Pflaumenmuß / Spiced plum jam
I always import Pflaumenmuß when I go back to Germany (my brand of choice is the gorgeous “Original Aachener Pflümli” in their purple and white pots). When I walked down Portobello road market yesterday, I spotted crates full of gorgeously ripe purple plums so I decided to give this Pflaumenmuß business a shot. And oh my, this recipe is spot on. No more shop-bought stuff, this is the real deal!
This recipe is based on my hero Luisa Weiss’ recipe from “My Berlin Kitchen”, my all-time favourite foodie novel, which includes some of my favourite German recipes. If you haven’t heard of her yet, check out her blog www.thewednesdaychef.com immediately!
The traditional recipe - Pflaumenmuß
Pit and quarter the plums and place them in a ovenproof heavy-based pot. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick and whole cloves. Stir well, cover with a lid and let it sit overnight or for 8 hours. This will macerate the plums and draw out the lovely plum juices.
The next day, pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Give the juicy mixture a good stir, then place the pot in the oven without a lid. Cook the mixture for about 2 hours, giving it a stir every half hour or so. If you don’t, some of the plums on to might catch and give you a slightly smoky-tasting Pflaumenmuß.
While the mixture is cooking down in the oven, sterilize some jam jars and lids by either washing them in hot water or simply washing them in the dishwasher and letting them air dry, making sure not to touch the insides after washing.
After 2 hours, check the mixture in the oven. If the plums have broken down and all the liquid has reduced to a thick jammy consistency, it's done. Take the pot out out of the oven and fish out the cinnamon stick and cloves and discard them.
You now have two options:
- If you prefer the classic Pflaumenmuß, then purée the mixture with a handheld blender until you have a lovely mousse consistency.
- If you prefer a Pflaumenmarmelade with some chunks of fruit, then don’t purée it. Either way, it’s absolutely lovely.
When I decided to start this blog and introduce my favourite German recipes, I knew this Hessian national dish had to be the first one. Of all the amazing German dishes, "Grüne Soße" definitely is in my personal top three.
I was born and raised in the German region of Hessen, on the Rhine river in Wiesbaden. The next big city is Frankfurt, where this lovely dish originates. This dish is made from seven very specific herbs, which are grown regionally and sold proudly in pre-packed white paper parcels at every greengrocer and farmers market in the land. These parcels conveniently contain an even mixture of the seven "Grüne Soße" herbs with three different recipe variations printed on the parcel. But as with any good national dish, every family, every grandmother and every restaurant in Hessen claims to have the very best recipe for “Frankfotter Grie Soß” (Hessian accent). After many trial and errors, I have established this recipe as my most failsafe. I hope you will love it as much as I do.
The traditional recipe - Frankfurter Grüne Soße
Finely chop the rest of the fresh herbs and stir in with the herb mixture (save a teaspoon of chopped herbs for presentation) and the rest of the sour cream; make sure to do this in a bowl and not in the food processor as the mixture might get too warm and liquid.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and the caster sugar; the sugar should enhance the fresh flavour of the herbs.
Peel the boiled eggs and chop two of them roughly, then stir into the mixture. At this point, some people like to add finely chopped gherkins or mayonaise to taste, but I'm a purist when it comes to "Grüne Soße."
Spoon the "Grüne Soße" onto four small or two large plates. Peel and halve the remaining four eggs and place them cut side up on the "Grüne Soße". Sprinkle over the remaining chopped herbs.
This dish is traditionally served with boiled potatoes but its lovely with a chunk of crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
The variation - Grüne Soße Tortellini
First make the pasta dough by placing the pasta flour in a food processor bowl and mixing together the eggs and olive oil in a small jug. Switch the machine on and add the egg mixture in a steady stream. The ingredients come together as the flour absorbs the eggs and oil; stop when you have a couscous-like texture. Switch off and feel the mixture with your fingers, it should come together into a dough easily, feeling firm and a little tacky and not too sticky. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a dough with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm and set aside for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
Mix together the chopped herbs, egg yolk, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and lemon zest in a bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper; perhaps add more Parmesan or lemon zest to taste.
To assemble the tortellini, roll out the pasta dough with a pasta machine or by hand as thin as possible. Place the rolled out pasta on a lightly floured surface and stamp out circles using a 6cm diameter cutter (or simply a wine glass). Brush lightly with water.
Place a teaspoonful of the filling in the middle of each circle, pick them up, fold over and lightly press together the edges, firming around each mound and making sure all the air is excluded. Now gently bring together the two edges of the half-moon and press them firmly together. Place the tortellini on a floured surface while you finish the rest of them.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and add the tortellini, making sure they don’t stick together at the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan and add the sage leaves. Fry gently until aromatic but not browned.
When they are cooked, gently lift out the tortelloni out onto a warmed serving dish, then spoon over the hot sage butter. Grate over some fresh parmesan and some fresh pepper, then serve immediately.