Damson Jelly

This recipe and the rice pudding are by my head baker and pastry chef, Justin Piers Gellatly. It never fails to amaze me how pastry chefs take a fruit, in this case the damson (but you could use the deepest purple plums if damsons are not available), and before you know it, you have got this magical wobble: incredible fruity alchemy. Serve with whipped cream and madeleines.

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 2 days chilling and 6 hours setting
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 35 minutes, plus 2 days chilling and 6 hours setting 35 minutes

Makes: 600 ml


  • 500g damsons or purple plums
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 7 small gelatine leaves


  1. Put the damsons in a heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar and 200ml water; bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer gently for 10–15 minutes, until the damsons are soft.
  2. Let the damsons cool, then leave in the fridge for 2 days; this seems a long time but it produces a really well-flavoured juice.
  3. When ready, strain the juice through a sieve into a measuring jug, setting the fruit aside; you should have about 600ml liquid.
  4. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 300ml damson juice until hot but not boiling, then turn the heat off. Squeeze out the water from the softened gelatine leaves and whisk the gelatine into the hot damson juice to dissolve. Now whisk the mixture back into the measuring jug containing the remaining 300ml juice and pour through a fine sieve into a jelly mould. Leave in the fridge, covered, for at least 6 hours or overnight to set.
  5. Remove the stones from the poached fruits and serve some with the jelly (you can save the rest to eat with porridge or muesli).