Entries in jam (8)


the freshest rhubarb and orange jam


there are some ingredients can’t resist because they are just so pretty to look at – forced rhubarb is one, with its vibrant pink stems. using this to make delicately hued rhubarb gin or schnapps (i tend to alternate) is an annual event but i have added something extra to my list – a wonderfully fresh tasting rhubarb and orange jam from lillie o’brien of london borough of jam.

this is the best recipe i’ve found for rhubarb jam – the fruit is mixed overnight with orange juice and zest plus jam sugar, which helps to draw out the excess water in the rhubarb and helps keep whole pieces of rhubarb once cooked. it’s also a jam that reaches setting point very quickly – the recipe below says 5 minutes but mine tends to take nearer ten – which keeps the flavour of both the rhubarb and the orange quite fresh and worlds away from the stewed flavour that some rhubarb jams have. later in the year i’d like to try this method with strawberries, to see if i can get a similar freshness of flavour. 

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damson doughnut muffins


these are wonderfully simple to make – muffin trays are brushed with melted butter, each muffin hole is partially filled with batter, a little jam spooned in which is then covered with more batter. when the muffins come out the oven they are rolled in sugar while still warm, so the sugar sticks and coats the muffin. eaten while warm they are similar to doughnuts, with their sugar coating and jam centre, but without the faff-factor and less of the unhealthiness. we used damson jam, as these were made after a damson scrumping session.

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gooseberry and elderflower jam


while london has baked in recent weeks the perfume of elderflowers has been in the air and i’ve found myself wanting to use them in my cooking. my elderflower vinegar is now ready and really perfumed, perfect for a light floral salad dressing, but i wanted something else and it was to diana henry’s salt sugar smoke that i turned.

elderflower and gooseberry is an obvious and delicious combination – both elements have floral notes but the sharpness of the gooseberries tempers and balances the sweetness of the elderflower really nicely. and if you don’t have easy access to elderflower flowers, the nice thing is this recipe allows you cheat and use bought elderflower cordial.

the resultant jam is wonderfully fragrant – i’ve written the recipe below as in the book but next time i think i’d reduce the sugar a little as it made quite a sweet jam (despite my berries being mouth-puckeringly sharp).

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plum jam


stone fruits are my favourites - peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums are all at the top of my fruit list. plum and bay jam was my first blog post, back in august 2006, so it’s timely that i have another plum jam recipe for you.

this is courtesy of nigel slater and he describes it thus: “this is the most straightforward of jam methods, producing a softly set preserve that will keep in a jar for a couple of weeks in the fridge. to make a jam that will last longer, you will need to boil for a little longer so that it sets more firmly. including some of the fruit's stones is not necessary, but it can add a faint almond note to the finished jam. 

my kentish plums were perfectly ripe and i wanted to keep the freshness of flavour that they had – not too sweet and gently aromatic - so i went for the soft set option, distributing the extra jars to friends and neighbours, who i exhorted to eat it quickly. needless to say i should have kept an extra jar back as we’re getting through this very easily!

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daring bakers: bakewell tart...er...pudding 


having signed up to the daring cooks and made both ricotta gnocchi and potstickers, i thought i had better get back on track with the daring bakers challenges, having missed a few.


the june daring bakers' challenge was hosted by jasmine of confessions of a cardamom addict and annemarie of ambrosia and nectar. they chose a traditional (uk) bakewell tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in england.


the reason for the “tart... er... pudding” is down to the rich heritage of this dish and the two main types which exist - the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry and the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds the jam and frangipane, an almondy sponge cake-like filling.


the version we were dared to make was a combination of the two: a sweet shortcrust pastry with a frangipane and jam filling.


so, how did i get on?

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