Angeleno plum jam served on walnut, yoghurt and olive oil ‘quick’ bread
Yet more jam with the perfect set? Yes, please! Especially plum. It’s definitely my favourite so far. And this one is no exception. Just look at the colour. Almost a dark alizarin crimson – one of my all-time favourite colours. And the flavour is as good as it looks. For someone that hardly ever bought jam I seem to be amassing a nice little collection. Although, I would like persimmon. They still haven’t shown an appearance. Greengage have, something I’ve never tasted before, as I spotted those in one of the superstores nearby. Hmm, I reckon another trip there is due. As for the bread within photos it’s a plain walnut version of the one used within my previous post. And I’m still not going with the recipe. Partly as I baked it this time around in a Pyrex-esque dish instead of a baking tray and the oven temperature used turned out to be a tad too high. Highly unusual for these yoghurt breads. Admittedly they’re normally dumped in the centre of a baking tray and allowed to spread slightly. Using the dish curtails that, which was exactly the plan. I just didn’t expect a large crack to make a subtle appearance on top of its crust. So! That needs to be baked again before I go with its recipe. Especially as I need more of it to make breadcrumbs. Yes, you’ve read that right. This particular bread is perfect for home-made breadcrumbs to coat
arancini risotto cakes, which I made a version of yesterday – heavenly they were! Hah, and deep-fried. Or in my case shallow-fried in about 2.54cm or an inch of hot oil. The amount of oil they soaked up was quite simply shocking. Okay, a lot of it drained on to kitchen towel/paper. Still. The next lot at the weekend will be baked as leftover risotto cakes instead. Much healthier.
Yield: about 900g or 1.98 pounds
- 830g (1.83 pounds) x prepared weight firm Angeleno plums, washed, cut into quarters, stone removed and discarded, quarters cut into chunks
- 4 x tablespoon cold water (more may be needed)
- 1½ x ripe lemons (OR 3½ tablespoons lemon juice), juiced through a sieve
- 400g (14.11 oz) x granulated sugar
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Note: If the fruit is firm then follow this step. If fruit is ripe then start at next instruction. Put the prepared fruit and the lemon juice into a large saucepan with a lid on electric heat No 2 (out of 6) initially to sweat or to help the fruit to release their juices. This should only take about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how big the chunks are. The fruit by this stage should be soft enough to eat, especially if firm or slightly unripe fruit have been used.
- Up the heat to No 4 and add the sugar. Stir thoroughly to combine. Once the sugar has melted completely, and before boiling, taste at this point for any needed extra sugar.
- Bring mixture to a boil, stirring gently and occasionally at this stage. Once boiling stir much more frequently. I ended up boiling this for about 30 minutes before there were any real signs of the jam thickening.
- Place a clean saucer in the fridge.
- Put oven on to 180°C or 356°F (which will take about 10 minutes) and place clean glass jars upside down in the oven to sterilise them. Once oven temperature has reached that mark switch it off but leave the jars inside with the door still closed.
- Take jam off heat and carefully add a dessertspoonful to the cold saucer. Allow a couple of minutes for the jam to cool before pushing a finger into the jam. If it starts to crinkle it’s beginning to set. If in doubt place the saucer back in the fridge for 5 minutes and check again. I then continued to boil the jam for a further 10 minutes before testing again.
- If there is a lot of scum rising to the surface at any time do skim that off and discard. So far, with both jams, this hasn’t happened.
- When setting point has been reached take jam off heat and allow to settle for 10 minutes. At this point open the oven door and allow the jam jars to cool sufficiently, as they should still be hot but not overly so. When ready to pour the jam into the jars (that do need to be hot as otherwise they will crack) either ladle or spoon the jam in. With this particular jam it poured quite nicely as there were very few chunks left. Don’t rush this stage as there shouldn’t be any air bubbles. Pour some, tap the jar and pour in more. I didn’t leave much of a gap in mine, pouring jam up to the curve that leads to the grooves that hold the lid in place. Once happy with the jam in the jars place the lids on securely, tightening them again when the jam has cooled slightly.
Notes (as with all my jams I’m giving tips that I found helpful to begin with):
- Jam boils at around 106°C or 222.8°F and can get much hotter as it reduces. Purely because of that common sense when cooking with high temperatures should prevail at all times.
- Here are two links for sites that I read before making jam for the first time. Both are well written and informative: 10 Tips for Jam, Jelly and Marmalade Making & Jam Session.
- My advice is to wear long clothing, as in a long sleeved top and trousers. When jam is boiling it can and will spark and spit. Have to hand clean t-towels and or an oven mitt/glove and cover your hands if anywhere near the jam as jam making is a hot process and can scald.
- The only piece of equipment I’ve since bought for jam making is a 45cm or 18 in wooden spoon. That way there’s far less chance of the jam spluttering and burning my hand.
- It seems that it’s best to cut out all blemishes and any parts of the fruit that have signs of damage, discarding those.
- Add water sparingly to the prepared fruit in the saucepan initially, as extra water can always be added if necessary.
- Cover pan with a lid as this will help the fruit to release their juices. It’ll take about 10 – 15 minutes to do this, according to the fruit used.
- Only start heating the fruit at a lowish temperature. I used electric No 2 (out of 6).
- Add lemon juice through a sieve and stir through before adding sugar. Once the sugar has been added and stirred through is the time to taste for any extra needed sugar. If spices have been used then taste for any needed extra spices at this stage as well. At no point taste jam whilst cooking it during the boiling stage!
- When jam starts to thicken is when it really needs to be stirred continuously – not with any force, just stir through slowly and gently as this will help to prevent any scorching. Do not leave the jam boiling at any stage! Take off heat and set on a cold plate, as in electric plate. Doing this and putting it back on heat doesn’t seem to make any difference to the end result.
- Put oven on to heat/sterilise the jam jars, which need to be placed in the centre of the oven upside down when the oven is cold. I set my oven to 180°C (356°F), and once it reached this temperature I simply switched the oven off and kept the door closed until the settling stage (see below).
- During the boiling stage place a clean saucer in the fridge.
- Do take the jam off heat and test when it looks like it’s thickening enough. Test by adding a small spoonful to the cold saucer. If it crinkles (allowing enough time for the jam to cool slightly) when pushed with your finger it’s beginning to set. Do place it in the fridge for 5 minutes and push it again. If it’s still too runny put the jam back on heat and continue to boil for another 5 minutes before testing again. At this point stir jam continuously.
- The jam, when the setting point wanted has been reached, needs to settle for about 10 minutes off heat before pouring it into the jars, that need to be hot. Having said that the jars shouldn’t be boiling hot so make sure the oven door is open wide, after taking the jam off heat, to allow the jars to cool slightly. Once jam has been bottled the lids should be put on immediately. And tighten lids again when jam has started to cool down.
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