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Plum butter recipe

Plum butter recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Jam
  • Plum jam

A delicious fruit jam, known as plum butter, to spread on warm bread, toast or scones. A lovely way to preserve the flavour of local plums for enjoyment year-round.

24 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 3 (300ml) jars

  • 2kg plums, stones removed and diced
  • 200g granulated sugar

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:7hr ›Extra time:14hr › Ready in:21hr25min

  1. Place plums in a large, deep pan. Add a little bit of water to prevent burning. Heat over very low heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once plums have cooked down, remove from heat and set aside for 2 hours.
  3. Place pan back over low heat and cook gently for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside overnight at room temperature.
  5. The next day, place the pan back over low heat. Cook gently for 2 hours.
  6. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  7. Place pan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Add sugar and simmer for 15 minutes, till thickened.
  8. Ladle into sterilised jars and seal.

How to sterilise jars

Learn how to sterilise jars two ways with our handy step-by-step guide and video.


Plum butter

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Plum Butter Recipe

Achieving the correct viscosity for this putter can be tricky, since the cooking time varies according to the ripeness of the plums. After the butter is simmered, it should have the thickness of heavy (double) cream, and once it cools a bit, it should drip thickly from a spoon.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Plum Butter

For most of the last three weeks, my left crisper drawer has been almost entirely occupied by plums. I’ve slowly working my way through this bounty, cooking them into jam, using them in my various demonstrations, and relying on my slow cooker to turn them into butter (two batches, thus far). The bottom of the drawer is finally in sight and I think the remaining plums will become a batch of cardamom-spiked jam.

I’ve written a great deal over the years about using a slow cooker to make fruit butters, so if you’re a long-time reader, this post might feel oddly familiar. However, I’m of the belief that anything useful and good can always bear repeating, and so, I push on and offer you another slow cooker.

The plums I most like to use for butter are late season Italian plums. Bred for cooking and drying (they are also known as Italian prunes), they are typically the last variety of stonefruit available before the weather slips into fall. They can be slightly bitter or tannic when eaten raw, but once heated or dried, trade those unpleasant elements for a lush texture and natural sweetness.

To make plum butter, I fill my biggest colander, give the plums a good rinse, and then stand at the sink for a time to cut the fruit into halves and remove the pits. I find that for my 6 quart slow cooker, my starting weight is typically between 7 and 8 pounds.

Then I heap those plum halves in the cooker, add a few tablespoons of water to prevent scorching in the early stages of cooking, set the lid in place, and cook on high for somewhere between 2 and 4 hours. This first stage of cooking is designed to soften the plums enough so that they can easily be pureed with an immersion blender.

Once they’re soft, I apply my immersion blender until the plums have been transformed into a puree. Then I balance a wooden chopstick across the lip of the slow cooker crock, and rest the lid on top of it, so that the steam can easily vent. Finally, I turn the cooker on low and proceed to cook the plum puree down over the course of the next 6 to 10 hours (your mileage will always vary here).

I try to give the cooking butter a good stir every couple of hours, to ensure that the top doesn’t dry out while the underside burns.

Once the plum puree has reduced down to a dense, thick, spreadable butter, it is done. I like to scrape it out into a medium saucepan for the final pureeing, because if you’ve done your work well, there won’t be enough depth in the slow cooker for an immersion blender to work well.

When the butter is smooth from the second application of the immersion blender, I add the sweetener and spices. In the case of this batch, I sweetened with brown sugar, thinking that it’s molasses-y flavor would go well with the plums. I also added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and a splash of lemon juice for balance.

As with all fruit butters, you can sweeten this one to your taste. You could reduce the amount of sugar, use regular granulated sugar, add a bit of honey instead, or even leave it entirely unsweetened (though I find that even a small amount of sugar helps balance the fruit and also improves shelf life).

To preserve, funnel the finished butter into jars (I like half pints for this one, as a little goes a long way), leaving a generous 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. I always process fruit butters for longer than jam, because their increased density makes it harder for the heat of the canner to penetrate to the center of the jar. A longer processing time helps combat that.

Cooking Instructions German Pflaumenmus

– wash prunes, let drain and remove pits.
– cut prunes in smaller pieces. and in a pan without any water cook them until they are somewhat soft, stir frequently.
– puree prunes with a hand blender.
– add spices.
– pre-heat oven to 350F (175 C)
– use a roasting pan or any pan that is deep enough, but first clean it thoroughly. There should not be any grease in it at all
– fill in the warm prunes..
– add 200 g sugar , mix with a wooden spoon.
– let it cook for 30 min.
– remove pan from oven and add again 200 g sugar, mix well, place again in oven for another 30 min.
– Then add remaining sugar, mix well, place again in oven and let it cook for 60 min, don’t mix again.

