Cook with plums this autumn - read our top three recipes.

There are more plums than ever this year with the bumper fruit harvest.

Our kitchen garden cook Melanie says “It’s at this time of year that my focus moves into the little orchard beside the kitchen garden. I’ve been impatiently checking the fruit each day to see how everything is coming along, as I want to pick it at its peak. At last, the plums are perfect and the pears not too far behind”

Country Life says: ‘Confucius wrote about ‘ripe plums falling from the bough’ in about 500BC, but there is dispute as to the European plum’s history. Prunus domestica may have originated in the Caucasus Mountains near the Caspian Sea and then been taken to Rome in about 200BC, spreading through Europe from there. However, another view is that the Duke of Anjou returned home from Jerusalem with plums at the end of the Fifth Crusade in the early 13th century. Either way, they were here by the 14th century for Chaucer to write about, but it wasn’t until the Victorians grew the ubiquitous Victoria plum that their popularity peaked.’

Vanilla-roasted plums with dulce de leche parfait and amaretti biscuits

Ingredients
4 plums, halved and
stoned
1tspn vanilla-bean paste
30g light-brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange
300ml double cream
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, just the whites
200g tinned dulce de leche
200g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
2 eggs, whites only
15ml amaretto liquor
Butter, for greasing

Method
For the parfait, whip 300ml double cream to soft peaks and then add 100g caster sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk two egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold the whipped cream through them. Add 200g dulce de leche and fold it gently through the mixture so
it becomes a ripple before it pouring into a clingfilm-lined loaf tin. Freeze for 12 hours.

Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Halve and stone four plums and place them in a roasting tin before drizzling a teaspoon of vanilla-bean paste over them, then two tablespoons of sugar and the juice of an orange. Roast for about 25–30 minutes or until tender but not collapsed.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold the ground almonds and caster sugar through them. Add the amaretto and then spoon the mixture, in small balls, onto a well-greased baking sheet. Bake alongside the plums for 15 minutes.

Take the roasted plums and biscuits out of the oven. Turn the parfait out onto a board and cut it into thick slices. Place a slice of parfait in the centre of each plate, arrange the roasted plums beside it and top with a couple of biscuits.

More ways with plums

Chicken breasts with soy-roasted plums and egg noodles  

Serves 4
Take 4 part-boned, skin-on chicken breasts, 2 red onions cut into wedges and 4 plums, halved and stoned. Place them all in a roasting dish and scatter over them 2tbspn grated ginger, 3tbspn soy sauce, 3 garlic cloves crushed, a generous splash of olive oil, 2tbspn sesame seeds and sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Place in a moderate oven for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with egg noodles.

Plum chutney recipe

Place the following in a large saucepan: 1kg quartered and stoned plums, 3 red onions in eighths, 3 star anises, a tablespoon each of sugar, chilli, ginger and cinnamon, 750ml red-wine vinegar, 500g soft brown sugar. Boil for 45 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan every so often so it doesn’t burn. Pour into sterilised jars.

First published in Country Life magazine on September 3 2014