This spiced plum jam with cocoa has the comforting flavour of plums upped with tones of cocoa and cloves. A delicious jam for the colder season – try it on toast on a cold winter morning or to fill a shortcrust case and make a tart! It works incredibly well even in a savoury context: serve it with cheese on your festive table and your guests will beg you to share the recipe.
The first time I made this recipe – when it first appeared on this blog – jars of this plum and clove jam were meant to be DIY Christmas gifts. Being on a tight budget, anything homemade was a win. I had been gifted a batch of plums that tasted disappointingly very little, so I thought I’d experiment a little bit with flavours.
The inspiration actually came from Poland – if you’ve been reading this blog for some time, this may not sound too novel. Cocoa plum tart was something I had tasted in Krakow that year, so the addition of cocoa powder to my plum jam just sounded very natural. I just needed something to somehow link my jam to Christmas so this is how cloves came on board, too. I decided to get creative and use whole cloves.
How to simmer whole spices in a jam
In order to extract the flavour of the cloves, you need to simmer them for some time in your jam. Next you need to remove every single one of them – nobody likes to bite on those fragrant shards. This means cool the jam completely and extract each and every single clove by hand. It’s what I did the first time I tested this recipe and I can assure it was not a pleasant job. But the jam had turned out delicious (despite the first batch of plums being so bland) so I needed to get creative.
So in order to avoid cooling the jam to rummage through it with your hand – not ideal if you want to place it in sterilized jars afterwards – here’s the trick: use a teabag! Disposable teabags do just that job: while their content infuses the liquid it’s simmering in, the teabag holds it together preventing it from dispersing. To infuse jam with whole cloves you place them in a teabag and simmer it as the jam cooks.
You might be thinking: hey but why not use powdered cloves? Yeah, that is an option. But I had whole cloves I had brought back from Zanzibar and I wanted to use those. However, if you don’t have whole cloves and would rather stick with powdered, you can sub 1 tbsp whole cloves (the quantity in this recipe) with 1/2 tbsp powdered. Here you can read more about whole vs ground cloves.
As always, for quantities please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post. The recipe is set on metrics but you can click to convert to US customary if you wish.
Step by step instructions
- Halve and pit the plums. Peel, core and dice the apple. Add fruits to a large pot with a thick bottom and set on medium-high heat.
- Add the sugar and stir to distribute. As the plums heat up, they will get softer. Gently mash the plums with a wooden spoon, trying to extract their juice. Keep on medium-high heat for the first 15 minutes and stir often. The plums will keep releasing more juice, the sugar will melt and the texture will be quite liquid. Perfect to be adding our teabag!
- Place cloves inside an empty teabag, fasten tightly and place inside the pot. Stir in the cocoa. Lower the heat to low, close the pot with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes, just checking from time to time to ensure the jam is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. This rather long simmering time is necessary to extract the flavour from the cloves.
- Remove the lid and simmer 10 more minutes, just to reduce the jam slightly more. Stir often, as the jam will likely tend to stick at this point. Discard the teabag and blend if you want a smooth texture.
- Remove the jam from the heat and immediately pour into jars. Please notice that jam in sterilized jars can be stored at room temperature. If your jars are not sterilized I recommend to store the jam refrigerated.
Do you skin plums before making jam?
As you can see in the process shots above, I did not bother peeling the plums for my jam. But you may encounter plum jam recipes that call for this extra passage. Mostly, the skin of plums is discarded because it can be tough and chewy. But this plum jam with cocoa is not a quick one, we’re purposely simmering it a long time to extract the flavour of the cloves. This breaks down the plum skins to a decent extent. I prefer to blend my jam at the end for a totally smooth texture, but you may as well choose not to and the skins will not bother too much.
Did you like this plum jam recipe?
Then you may want to take a look at those other fruit recipes from my blog:
- Rhubarb and red currant syrup
- Spiced pear crisp
- Swedish blueberry pie
- Ginger lemon curd pie
- Baked peaches with amaretti
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment below. If you’re planning to make this jam at a later time (Christmas!?) you can pin it to Pinterest. Please subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Pinterest. Happy canning!
This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated in September 2021 with new pictures and better wording.
Plum jam with cocoa and cloves
- 1 Kg plums
- 400 g sugar
- 1 apple
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- Halve and seed the plums. Peel, core and dice the apple. Add fruits to a large pot with a thick bottom and set on medium-high heat.
- Add the sugar and stir to distribute. As the plums heat up, they will get softer. Gently mash the plums with a wooden spoon, trying to extract some juice. Keep on medium-high heat for the first 15 minutes and stir often, the plums will keep releasing more juice.
- Add the cloves to an empty teabag and place inside the pot. Stir in the cocoa. Lower the heat to low, close the pot with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes, just checking from time to time to ensure the jam is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the lid and simmer 10 more minutes, just to reduce the jam slightly more. Stir often, as the jam will likely tend to stick at this point. Discard the teabag and blend for a smooth texture.
- Remove the jam from the heat and immediately pour into jars. Store refrigerated if jars are not sterilized.