Most of us know about quince paste or membrillo, a popular fruit cheese for cheese platters. But fewer people know about damson cheese, a fruit cheese made from plums.
Damsons are particularly good for making plum paste because they have an intense tart and spicy flavour that goes very well with cheeses. This makes damson paste a better choice than sweet quince pastes for cheese boards.
If you don't have Damsons, you can use other plums but try for late summer ripening varieties like Omega as these have more flavour than the early plums.
Fast Setting Fruit Paste Recipe
The best bit about this plum paste recipe is that you don't have to stir it forever. It sets quickly and we like to use vintage madeleine tins to make pretty patterned discs of fruit cheese that look great on platters and make sweet gifts with your homemade cheese.
If you have room for a plum tree, a Damson tree is good to plant for fruit for use in sauces, cordials and fruit pastes. They don't need a lot of pruning or care. Buy one that is grafted onto a rootstock so it doesn't grow sucker from the base.
This little tree is the second one we've planted and is already delivering 5 kg of plums after a couple of years. While you're visiting, look at our cheesemaking supplies to whip up some artisan cheeses for your cheese boards.
Easy Damson Plum Paste Recipe with Less Stirring
Heather - Country Trading Co.
you can't be bothered stirring for all eternity, this is the fruit paste recipe for you. It uses a wide frying pan to increase the surface area, so the damson cheese sets sooner.
500 grams (1 lb) of fresh or frozen Damson Plums
1 cup (280mls - 1 fl oz) of Cider or a fruity white wine.
5 Whole Cloves (1 Star Anise is nice if you don't like cloves)
250g (1/2 lb) Raw Sugar
Wash the fruit and put in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the cider and cloves.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the fruit is very soft and the liquid reduced.
Push the sieve through a mouli to remove the stones and skins. A coarse sieve will work if you don't have a mouli.
Weigh the fruit pulp and put it into a wide frying pan with deep sides and a heavy base.
Weigh out sugar equal to half the weight of the fruit pulp and add it to the pan with the fruit. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
Bring to the boil over a gentle heat and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the pulp is very thick. Allow 30 minutes of cooking and stirring.
Draw the wooden spoon across the base of the pan. If the fruit cheese is ready to set, the pulp on eithr side of the line won't join up.
Grease small ceramic ramekins or vintage madeleine tins with a light coating of mild cooking oil.
When the plum paste is ready, spoon it into the containers and smooth the top surface. Set aside until cool then turn out and wrap in baking paper.
Store wrapped fruit cheeses in a sealed container in a cool pantry, or in the refrigerator. Eat before next years damsons are ready.
You can scale this recipe if you have a big bag of plums in the freezer but I'd recommend making smaller 500g batches because it sets faster.