Black Plum Soup (with Cheese Balls)

Black Plum Soup in Bowl

I love plums so was excited to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Black Plum Soup. I was slightly less excited after I read the recipe and realized that it called for putting cheese balls into the soup before serving (which sounded very strange to me), But, nevertheless, I decided to give the recipe a try.

The Black Plum Soup is served hot. It tasted like plums with a hint of cinnamon though was quite tart. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually really liked the cheese balls in the soup. The cheese balls added some texture to the otherwise clear soup – and sharpness of the cheese was a nice contrast to the tartness of the soup.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Black Plum Soup
Source: American Cookery (June/July, 1922)

This recipe makes a lot of soup, so I divided it in half when I updated it.  The smaller amount I made still makes enough soup to for about 6 cups of soup or three bowls.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Black Plum Soup with Cheese Balls

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 dozen (12)  black plums

3 cups water or chicken broth (I used water.)

grated rind of 1/2 lemon

small piece of stick cinnamon (about 1 1/2 inches long – or longer if a very thin stick)

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

juice from 1/2 lemon

Remove pits from plums and quarter. Put in a Dutch oven or large saucepan; add water or chicken broth, stick of cinnamon, sugar, salt, and white pepper. Put on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.  Remove from heat and strain. (Discard the plum pulp.) Add the lemon juice to the plum soup. Reheat then serve. Add cheese balls (see recipe below) right before serving.

Cheese Balls

1/2 cup grated hard cheese (I used cheddar cheese)

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1/2 egg, beaten

1/2 cup fine plain breadcrumbs

shortening or cooking oil

Put grated hard cheese, parmesen cheese, salt, cayenne pepper, and beaten egg in a bowl, then mix to combine all ingredients. Shape the mixture into small balls, each about 1/2 – 3/4 inch in diameter. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs. Put about 1/2 inch of shortening or cooking oil in a skillet, then heat until hot using medium heat. Place the cheese balls in the hot fat or oil, and fry until the bread crumbs are lightly browned (about 20-30 seconds). Using a fork roll the balls to fry on the other side.  Remove from skillet using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Hundred-Year-Old Plum Conserve Recipe

Plums are coming into season, and are relatively inexpensive at the store, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Plum Conserve. Conserves are a type of jam or marmalade that often includes citrus fruit, raisins, and nuts.

In addition to plums, this Plum Conserve contains a peach, an orange (including the peel), raisins, and pecans. It has a beautiful purple hue and is delightful on scones, baguettes, and other breads. It is also lovely with cheese (think brie and crackers).

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine, October, 1915)
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine, October, 1915)

This recipe makes a lot of conserve. When I made the recipe, I halved it and I still got about 8 half-pints of Plum Conserve.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Plum Conserve

  • Servings: approximately 8 half-pints
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 quarts tart purple plums (about 2 pounds) – Plums that are not quite ripe work well in this recipe.

1 peach

1 orange

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Remove stones from plums and coarsely chop. Remove skin and stone from peach (I dipped the peach in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then slipped the skin off.); coarsely chop. Remove peel (and any excess white pith) from orange, and coarsely chop. Finely chop the orange peel.

Place the chopped plums, peach, orange, orange peel, and raisins in a dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the sugar and pecans.

Continue to boil gently for 30-40 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of jam. Stir frequently — especially towards the end of the cooking time.

A good way to tell if the mixture is the right consistency is to lay the spoon that is used for stirring on a plate. Allow the liquid clinging to the spoon to cool for a few seconds, and see if it has a jam-like consistency.

Pour mixture into hot one-half pint jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe jar rim and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.