Dried plums steeped in Armagnac brandy with orange zest, cinnamon, and cloves makes a perfect holiday gift. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or rich chocolate cake. Recipe courtesy of the California Dried Plum Board.
Armagnac is an aged French brandy; other brandies may also be used. When using other brandies, increase to 3 cups; decrease tea to 1½ cups.
To brew strong tea, use 2 standard-size tea bags per 2 cups boiling water.
For the orange zest, use zester or vegetable peeler to remove the orange portion of the peel only; chop finely. Grated orange peel may be substituted for orange zest; decrease to 1 tablespoon.
In a medium bowl, combine the dried plums and Armagnac; set aside. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, bring tea and sugar to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the dried plum mixture, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Reduce the heat; simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Remove from the heat; cool 20 minutes, uncovered.
Spoon into jars with lids for gift-giving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving. Serve warm, spooned over vanilla ice cream, if desired. Can also be served warm in individual dessert dishes, topped with whipped cream and crumbled macaroons or gingersnap cookies.