In one single question, we can self-select into unspoken groups. Would you order the chocolate dessert or fruit dessert? This over-simplifies things, sure, but it also underscores the idea that for some of us we’ve never been fruit-forward dessert eaters. Then, you have the folks who all they want for dessert is an actual piece of fruit. Or, the additions of clarifiers like paleo, gluten-free, low-carb, refined sugar-free, vegan. Some might see pitfalls in pulling together a dinner party now with all of the various eating styles, but I see opportunity.
We’re getting away from the point though, aren’t we? I never understood the allure of plums. The number one food poem (which could be contested) reads like an apology that actually tries to convince the reader that the theft couldn’t be circumvented. Stealing cold plums out of the icebox never struck me as the fodder of food poems, but I think I finally get it.
My obsession with Dapple Dandy plums (or pluots, I suppose, technically) started from a purely linguistic appreciation. Dapple evokes, in my mind at least, a grey mare with white freckles, or the kind of light and shadow-play of late afternoon sun, where tree limbs cast their impression on the ground in greys, blacks and whites. A dandy will always be the best dressed person in the room. And the combination of these two words (not to mention whatever inspired the creator of the name to conceive of the two of them together) prompted me to pluck a few Dapple Dandy pluots earlier this summer from a pile at the farmer’s market. One slice and I was smitten. Inside, their painterly flesh shimmers as if with an otherworldly light from the center out. Their color might be the envy of lipstick-makers. One taste of sweet-sour pucker, and sold.
Making dapple dandy jam might be the ultimate theft. You’re trying to steal time from the skin that’s a little too taut, one nudge tipping it toward juice. So, instead we cook down the fruit with warming spices of cardamom and piquant ginger- minced fresh for just the right bite. You’ve still got time for this jam this year. Your toast, yogurt bowl (chia pudding / chicken / pork / chocolate cake…) will be the better for it.
Dapple Dandy Hibiscus Jam
- 2 cups diced Dapple Dandy pluots, pitted (about 1 pound)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons finely shredded dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Stir all ingredients with a wooden spoon together in a large skillet until combined set over medium heat.
Stir occasionally. Cook for 15 minutes—during those last 5 minutes, stir constantly to monitor the setting of the jam. You should be able to swipe the spoon through the jam and leave a clear path for a few seconds (or dip the spoon in the jam and it should ever so slowly creep across the surface) as it thickens up.
Cool to room temperature before spooning into a jar, sealing and chilling it.
Look for culinary grade hibiscus in a Latin market or good spice shop like Oaktown Spice Shop. If using whole flowers, kitchen shears are the easiest way to snip them to smithereens.