Stuffed Dried Plums – a 14th Century Recipe

This recipe was buried deep in the hidden part of this blog (my original attempt at blogging in English happened around 2014), and I would’ve completely forgotten about it if it weren’t for somebody who asked me about it on Instagram. So, there it is again!

Stuffed prunes were, for a long time, my way to rock a potluck. Yes, they’re a show stopper, and no, they’re not difficult to make - but there’s manual labor involved, so make sure you have enough time.

The history of stuffed prunes

There was a time when Serbia was glorious. Serbian king Dušan the Mighty (1308 – 1355) was one of the most powerful monarchs of his era. His kingdom had access to three seas, but it eventually had to fall apart. His successor was his son, later known as Uroš the Weak.

Why am I writing this? Because it is said that this recipe dates back to the 14th century and that it was prepared at the Serbian royal court. Centuries later, this dish is still a delicious and mouthwatering experience.

Stuffed prunes: the recipe

For the vegetarian version, you can use smoked salmon instead of bacon!

So, these are dried plums (or prunes) stuffed with soft goat cheese and walnuts, then wrapped up in smoked bacon and baked until the flavors intertwine. Be still, my heart!

Unlike in the middle ages, we're able to get plums that are already pitted and pre-sliced bacon.


Ingredients:

  • 500g dried plums, pitted
  • 150g soft goat cheese
  • 2 handfuls walnuts
  • 300g smoked bacon, thinly sliced
  • toothpicks

The exact amount of the given ingredients varies, mostly depending on the size of the plums. I found the Dutch ones much better than the ones we have in Serbia - they're larger and moister.

Stuff each plum with a piece of cheese and then a bit of walnut. (If you have a hard time doing that, try steaming the plums first - I would typically suggest soaking them, but that can make them really sticky and icky). That can easily take up an hour or two, so play some good music or make that skype call that you've been postponing because you know it's gonna last too long.

After you've done that, wrap each plum around with bacon (you usually need half a slice per plum), and pierce through it all with toothpicks.

Each toothpick should go through two ends of bacon, plum itself, and walnut - to keep them all in place. Be careful - the plums should stand on their flattest sides.

Place the plums on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and heat the oven. Originally, these plums would be grilled - but in reality, any kind of oven will work. If your oven has a fan, don't hesitate to use it - but it's not a must.

Bake the plums on 150° Celsius for 15 minutes. Then turn up the heat to 200° Celsius and bake for another 10 minutes.

Some of the fat should render off the bacon, but the bacon shouldn't get more than mildly crispy. If it turns completely crispy, that means you've baked the plums for too long and that they're too dry and chewy - so check up on your oven from time to time. Let the plums slightly cool and try them - they should be juicy, and they should make you go OMG.

These stuffed dried plums can be served completely cooled - they would still work their magic. That means you can prepare them a day in advance if you have to.

They're an explosion of nicely interwoven flavors you can't even imagine.

Cheese is what links the taste of plums to the feeling of bacon, while bacon connects the plums and the walnuts. But that doesn't sound awesome enough. So, try them yourself and thank me later.

Jan Arsenovic

Jan Arsenovic

I'm Jan and I'm a freelance creative based in the Netherlands. In my past life, I worked in broadcasting and got up at 4 am.
Rotterdam, NL