When is it done? Use a wooden spoon and draw a line in the mashed prunes. If you can see the line very well, the plum butter is done.
Add some rum if you like.
Place plum butter in jars that are rinsed with boiling water. Close with a lid and keep them for about 20 min upside down, then turn them into normal position.
Keep the Pflaumenmus in a cold place.

Luscious Slow Cooker Plum Butter

The mornings are cold and dewy, although the days themselves warm, even sweltering. The maples are starting to show their fall colors and a few crunchy leaves are starting to litter the ground dry hard ground. It is late August now and the plums are starting to ripen.

Image courtesy of

When I first laid eyes on the place that I call home (at the time I write this post), I was charmed by the detailed Craftsman home, the brilliantly large elder, and the fruit and nut trees in the backyard. The hilly pastures weren’t ideal and required a lot of fence work, but, hey, they were at least more than I had before. The summer that we committed to this place, I loaded up many of the red flesh plums from the gnarled old tree out back and ate them like candy. Since that time four years ago, the plum tree has only given me one crop. This year she offers a mere shirttail full of fruit. She is done. And so am I.

Although I make effort to show you beauty with my site, I would be inauthentic to say that it has been a charmed life here. A bad electrical system has left us scrambling to pay the power bill more months than I can count. The barn is suffocatingly small, leaky and impossible to keep dry during our wet PNW winters. Those pastures – bigger, but not better. And the soil – well, it sucks. I can cover crop and compost to my heart’s content and get nowhere with it. There you have it folks – ugly authentic.

We have purchased a new piece of property. In fact, the notice that the loan docs have made it to the escrow agent to prepare for closing just hit my inbox. And I promise to share more on that later. But you came here for the plum butter. So, plum butter I will deliver.

Fruit butter is my favorite way of making jam. My secret is the slow cooker. It saves my nitty gritty butt every time. All hail the slow cooker. Basically, place cleaned and halved fruit in slow cooker with sugar, lemon juice and whatever spices you want to add, walk away. Come back, whirl it up with a stick blender, process in a water bath canner, and voila. It doesn’t get more simple than that.

Plum butter is especially lovely. My red fleshed plums result in a kinda sexy burgundy butter reminiscent of velvet theater screen drapes. Purple skinned Italian plums offer a gorgeous aubergine hue that is lovely too. Plums seems well adapted to this low and slow caramelization technique. The sugars become darker and rich, and very, very yummy. I wrap up a few of the pits in a muslin tea bags to imbue the plum butter with a delicate almond note. This plum butter is simple, delicious and not the least bit fussy. But it tastes divine. Perfect on toast, but capable of topping a custard or filling a sumptuous chocolate layer cake. And I am never one to shy away from just eating it with a spoon.

It seems so very appropriate — this eeking out a batch of plum butter from my final crop of plums on this land. The last of this tree, which will undoubtedly perish this winter. Such is the cycle of life.

I have no regrets, just ready for a new adventure.

And to stock the shelves of my new-to me 1930 vintage pantry with a few jars of this plum butter.

For another wonderful fruit butter, check out this peach butter with vanilla bean.

Spiced Plum Butter

This sweet homemade spiced plum butter is packed full of summer plums and just a hint of allspice. It's perfect on toast, biscuits or eaten off a spoon.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hour 40 minutes


3-1/2 pounds sugar plums
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Split plums in half, remove pits, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Do not peel.

Place in a 6 quart nonreactive saucepan, and add 1 cup water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until fruit is very soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, puree fruit and liquid in a food processor.

Rinse saucepan and return puree to pan along with allspice and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until thick enough to spread, 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in airtight container.

I did not process (as in hot water bath canning) this fruit butter so you must keep this stored in the refrigerator.

If you prefer jelly over jam, then you will love this recipe for plum jelly. It took some courage for me to try to make jelly for the first time, it seemed so hard! But after I got myself a jelly straining bag and overcame my fear, I was making all kinds of different jelly in no time. You will make great jelly too if you follow the step by step instructions I provide.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups pitted dried plums (prunes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 large oranges)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Unsweetened lightly whipped cream and ground cinnamon, for serving

Dried-plum butter: Bring dried plums, orange juice, lemon zest and juice, and 2 cups water to a boil in a covered medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until fruit is beginning to break down, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water, brown sugar, and salt, mashing mixture with the back of a spoon until jam-like. Transfer to a medium bowl let cool completely. Dried-plum butter can be stored in refrigerator, covered, up to 1 week.

