Tag Archives: jam

Damson and rosehip jelly

damsons and rosehips

I think damsons might be my favourite fruit. Not straight off the tree; that way they have a bitter edge which makes you purse your lips. But when they are cooked with sugar they are rich, perfumed and glorious. One of the most lovely things about them is their purplish bloom which imprints itself on your fingers when you pick it from the tree. I picked these beauties on Sunday and the tree stands next to a rose that due to my lazy gardening has suckers that have naturalised. My lazy gardening of course has its benefits, in this case the beautiful rosehips that are hanging heavy. I couldn’t resist picking some to add to my damsons.

I am not sure that the rosehips add anything in terms of taste to this jelly. The damsons overwhelm their delicate taste, but maybe some of their goodness will have hung in there through the boiling process. I am glad I added them for the photo above alone. Look at those colours! Autumn on a plate.

Damson and rosehip jelly

Makes about 3 jars

1kg damsons
300g rosehips
1 litre water
Granulated sugar

Method
Wash the rosehips well and remove the old flowers and check for insects. Chop these finely (wearing gloves if you do this by hand as the hairy seeds are an irritant, I use my food processor). Add to a large pan. Wash the damsons and add to the pan with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and simmer away until the fruit is soft. I mashed it with my potato masher. Strain the fruit through a jelly bag or large square of muslin tied at the top and hang over a bowl. The weight of the fruit and damson stones will mean that the majority of the juice will have strained through in 1 hour, but you can leave it overnight. Don’t be tempted to squeeze the bag though as this will make the jelly cloudy.

Pop a couple of saucers into the fridge to get cold.

Measure the juice and to every 600ml of juice add 450g of sugar. Return it all to a clean large pan and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved increase the heat to bring it to a rolling boil. Check to see if it’s set by pouring a small amount onto a cold saucer. When it’s cooled push your finger through it and if it wrinkles it’s ready. Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal.

Use it like jam on your toast or as an accompaniment to meat, cheese or anything else that you fancy.

If you like this, then you might also like my pickled damsons, stewed damsons, damson ice cream, damson vodka or damson jam.

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding

Duerrs sent me a sample of their jam specifically made for home bakers. Made to be easily spreadable and stable when cooked their rhubarb and custard jam brings back memories of the sweets from childhood. I have been racking my brain as to the best way to use the jam. Last week I spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes for my bread baking courses and whilst I was making cardamom scented buns I thought about using the jam as a filling for a ginger flavoured bun. Rhubarb and ginger are one of my favourite flavour pairings.  They were very tasty but because I made them in a whirl shape a lot of the jam escaped during baking, so I am back to the drawing board with that one. I think if I make a bun that is more like a doughnut with the jam enclosed that will work better. More experimentation will take place later this week.

On Sunday I was making dinner for Mothering Sunday and so was thinking of a dessert that would make use of the jam. I was tempted by roly poly and Manchester Tart but as I was looking through the index of Dorothy Hartley’s Food in England I noticed her recipe for Aromatic Shropshire Pudding with Brandy. I am not sure how I have missed this recipe before, being a Shropshire Lass through and through. My version is based loosely on Dorothy’s recipe, her version has no jam in it, but as it is a steamed pudding and I seem incapable of following other people’s recipes I thought why not? I didn’t have any brandy either so I swapped that for some dessert wine that I have sitting on the top of the cupboard. I swapped suet for butter too. Dorothy suggests serving it with brandy butter because in her words “(T)his is brown and aromatic, and, served with this butter and sugar, makes a good pudding for a frosty day”, I made proper custard. I did say it was loosely based on Dorothy’s recipe.

This recipe is a good way of using up stale bread and is very much like a sponge steamed pudding. I had some cold today with fridge cold cream and it was just as delicious in a different way.

225g breadcrumbs
100g butter
60g light brown sugar
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 generous teaspoon brandy, dessert wine or liqueur of your choice
2 eggs, beaten with 1-2 tbsp of water
150g jam

Method

I made this in a food processor  by putting the breadcrumbs and butter into the processor and whizzing it, then adding the sugar, nutmeg, brandy/dessert wine and the beaten egg mixture and whizzing briefly again.

You can make it without a food processor by grating the cold butter into fine breadcrumbs and then adding the rest of the ingredients and using your hands to bring it all together.  The mixture should be quite moist.

