A Christmas jam recipe: plum and clove jam with cocoa

Cold and dark afternoons call for some fruit preserving, plus isn’t it wonderful to have a spiced jam out on your Christmas table? If you’re looking for new flavours, you should try this plum and clove jam. Plums have a rich taste, that gets enhanced with cocoa powder and cloves, which are just great around Christmas. Share it with your loved ones during Christmas lunch, or jar it and give it to friends as present. Who doesn’t love a thrifty DIY Christmas gift, especially when it’s made with love?

A thrifty DIY Christmas gift imade with love: spiced plum and clove jam with cocoa powder.

Plums and cloves, plus cocoa!

Last year when my friend Ele visited me, she brought along 1 Kg of plums as she was afraid they’d go bad while she was away. Those poor plums had very little taste, they had definitely been harvested at the wrong time for them. I suggested we could make plum jam out of them. Loading them with sugar would certainly help. To enhance the flavour we added some cloves and cocoa powder. Cocoa? Yup. We had just spent a few days in Krakow together, where she got to eat a tart filled with plum cocoa jam. Boom! We were instantly inspired.

Plum and clove jam, it is, with cocoa powder. Neeeeeat! Cocoa adds a lovely depth to the flavour of the plums, and the cloves come as an aftertaste. A fantastic spiced plum jam. When this year she visited again (it has become a tradition, plus she helps me with photo shoots. It is her hand you see featured in my mushroom crostini recipe), we made plum and clove jam again. With cocoa, ça va sans dire.

Here’s where to have great tarts and cappuccino in Krakow.

plum clove jam with cocoaplum clove jam with cocoaplum clove jam with cocoaplum clove jam with cocoa

DYI Christmas gift: a spiced jam

If you’re looking for a fruit preserve to make this upcoming holiday season, I’d say that my recipe is a perfect Christmas plum jam. Cloves are such a classic at this time of the year. While plum and cocoa are two flavours that have traditionally been paired together, the addition of cloves makes this jam a little more unique and special. What I personally find amazing is that the cloves hit you after you have detected the flavours of the plums and the cocoa. While you’d expect the pungent smell of the cloves to hit you first, it actually comes last.

This jam is in fact a plum and apple jam, as you add an apple to supply the pectin. Other than that, it’s just the sugar and spices (is cocoa a spice? Well, whatever, you know what I mean…). No pectin is added to the jam. Besides from giving flavour, the cocoa powder also gives this jam a lovely brown hue. The cloves are added whole, simmered together with the fruits, and then removed from the jam. Ground cloves would also do the job, just make sure they’re finely ground (powdered) to avoid woody bits on the bite here and there.

plum clove jam with cocoa

How to simmer whole spices in a spiced jam

In order to extract the flavour of the cloves, you want to simmer them for some time in your jam. If using whole cloves, that means that you would then have to let the jam cool and extract each and every single clove by hand. Doable, but such a big job. I vouch for that, because I’ve done it myself. Until I learned another way that can simplify your life SO. MUCH.

You might be thinking: hey but why not use powdered cloves? Yeah, that is an option. But I had very high quality whole cloves I wanted to use in this recipe. So here’s the trick: whenever you’re adding whole spices to a jam, just place them all in an empty teabag. Simmer your jam with the spice-filled teabag in, and discard once your final product is ready. The flavour will stay, and taking away all the debris from the spices will be as easy as pie. Empty teabags meant to be used with loose-leaf tea are commercially available, so just get one of those. It’s really worth the pain of plucking out every single clove.

Read more: In the mood for other hot spiced preparations? Try my mulled wine!


plum and clove jam with cocoa powder

Plum and clove jam

A flavourful plum jam with cloves and cocoa. Perfect for this time of the year, both to share on your Christmas table and to give away in cute little jars as present.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 3 jars
Author Eva


  • 1 Kg plums
  • 400 g sugar
  • 1 apple
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves


  1. Halve and seed the plums. Peel and core the apple, dice it and add it to the plums. Add fruits to a large pot with a thick bottom and set on medium-high heat.

