Plums in Sloe Gin — Where Summer Meets Autumn

My favour­ite place to walk is on the Dor­set coast, from the ruined vil­lage of Tyne­ham, through woods car­peted with wild gar­lic in the spring, down to the pebbly beach. The aban­doned cot­tages, empty since the gov­ern­ment com­mand­eered them in 1943, are still stand­ing, but only just. 

Walk­ing there yes­ter­day with the sun shin­ing and the sea a pier­cing blue, it felt like the height of sum­mer. But then I passed bushes clustered with huge, ripe, purple sloes, the fruit of autumn. It’s the time of year when sum­mer seeps away almost imper­cept­ibly. Plums may still be ripen­ing in the sun, but the nour­ish­ing recipes of autumn are start­ing to entice. 

The plum tree I planted last year and which pro­duced pre­cisely eight plums, has been show­ing off like a pre­co­cious baller­ina this year. But as all show-offs dis­cover, they get their come-uppance in the end. Sev­eral of the wildly over­laden branches have snapped beneath the weight of the fruit, leav­ing behind a tree trunk and not much else.

Inspired by the beau­ti­ful purple sloes by the sea, I cooked my sum­mer plums in the autum­nal sloe gin that I made last year. It’s two sea­sons on a plate at once.

Plums Baked in Sloe Gin

Serves 4

800g plums, stones removed

100g vanilla sugar

100ml sloe gin — if you can’t find wild sloes in the hedgerow to make your own gin, it’s pos­sible to buy sloe gin online

Com­bine the fruit, sugar and sloe gin in an oven­proof dish. Cover with foil and bake at 180 degrees C for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 

I ate baked plums for break­fast with nat­ural yoghurt and more for lunch on their own. I’ll prob­ably eat them for sup­per too. 

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15 thoughts on “Plums in Sloe Gin — Where Summer Meets Autumn

  1. What a won­der­ful com­bin­a­tion. I only have a few pre­cious drops of sloe gin left, so I will have to wait until next year to try this. I won­der what could be stewed in my black­feet liqueur, which I am about to decant?

  2. I think it would be hard to take a bad shot of that par­tic­u­lar beach, Jakey. It’s beau­ti­ful, whatever the weather.

  3. Sloes, I adore sloes, all hedgerows are full of sloes, but they need tem­per­at­ures below zero.

    Great pic­tures!

  4. Thanks ostwest­wind — it’s always said that sloes need a first frost before they’re picked, but I’ve never tested the the­ory out. Have you?

  5. I was walk­ing near Durdle Door only the other day in bril­liant sun­shine — it looked like Greece not Dor­set. The sloes are too tempt­ing this year and it’s one of the things that makes me rue my return to Dubai. I’ll have to keep vis­it­ing this post for a fix of Autumn when I’m back in the heat.

  6. Hi Sally I’m glad to be a source of vir­tual Autimn for you! Per­haps sim­u­lated autum­nal weather is the best kind.

  7. Dor­set is my favour­ite county of all, it looks fab­ulous in your pho­tos. I am jeal­ous of your plum tree, I hope it recov­ers well and pro­duces next year too

  8. The tree looks shock­ing at the moment — if a tree can be dragged through a hedge back­wards, that’s what it looks like. I com­pletely agree with you about Dor­set by the way.

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