A Christmas jam recipe: plum and clove jam with 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, it’s always difficult to find perfectly ripe fruits all the time. 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. The plum and clove jam we made turned out delicious. 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 that she spends some time here around my birthday to help me cook for the occasion), we made plum and clove jam again. We had just spent a few days in Krakow together, where she got to eat a tart filled with plum cocoa jam.

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

Inspired by the jam success from the previous year, we made it again. The jam we had made the previous year, in fact, had been an experiment. Neither of us wrote down the quantities of the ingredients we used. This is why the plum and clove recipe never hit the blog before. So on our second attempt we carefully wrote down the recipe to this fantastic homemade plum jam, jarred it in lovely jars and took the time to photograph it.

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

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 colour. The cloves are added whole, simmered together with the fruits, and then manually removed from the jam. This requires a bit of work, but I liked the idea of using whole cloves. You could use ground cloves, but then the quantities would obviously be different.

plum clove jam with cocoa plum clove jam with cocoa

Preserved in cute jars, this plum and cloves jam is a perfect Christmas gift. It’s always nice to give something that is homemade. The spicy flavours make this plum jam a great addition to your Christmas dinner. It can work great as pie filling, as well as complement to a cheese tray. I can see how this plum and clove jam could pair wonderfully with a Brie-like type of cheese.



Plum and clove jam

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


  • 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. Carefully remove all the cloves, then 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.

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plum and clove jam with cocoa powder

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