Butter an ovenproof bowl that has a 1-pint (500ml) capacity and spoon the jam into the bottom of the bowl. Place the mixture on top of the jam. Cut a large square of greaseproof paper and fold a pleat in the middle of it. Tie securely with string, preferably making a handle with the string. Place a trivet in the bottom of a large saucepan. Put the pudding in and carefully pour hot water in to cover the bowl by three-quarters. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer and simmer for three hours.

Lift the bowl carefully out of the water. Remove the paper. Invert a serving plate onto the top of the bowl and turn the pudding out. Be careful as sometimes it can  pop out and splash hot jam at you. Serve with cream, custard or brandy butter.

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding before cooking

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding before cooking

Duerrs sent me a free sample of their jam to try. All opinions are my own and honest. 

Damson or Plum Jam

Damson jam is a big favourite in this house.  I love it and my youngest adores it too.  We are lucky enough to have a couple of damson trees in the garden and they produce well most years.  I usually make something with them before freezing some for that lovely winter treat stewed damsons.  Sometimes I will make pickled damsons, otherwise damson vodka (very popular round here for some reason) or damson jam and if I am feeling especially productive I will manage all three.  This week is the turn of the jam. It is very easy to make and very delicious to eat. The same recipe can be used for plums of any description.

This makes about 6-7 jars of varying sizes or 8 lb jars

1.5kg damsons
1.25kg granulated sugar
400ml water

Method

I can never be faffed to stone my damsons before making this jam and so I cook them whole and then scoop most of the stones out before pouring into the jars and then take the rest out when spreading on my  bread. But if you have more patience than I do then go ahead and stone the damsons/plums.

Put the prepared damsons/ plums (i.e stems removed, any over ripe ones removed, washed) into a preserving pan with the water.  Simmer for about ten minutes until the fruit is soft. It may take longer for some varieties and some may be ready sooner so keep an eye on things.

Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Bring to boiling point and boil rapidly until setting point is achieved.  Setting point can be tested by placing 4 saucers in the fridge before you start making the jam and then you pour a teaspoonful of the jam onto a cold saucer.  Leave to cool for a minute or so and then push the jam with your finger, if it wrinkles, it is at setting point. If it doesn’t wrinkle then boil for a few more minutes and then test again.  Otherwise use a jam thermometer and it is ready when it reaches 104.5°c.

Remove any scum that has risen to the surface. Pot into sterilised jars and cover whilst hot.

 

Jam or lemon curd tarts

It’s the simple things in life which bring us most pleasure! This is definitely the case when it comes to enjoying a jam and a lemon curd tart with a cup of tea. These tarts are very easy to make and taste delicious, especially if they are still a little warm from the oven.

We were making mince pies and I had some pastry left and my mum had given us a jar of her very lovely homemade lemon curd so these were begging to be made.  My eldest daughter loves lemon curd and my youngest loves jam, so I made some of each.

You can make the pastry with 50g of butter or you can use half butter and half lard, it will depend on what you have in the fridge or indeed whether you are catering for vegetarians. I used half lard and half butter this week as we always have lard in the fridge in the winter ready for making the birds some seed cake.

You can use whichever jam is your favourite.

This will make 12 tarts.

25 g (1oz) lard or vegetable fat
25g (1oz) butter
100g (40z) plain flour
cold water to mix ( about 2 tablespoons probably)

12 teaspoons of the jam or curd of your choice ( I used 6 teaspoons of raspberry jam and 6 teaspoons of lemon curd to make 6 tarts of each variety)

Method

I always make my pastry in my food processor because it means less handling and so a flakier pastry. Dice the butter and lard and place in the bowl of the food processor, add the flour and pulse the processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the cold water and pulse again until a dough just begins to form.  Take the dough out of the machine and shape into a flattened ball.  Wrap in a food bag or clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for 20 mins.  Roll out on a floured worktop and stamp out rounds using a 7cm fluted cutter.  Press each round into a hole of a patty tin. Place a teaspoon of jam in each tart.  Don’t overfill as the jam will spread as it cooks.

Place in a preheated oven at 200°c (gas mark 6) for 15 -20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.  Leave to cool a little before placing on a wire tray.

The tarts ready for the oven