A Plum Dessert, Naughty not Haughty.

The plums are ready. They are the highlight of summer. My mother likes to remind me every January about the amount of plums she ate during her ‘lying in’ period after my birth¹. Her hospital room window faced a heavily laden plum-tree: she ate stewed plums for 10 days. Perhaps that accounts for my passion for plums- it came through the milk!

Labne, baked plums, seeds and nuts

I have also been pondering the words plum and plummy in English phrases such as “Speaking with a plum in your mouth” or “He has a plummy accent” and “She has a plum job”. Most Australians would consider a ‘plummy’ accent to be a mark of haughtiness, the term used with disdain in a country relatively free of rigid class distinction. However, if you want to practise speaking with such an accent, pop a small plum in your mouth which will force you to make drawn out “o” noises, with a rather slow and deliberate vocalisation. Another site advises “putting a pen in the mouth, horizontally, forcing you to enunciate your words more and to talk more slowly, giving your words an extra second or two to fully come out of your mouth. Pausing also works, because pausing allows the person you’re speaking to digest all the words you’ve just said.” The assumption here might be that the speaker feels herself to be terribly important and the recipient rather slow and definitely inferior. There you go; proof that those who seek to speak in such a way have soft, plum filled brains. It would be advised, at least in Australia, to lose such an accent very quickly if you don’t wish to be considered imperious, affected and in-bred.

Plummy Dessert

But then who wouldn’t want a plum job? The notion of easy work, perhaps ‘soft’ like a plum, came about to distinguish well paid positions involving little work compared to those involved with physical labour. The term is still used today to denote highly paid work. In the 1600s, ‘plum’ was a British term meaning £1000, a serious amount of money in those days.

It looks like plums have a lot to answer for.

A Plum Dessert, an original recipe influenced by something I may have either read or eaten. Please play with it. The ingredients are few and flexible but the result is delicious.

  • Fresh Blood plums or Satsuma plums
  • Brown sugar
  • Yoghurt
  • Nuts and seeds. I used almond flakes, pepitas, sunflower seeds and pistachio

Get a tub of yoghurt and make plain Labne. It is a simple process which will take one day. Cut the blood plums in half and remove the stone. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with a little brown sugar over the each of the cut plums. Bake in an oven at 180ºC until soft, until it oozes with red juice. Pop the nuts and seeds onto another paper lined baking tray, sprinkle with a tiny amount of brown sugar, and bake for a few minutes the oven. Watch like a hawk. Mine went a bit too brown but I still enjoyed them. If you are sugar phobic, don’t add any, though the juices won’t run so lusciously.

Dollop a generous scoop of Labne onto a serving plate, cover with plums and juice, and sprinkle with the nut mixture. Eat for breakfast, lunch or tea or anytime in between.

plummy breakfast
Plummy Breakfast

¹A 1932 publication refers to lying-in as ranging from 2 weeks to 2 months. It also does not suggest “Getting Up” (getting out of bed post-birth) for at least nine days and ideally for 20 days. In my mother’s time, ( throughout the 1950s) it was 10 days before ‘getting up’ after giving birth.

My, how things have changed.


42 thoughts on “A Plum Dessert, Naughty not Haughty.”

  1. Yummo …sounds delicious …will do the same with my Nectarines… i remember when I came home in 1987 after spending a year in and out of London….according to all I had a definite “plumb” in my mouth when I spoke …they all thought I’d become a snob lol….just a little English accent …I’d quite liked it !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A little English accent – an RP accent- does sound quite nice, unlike the affected Plummy version. Must have been a wonderful experience staying in London for a year.


    1. My Japanese plums are still ripening, one at a time, and demolished down in the orchard, juice slurping down my chin…. the blood plums are nearly over- must purchase a few extra to stash in the freezer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh how I love plums. I’ve just pruchased my second haul with a few pluots, Queen Garnets and some early Teagan Blues. Delicious! Can’t wait to start cooking, once I’ve had my 10 day fill of lying-in and gorging on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love loan! I had a vision of you researching ‘plum’ concepts and thought you probably had a few good comments and laughs as you were doing so, especially when practicing the speech. I was really entertained reading this, thanks. Sadly no plums growing on trees here, only the ones in shorts. I haven’t had a lot to do with plums but my favourites are ‘blood plums’. My how things have changed, thank goodness. Emma was released 2 nights after delivery and she has already made a trip to Southland when Charlie was 11 days old. Much better woman than I!


    1. I have to confess, I stuck a plum, a small one from the tree, in my mouth and started talking- I can tell you it worked. I sounded like the queen. The pencil trick was much harder and I suggest not trying this after a couple of wines. Imagine heading off to the local emergency hospital, trying to explain why you choked on a pencil.
      I feel a bit vampiric when I eat blood plums.
      Yep, shove them out after one night- that’s the new way. I bet Emma was looking for some unpregnant clothes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love roast plums and usually add a tiny spoon of vanilla to the sugar. Interesting discourse on the use of “plum” and “plummy” in idioms. Just the other day, Oxford dictionary blog came out with a discussion of the use of “pie” and “cake” in idioms that might interest you – http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2016/01/pie-and-cake-idioms/?utm_source=newsletter-jan3&utm_medium=email&utm_content=pieandcakeidioms-blogpost&utm_campaign=od-newsletter

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very sexy looking dessert indeed…plums make such good puddings. Oddly, the word “plum” in English vernacular refers to someone being a complete tosser ” He’s a total plum”….must be the influence of OZ stretching across the oceans:)


  6. You’ve reminded me of a wonderful childhood memory… sitting in the plum tree in my grandparents’ orchard and eating sun-warm plums until I couldn’t reach any more. Now, I’ll be on the lookout for plums for baking & breakfast.


  7. I’m with you, Francesca, and anxiously await plum season. Once they arrive, I’ve been known to go to the farmers market just for a bag of plums. Your dessert sure looks good. I think I’ll have to start buying 2 bags of plums. That’s the only way to insure that there will be enough to make this. There is a one day wait for the Labne after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate to that John, one bag for me and one for the dessert. I just bought some white bandanas for draining yoghurt to make the labne as the muslin was too fine. The things we do in the name of feasting.


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