Cookies: Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Beat butter with sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with milk, until combined. Divide dough into 9 pieces. Shape into disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one dough piece at a time (keep the rest in refrigerator), roll out on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a roughly 8 1/2-inch round. Using a paring knife and a cake pan or plate as a guide, cut dough into an 8-inch round. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet refrigerate while rolling and cutting remaining dough pieces, placing 2 rounds on each sheet.

Bake cookies in batches until golden and firm in center, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

Place 1 cookie on a cake plate and spread with 1/2 cup dried-plum butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top with another cookie and spread with another 1/2 cup dried-plum butter. Continue stacking and spreading until all 9 cookies have been used. (Do not spread filling on top layer.) Wrap in plastic refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.


  1. Make dough:
    1. Combine flour, butter, sugar, salt, and zest in a food processor and pulse until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with remainder in small (roughly pea-size) lumps. Add yolks and process just until incorporated and mixture begins to clump.
    2. Turn mixture out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. Smear each portion once with heel of your hand in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather together 2 portions of dough and form into a ball make another ball with other 2 portions.
    3. Pat out each ball of dough with floured fingertips into a tart pan, in an even 1/4-inch layer on bottom and up sides (about 1/8 inch above rim). Chill 30 minutes, or until firm.
    1. Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add plums and lemon juice and toss to coat. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes, or until juicy.
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
    2. Arrange plum halves, skin sides down, in tart shells, overlapping in a rosette pattern (see photo, opposite). Halve any remaining plums lengthwise and randomly tuck in between plum halves in tarts. Pour all juices from bowl over plums.
    3. Bake tarts in middle of oven 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375°F. Cover tarts loosely with foil and bake until plums are tender and juices are bubbling and slightly thickened, 40 to 50 minutes more. Brush warm juices in tart over plums. (Juices will continue to thicken as tarts cool.) Cool tarts completely in pans on a rack.

    Yeasted Bavarian Plum Cake (Zwetschgendatschi)

    Baking concentrates the flavor of the juicy plums atop this classic German cake. The yeast in the cake’s base gives it a tantalizing aroma, while the sugary, buttery streusel on top adds delicious crunch, and serves as a tasty counterpoint to the tart plums.


    • 2/3 cup (152g) whole milk
    • 1 large egg (50g)
    • 1 large egg yolk (15g)
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons (8g) salt
    • grated rind (zest) of 1 medium to large lemon
    • 3 cups (360g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
    • 1/4 cup (57g) butter, cold, grated
    • 1/4 cup (28g) vanilla cookie crumbs*
    • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds plums, cut in half and pitted
    • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup (120g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup (53g) brown sugar, packed
    • pinch of salt
    • 7 tablespoons (99g) butter, melted


    To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk, almond extract, sugar, salt, and zest.

    Add the flour and yeast to the bowl and, using the dough hook, mix at low speed until everything comes together, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to collect any stray flour. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

    With the mixer running add the butter in four additions, mixing until each is incorporated.

    Continue mixing at low speed until the dough pulls away from the bottom and sides of the bowl and is smooth and shiny, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable cover and allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes, or until it’s doubled in size.

    Gently deflate the dough and place it on a lightly floured or lightly greased work surface, or on a piece of lightly greased parchment. Roll it into a rough 10” x 15” rectangle. Transfer the dough (on its parchment) to a baking sheet if you’re not using parchment, lightly grease the baking sheet.

    Using your fingertips, gently press and stretch the dough into a neat 10” x 15” rectangle. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or a reusable cover and let it rise for 30 minutes.

    While the cake is rising, preheat the oven to 350ºF.

    Sprinkle the cookie crumbs over the cake, then arrange the plum halves on the cake in 6 to 7 rows of 4 to 5 plum halves per row, flesh side up, pressing them in gently. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the plums.

    Cover the cake and allow it to rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

    To make the topping: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, and salt. Pour in the melted butter, first tossing with a spoon then working it in with your fingers until the mixture starts to become crumbly. Don’t mix too long you don’t want it to become a cohesive mass.

    Sprinkle the topping over the cake. Place it in the oven and bake it for 30 to 40 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center registers 200°F to 205°F on a digital thermometer.

    Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack (still on its pan). Let it cool to lukewarm or room temperature before serving. Garnish each serving with whipped cream, if desired.

    Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days. Freeze for longer storage.

    Tips from our Bakers

    Italian prune plums are traditional for this cake use them if you can find them.

    For the topping, 6 to 8 medium-sized plain vanilla cookies should yield about 1/4 cup crumbs.

    This dough requires a lot of development we highly recommend using a stand or hand electric mixer rather than trying to knead it by hand.

    Join pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado as she demonstrates how to make Zwetschgendatschi from start to finish. Watch the Preshow and Episode 11 of the Isolation Baking Show now.


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