White peach & sugar plum butter

This is butter in the same sense as lemon butter, so it’s just a jam that’s puréed before being reduced to thicken. Recipe and more photos after the cut.

Ingredients

4 large white peaches
36 sugar plums (d’Agen plums)
1/3 cup water
juice of one large lemon
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Note: the peaches and sugar plums have to be very ripe to make sure the flavour is strong enough and the stones are easy to remove. Under-ripe fruit is no good for this recipe – the flavour isn’t intense enough and the flesh is too strongly connected to the stones. Also, if you can’t find any sugar plums or you want to use something else, use any combination of stone fruit of a total weight of 1.3kg (before stones removed) for this recipe.

1. Wash the peaches and sugar plums. Remove their skins by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 60 seconds then plunging them into iced water. The skins can be pulled off easily after that.

2. Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Cut each half into six pieces and place in a large saucepan. Remove the stones from the sugar plums. The easiest way to do this is just to tear the flesh away from the stones – if the fruit are ripe enough, the flesh should come away quite easily. Place the sugar plum flesh in the saucepan with the peach flesh.

3. Add the water and lemon juice to the saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for about 10 minutes to soften the peach pieces.

4. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for half an hour, then blend to a fine purée (using a stick blender or free-standing blender).

5. Stir the sugar and cinnamon into the fruit purée then put it back on the stove and bring to a boil, before reducing to a gentle simmer. Simmer like this for about an hour to an hour and a half to thicken the mixture to a consistency you’re happy with. To test the consistency, put a dinner plate in the freezer for 10 minutes, take it out and use a teaspoon to spoon a streak of the fruit butter onto the plate. Leave for 10 seconds then draw your finger through the fruit butter. If it’s thick enough, the line your finger made will stay defined.

6. Sterilise glass jars and their lids by putting them in a container of boiled water for 10 minutes. Remove them using tongs and, without touching them with your hands, pour or ladle the fruit butter into the jars, until the fruit butter is about 1cm from the top of the jar. Put the lid on, invert the jars and leave standing for half an hour. If the lids were button-pop lids, the button should get sucked down during this process. The fruit butter will keep for months unopened at room temperature, or for a few weeks in the fridge once opened.

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