Chocolate Plum Jam

It is 108 degrees outside right now.

You know that feeling when you get into a hot car that’s been sitting in the sun? I feel like that, except there is no engine to start, no windows to roll down, and no air conditioning to turn on. I am just finding my zen place instead.  Existing inside of the hot car.

My brain feels funny.

The upside of all of this is that instead of doing any kind of work at all, I’m going to sit here on the computer and write a blog post instead, with what is potentially the most important jam recipe in the history of food preservation and the written word: Dark Chocolate Plum Jam.

But first, The Disclaimer: Chocolate is tricky in jam. Putting in too much will make the resulting sweet confection completely delicious but also completely not safe for water bath canning. I don’t know what amount is officially “too much” I’m not a food scientist, or any kind of scientist for that matter.  (This recipe has had several variations…*)

When it’s 108 outside, if you happen to be in a commercial kitchen, I recommend the following gel test: When you think the jam is ready, remove the pot from the heat.  Put a teaspoon full of jam on a plate. Go to the walk-in freezer. Stand in there holding the plate for two full minutes. You will feel amazing, and if you run your finger across the jam it wrinkles, you will know that it’s set.

Santa Rosa Plum Jam with Dark Chocolate

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Makes: I can’t remember. About 4 1/2 pint jars I think. It’s hot out though, and I wasn’t really planning to post this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 c. santa rosa plums, diced (or any plums, really)
  • 5 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. organic cocoa powder, sifted (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice

Bring boiling water canner to a boil.  Make sure jars and lids are cleaned and sterilized (I do this for everything, even if it’s a jam that has a long enough processing time that you don’t really have to sterilize your jars… it makes me feel safe, like a warm fuzzy blanket). 

In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and 1/2 c. sugar. Set aside. In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the plums, the remaining sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to a full rolling boil. Stir in the cocoa powder/sugar mixture. Cook until jam reaches 220 or so on a candy thermometer, or whatever your preferred gel test is if you’re not using a thermometer. (Technically, my jam only hit around 216 and still was completely set once it cooled). 

Pour hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4″ head space. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

I’ll have to add some pictures of the finished jam some other day as they seem to have escaped my camera.  Or you’ll have to just make it yourself and find out.

and just one more small thing . . .

While you’re at it, you can also slice plums and dip them in melted chocolate, set them on a cookie sheet on top of some wax paper, stick them in the fridge to harden, ending up with Chocolate-Covered Santa Rosa Plums, which are about a million times more delicious than chocolate covered strawberries. While they’re still warm you can also roll them in chopped hazelnuts if you like that kind of thing. Just so you know, while we’re on the subject of chocolatey plum ideas.

Oh, I just realized why plums are making me so happy today:

This is Just To Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in 

the icebox

and which 

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

- William Carlos Williams

(My brain has been associating plums with cold since I first read that poem in 11th grade).

* The first version of this recipe used low-sugar pectin and 100% cacao dark chocolate, but I’ve edited it to make a more consistent final product. Cocoa powder makes it easier not to burn the chocolate, and getting rid of the commercial pectin results in that lovely jammy texture that we all love.

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13 responses to “Chocolate Plum Jam

  1. I’ve made the Raspberry Chocolate Sundae Topping (it’s delicious) but you use POWDERED chocolate. No fears that way.

    • foodboozemusicDavid

      I am a pastry chef. My advice for incorporating the chocolate is for you to melt the chocolate separately over a bain marie (double boiler), then boil your fruits and sugar. Allow the fruit to come down in temperature to below 50F and then stir in the chocolate. If you cook chocolate above 50F it will burn.

      • thanks david! I edited the recipe a little bit… the method you described will treat the melted chocolate properly, but no longer be safe for canning (you can’t let the jam cool before you can it, unfortunately). so now the whole thing is a bit different :)

  2. I have made the chocolate raspberry one from Christine Farber. The only change I made was to use a darker chocolate than the recipe called for. I like really good dark chocolate. And if I will not eat it, I will not use it in cooking. Would you think using a dark chocolate cocoa powder make a difference?

    I have plums and I need to pick up some chocolate and more pectin tomorrow. I saved plums for this. Okay, I was tired and wanted to go to bed early last night. And I love you method of testing the gel, Sounds perfect.

  3. I’ve been using Godiva chocolate vodka to put chocolate flavor in my jam. Since there are plenty of recipes with alcohol when I found this in the liquor outlet I jumped for joy. Works out perfectly and less worry on my end.

    The chocolate strawberry jam is sinfully delicious.

  4. Made me think, Christine Ferber doesn’t can her jam and it is the anaerobic state of canned goods that can encourage botulism to develop (if that is what is most feared to make preserves ‘safe’).
    My neighbours brought me some chocolate pear jam back from France. It was the well known Bonne Maman brand and the chocolate was in tiny nuggets suspended throughout the jam. I love that idea but can’t think how you could achieve a similar result. Still, keep trying in the name of research!

  5. jackie, i made chocolate cherry jam with organic cocoa powder yesterday and I loved how it turned out, so i may do that in the future. the dark chocolate in this recipe is delicious, though, and within reasonable limits (only 2 oz. of chocolate, and I was looking at recipes that used much more than that).
    knit-i think cocoa powder will be delicious! and i agree about quality- it’s the same with wine. if it’s gross wine to drink, i don’t want to cook with it either.
    angela- godiva is a great idea too! basically chocolate anything, really :)
    gloria- honestly, christine ferber has never really been my idol so I’m not all that familiar with her recipes or methods… I bet that pear-chocolate jam had chocolate pieces stirred in after the jam was already finished (dunno how to make it safe, though…) This recipe is a safe one, but I will definitely be researching just how much chocolate I can put in a jar safely… which sounds like a fun project to me!

  6. Love this post! I made the chocolate-raspberry sauce from the Ball book this summer and it was amazing. I used blackberries instead of the raspberries. Keep us posted on your chocolate findings. That would be a great research project ;)

  7. Thanks for the fantastic idea! I did a first go around on this recipe tonight and the flavor is excellent. Rich and plummy with a hint of chocolate depth.
    The consistency, however, left something to be desired. I think I overdid it on the pectin with the result that the jam has a slightly gummy, granulated consistency. The recipe called for one packet of pectin but it seems possible that not all packets of pectin were created equally? Thoughts?

    • Abra- you know, i swear that’s the problem with pectin. Inconsistency, I mean. I think I’ll rewrite the recipe with no pectin at all and dark cocoa powder instead of chocolate. (I’m working on a fruit/chocolate jam formula that works with everything!) Check back again soon and hopefully I’ll have one figured out that will just gel on its own.
      thanks for checking back in!

  8. Hi all, I’ve edited this recipe! Thanks for your input about different chocolates and abra- you inspired me to ditch the pectin altogether.
    The original dark chocolate tasted great, but I think the cocoa powder will probably be more consistent with less risk for burning.

  9. Pingback: Top 10 Posts from 2011 | grow it cook it can it

  10. Pingback: Gratitude & Improved Chocolate Plum Jam | grow it cook it can it

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