I'd always categorized jam making as something a bit complex, a bit too tricky and filed it away, alongside croquonbouche and Will-n-Kate's wedding cake in the baking folder in my mind labelled 'Far too hard and far too likely to fail'.
Note: That particular folder sits alongside 'Bakes that looked nothing like the picture' and 'No-one-ate-those-ones Bakes'
That was until my sister, an excellent Jam maker, showed that, actually, not only is it very possible to make a batch of sticky, sweet, fruity jam but it is an exceedingly pleasurable way to gently pass a couple of hours of an Autumnal evening.
The rhythmic chopping of seasonal fruit; the orderly, meticulous sterilising of the assorted jars; the stirring of the sticky sugar and softening fruit; the agreeable aroma of sweetened conserve filling the kitchen; the liberal spreading of the cooling jam over warm crumpets.
And Autumn, with the glut of seasonal fruit available is just made for Jam making.
Which is why this month's Tea Time Treats theme is (you've guessed it):
Jam, Chutneys, Curds and Conserves
The full details about the challenge can be found here. Please email your jams and conserves to teatimetreatschallenge@yahoo.
Meanwhile, here's my offering, Dumpsy Dearie Jam
Apple and Cinnamon Scone and Dumpsie Jam.
Dumpsie Dearie Jam
1kg peeled, cored and sliced dessert apples
1kg stoned and sliced plums
1kg peeled, cored and sliced pears
a knob of fresh ginger, tied in a muslim bag
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1.5kg caster sugar
NB: the weight of the fruit is after they have been peeled and cored
- Pop the chopped fruit and ginger in a large preserving pan. Add just enough cold water to cover the fruit
- Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for thirty minutes
- Remove from the heat, then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the lemon zest and juice. Bring back to the boil and boil for approximately 15 minutes before testing for the setting point
- If the setting point has not been reached, return the jam to the boil and boil rapidly for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and test again. Repeat as necessary.
- Remove any scum that may have accumulated on the surface by scooping it off or dispersing by using a small knob of butter
- Pour into sterlised jars and seal
- After chuckling away at the brilliant name, it transpires that Dumpsy (or Dumpsie) Dearie Jam is a traditional English recipe from either Worcestershire or Gloucestershire (both lay claim to this most delicious of sticky treats) designed to use a glut of Autumnal fruit
- I'd first read about this delicious jam last year via Karen's lovely blog, who writes about jam making here. This particular version is adapted from a very old book I picked up in our local Library booksale 'The Women's Institute Preserves and Preserving' (1978), although a more up to date version is available
- Setting point can either be checked the a sugar thermometer (setting point is 105 C) or by the cold saucer method: pop a saucer in the freezer and when ready to test for setting point, place a little bit of the jam on the saucer- push the outer edges of the jam with your finger and if the jam wrinkles, even just a little, it will set
- For further jammy tips, I've always found this article most helpful