5 Ingredients or Fewer

Italian or French Plums in Brandied Coffee Syrup

August  7, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Unlike round plums and pluots, which are dramatically sweet and tart and juicy just eaten out of hand, prune plums are subtle. They are medium-sweet and mellow—their true greatness usually emerges in baked desserts, such as tarts, tortes, and cakes.

But they are also unexpectedly marvelous—with rich flavor and a velvety texture— simply poached in strong coffee with a little brandy. —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups strong coffee
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 3/4 to 2 pounds (800 to 900 grams) fresh prune plums (see headnote) halved and pitted to make 5 to 6 cups
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes, turning the plums gently, once or twice, until just tender.
  2. Taste and add sugar to balance the flavor if necessary.
  3. Serve hot, warm, or chilled. Plums keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jimmy Hoxie
    Jimmy Hoxie
  • Rachel
  • ghainskom
  • mela
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

4 Reviews

Rachel August 19, 2016
ghainskom August 22, 2015
I loved this at all temperatures but chilled was best. Nice.
Jimmy H. August 10, 2015
Sounds like this might be able to be canned. Do you think the acid from the coffee and the plums would be enough to keep it stable in jars? My Grandmother was always on the lookout for prune plums. Her mother made a plum kuchen for Rosh Hashanah. I still make grandma's Bun Kuchen every year. Prune plums are also great with a slow braised pork roast with lots of onion and rosemary. Can't wait to try this!
mela September 4, 2015
I've been researching the possibility of canning this, as it's delicious. The sources I've seen suggest coffee has a pH of about 5, variable depending on the coffee. Illy (reportedly) says espresso is 5.2. With plums and brandy added, who knows. But as you want a pH lower than 4.5 for canning (ref Eugenia Bone, Well Preserved) it seems a little chancy.