and pour syrup over the fruit.

Leave 24 hours.

The next day pour off the syrup, bring to the boil and put in the fruit, bring once more to the boil, remove fruit with perforated spoon to the bowl and skim the syrup if needed and pour over the fruit.

Leave 24 hours

Remove the fruit to glass or stone jars.

Boil the syrup until it has thickened somewhat. I reduce till very concentrated, this will give a thicker syrup, if a thinner syrup wanted simply do not reduce as much

Filter through a cloth muslin and, have ready half a bottle of brandy or other spirit for every 3lb of raw fruit use. I used 100ml grappa for 400g plums

Mix the syrup and alcohol together thoroughly and pour over the fruit.

Stopper the jars and leave at least a month before opening

Selected recipes



16 September 10

Plum, Orange and Raisin Marmalade



17 September 09

Dessert or tea time have your cake and eat it.

I found this jar in the cupboard from 2003.

Vintage Plums

This vintage of plums are delicious so keep them as long as you can.

The plum tree varies in the amount of fruit so maybe this year I can make more.


A recipe from the Dordogne. Small purple plums or greengages can be used for this preserve, which is served mainly as a kind of dessert and liqueur combined - 3-4 of the plums or greengages in a small thick wine glass with a little of the brandy syrup in which they have been preserved.

My yellow plums blanching in water.

Plums in syrup


Blanched plums waiting for syrup

Plums before steeping


Plums in syrup day one.

Plums steeping


Syrup once reduced, waiting for grappa.

Reduced syrup


Vodka can be used in stead of brandy, but I prefer grappa.

If you like  preserve with a more powerful flavour of spirits use a half bottle to every 2lb of fruit instead of 3lb.


Damsons in Calvados from Normandie

Tessa Damsons


I used these plums in Mrs Blumenthal's Christmas Cheesecake