Lemongrass and star anise lend flavor and perfume to a simple syrup used to preserve dried plums (prunes). The fruit plumps up beautifully, making a handy condiment for jazzing up yogurt and hot cereals or topping ice cream.
Combine the water, sugar, and brandy in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Boil the syrup for 1 minute, then add the dried plums and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the plums are tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the lemongrass, star anise, and orange peel. Let the mixture steep at room temperature until the plums have softened and plumped and the liquid has cooled.
Sterilize 3 glass jelly jars and lids in boiling water. Divide the plums and syrup among the jars, including the lemongrass, star anise, and orange peels. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. The preserved fruit should be consumed within a month.