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).

diana henry’s gooseberry and elderflower jam (fills six 225g jars)

1kg gooseberries, topped and tailed

800g granulated sugar

5 tablespoons elderflower cordial (i used bottle green)

put the fruit into a preserving pan and add 150ml of water. bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the fruit is soft.

add the sugar and continue to simmer, stirring a little to help the sugar dissolve. bring to a boil and cook for about nine minutes then test for a set (i do the wrinkle test – place a small amount of jam on a chilled plate, return to the fridge for a minute or so and then push it with your finger. if the surface wrinkles the jam will set – if the wrinkle stays in place it will be a firm set, i like something softer so stop cooking when they just wrinkle). as soon as you have a set, take the jam off the heat and skim off any scum.

allow to cool for 4 minutes then add the cordial. ladle into sterilized jars, cover with waxed paper discs and seal. this keeps for a year; refrigerate when open.