  2. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and cloves and stir to evenly distribute the sugar. Keep on medium-high heat for the first 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

  3. After the first 15 minutes, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 45 minutes, just checking occasionally to make sure the jam is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  4. After the first hour on the heat, remove the lid and let simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes. Stir from time to time, as during this stage the jam will reduce and it may stick to the bottom of the pot more easily.

  5. When the jam has reached a nice thick texture, after cooking for about 1,5 hours, remove from the heat. Remove all the cloves and blend the jam for a smoother even texture. Jar immediately, or let cool to use as a spread. The flavour of the cloves is much more intense when the jam is hot, and will diminish as it cools.

Recipe Notes

Place cloves in a teabag and simmer in the jam bagged. This way it will be much easier to remove the cloves than plucking them out one by one.

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  1. Gloria December 11, 2018 at 02:46

    5 stars
    Talk about Christmas flavours. WOW, this sounds amazing. What a great “food gift” to take to the holiday parties, or to give to all the teachers on your gift list. I know I would love to receive this for sure.

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 11:06

      I like your suggestion to give this to teachers. As a teacher I loved to receive homemade gifts from my students and their families, it always feels so nice to know they’ve dedicated some of their time to make something for you.

  2. Elaine December 11, 2018 at 17:06

    5 stars
    This looks and sounds so scrumptious!! Love the flavor combinations and I bet it would make awesome gifts on the holidays!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 11:05

      When jarred in nice jars it really works great as a Christmas present!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 11:03

      I love the hostess gift idea! Small light jars filled with this would be perfect!

  3. Anne Lawton December 14, 2018 at 18:49

    5 stars
    Wow! this looks so good. And the flavors are just perfect for this time of the year.

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 11:01

      Thank you 🙂 There’s nothing better than the house smelling like Christmas spices!

  4. Farwin | Love & other Spices December 15, 2018 at 00:43

    5 stars
    Such an interesting combination! Plums are tart and I’m curious as to how they pair up with cocoa. It seems like a success.

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 11:01

      It’s a really nice combination, you should try it!

  5. Kiki Johnson December 15, 2018 at 17:06

    5 stars
    Eva, this jam looks divine! I would love a jar for filling my Linzer Cookies! I am sure this jam would take them to a whole new level of festivity with all those Christmas spices!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 11:00

      Ooh yes! Linzer cookies with this jam sounds like a fantastic idea!!!

  6. Amanda Mason December 16, 2018 at 18:54

    5 stars
    I’m loving these simple ingredients!! Perfect for homemade biscuits on Christmas morning!!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 10:59

      Oh yes, it would be delicious on biscuits, with a cup of hot tea!

  7. lauren December 16, 2018 at 22:43

    5 stars
    Clove is such a wonderful warming spice for this time of year. This would be such a perfect way to start the day by spreading on a piece of toast.

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 10:58

      It’s such a perfect item for your Christmas breakfast! Don’t forget salted butter on the toast, it will make the whole flavour of the jam stand out even more!

  8. Leslie December 17, 2018 at 00:18

    I have the worst habit of doing the same thing (making something and not writing down exactly what I did) – so many lost recipes in my history! Adding this to my list of recipes that I’d like to try, because I just love fresh jam so much!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 10:57

      High five sister! I just hate it when I perfectly nail a recipe but felt too lazy to keep track of quantities during the process!!

  9. Amy December 17, 2018 at 02:44

    5 stars
    This jam sounds wonderful! What a great addition to the holiday table with a basket of rolls! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 10:56

      Don’t forget a thin layer of salted butter between the bread and the jam! This will elevate this jam to the next level!

  10. Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life December 17, 2018 at 04:55

    This is such a delicious sounding jam! I’ve made plum jams before but have never thought to include cloves. I bet it tastes wonderful!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 10:56

      Cloves really give this jam that extra flavour, I really think you should try to include them next time.

  11. Charity December 17, 2018 at 06:40

    I would certainly love to receive this jam as a gift! THe combination of plum, clove and fig sounds so exotic and delicious!

    1. Eva December 19, 2018 at 10:55

      Fig is actually a very good suggestion! I bet it would work very well too!


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