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Tag Archives: jam

Berry and Custard Chocolate Brownies

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This is a great recipe for chocolate brownies with a couple of twists. It’s based on Jamie Oliver’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Brownies from his lovely book of delights Comfort Food.

I loved the idea of this recipe with its peanut butter custard, but sadly had to forgo the peanut butter as the group I was baking for had some problems with nuts. I made the custard with just vanilla. It was fine – the custard gives a velvety smoothness to the brownies. The “jelly” in Jamie’s recipe is raspberry jam. This part of the recipe I did adhere to, but added fresh strawberries instead of raspberries.

The resulting brownie is very chocolatey, with its rough chunks of dark chocolate, soft with the custard and sweet and sharp with the berry tang. Recommended!

Ingredients

Custard
250ml semi-skimmed milk
1 vanilla pod
2 large free-range egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar)
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
20g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

Brownie mixture
230g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g dark chocolate + 50g extra for chocolate chunks in the brownie
230g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar)
4 large free-range eggs
150g plain flour
2 tbls raspberry jam
75g fresh berries (I used strawberries)

Method

To make the custard, put the milk into a pan, halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, then add both pod and seeds to the pan and lightly simmer on the hob, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a bowl, use a balloon whisk to combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and soft butter. Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk into the bowl, until combined. Return the custard mixture to the pan, place over a low heat and stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Leave the custard to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the brownies, grease and line a deep baking tray (20cm x 30cm). Melt the butter in a non-stick pan on a very low heat, then snap up and add the chocolate. Stir regularly with a spatula until melted and combined, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Leave to cool slightly, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until silky. Sift in the flour and mix well.

Pour the chocolatey brownie mix into the prepared tray, then swirl through the chilled custard (discarding the vanilla pod). Roughly mix in the additional chocolate chunks. Erratically distribute little spoonfuls of jam over the surface, then poke in the fresh berries (any fresh seasonal berries that correspond with the jam you’re using). Bake for around 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside but still a bit gooey in the middle. Leave to cool before cutting into portions.

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Boozy Fruit or Hoarder’s Jam

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Hoarder’s Jam? I love this name and I dedicate this post to those friends and family, who are Hoarders. You know who you are…

This is not a jam – and I wonder why this delightful concoction ever got called jam! It’s boozy, fruity and a great way to preserve summer fruits. It’s less of a recipe than some simple instructions on how to combine fruit, sugar, spices and alcohol. The instructions are adapted from ‘The Women’s Weekly Made from Scratch”, a very handy source of some good recipes.

Lovely summer fruit like plums, peaches and apricots can be preserved, and the bonus is the fruity preserving alcohol is a great tipple or the basis of a champagne cocktail.

Ingredients 

Any mixture of stone fruit to make up 6 pieces:

Plums, apricots, peaches

250 g caster sugar

1 long piece of orange rind

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

330 ml alcohol: brandy, rum or gin

Method

Cut the plums  and apricots in halves, the peaches in quarters. Place the fruit and the sugar in china or glass bowl and leave for 1 hour.

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Transfer the fruit and sugar mixture to 1 litre glass jar with a strong lid. Place the orange rind and vanilla bean in the jar. Pour the alcohol into the jar. The fruit should be covered; top up with a little more alcohol to make sure all the fruit is covered. If the fruit won’t stay submerged, fill a small ziplock bag with a little water, seal and place on top of the liquid to keep the fruit under the liquid.

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Make sure you note the date of preserving on the jar. Keep in a dark cool pace for a minimum of 2 weeks or up to 3 months.

You can turn the jar occasionally, or VERY gently shake the jar. This is to help the sugar dissolve. After 1 week, the colour of the liquid begins to deepen, and a lot of the sugar is dissolved, with a residue still sitting on the bottom of the jar.

After 2 weeks the liquid in the jar has turned a deep ruby colour and all the sugar is dissolved.

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I opened the jar after 2 weeks and used the fruit to make my deconstructed crumble, recipe below and also here in an earlier post.

Refrigerate after opening, although I’m inclined to believe the fruit is well and truly pickled and should survive quite well for a few days in the cupboard. I’ll give you an update on that one!

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Crumble

Ingredients

100 gms plain flour
75 gms  butter at room temperature
Pinch of salt
50 gms dark brown sugar
25 gms golden syrup
50 gms rolled oats
20 gms chopped macadamias and almonds or any nuts you like

Method

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar into a bowl, and rub the butter into the other ingredients until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.
Place mixture into the bowl of a food processor, add golden syrup, oats and chopped nuts, and pulse gently to combine.
Turn out the crumble mixture onto the lined baking tray, spread the mixture evenly and bake the crumble for 15-20 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time, until the crumble is toasted.
Remove from oven, and when cool, break up any large pieces. It’s important to have a combination of small and large crumble pieces. The crumble is ready to use, or store in an airtight container, or it also freezes well.

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Cherry Frangipane Tart

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This is a lovely almond filled tart, a traditional French sweet treat. The base is pastry, layered with jam, then topped with a thick almond custard like cream. I added some cherries  to the frangipane for texture and tartness.

“Frangipane is a filling made from or flavoured with almonds.This filling can be used in a variety of ways including cakes, tarts and other assorted pastries…Originally designated as a custard tart flavoured by almonds or pistchios it came later to designate a filling that could be used in a variety of confections and baked goods…It is normally made of butter, sugar eggs and ground almonds.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frangipane

My version uses a shortcake pastry base, to give a little more substance to the base. I cooked the tart in a springform tin. I think it might have better to cook the mixture in a traditional tart mold or tin. My cake tin version was quite deep, resulting in tart that took a long time to cook in the middle and overcooked a little on the base and sides.

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Ingredients

Shortcake Pastry Base
70g unsalted butter
70g castor sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Tart
3 tbls cherry jam*
225g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla paste
225g caster sugar
5 free range eggs
225g ground almonds
Handful of whole cherries, plus more to decorate

Method
For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Carefully line a 23cm springform tin with the pastry, pressing the pastry into the edges of the tin.

Spread the jam over the base of the tart, then place in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.

To make the frangipane, beat the butter, vanilla paste and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until all of the eggs have been fully incorporated into the mixture. Fold in the ground almonds carefully by hand.

Top the pastry base with the almond mixture and smooth to the edges. Placer some halved fresh cherries on top of the mixture, pushing them gently into the mixture. They should still be partially visible.  Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 40 45 minutes, or until the filling has risen, is cooked through and the surface is pale golden brown.

* I made a simple cherry jam by placing 6 or tablespoons of morello bottled cherries with their juices in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Bring to the boil and cook till the cherries are jammy and the liquid is reduced.

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Plum, Raisin and Walnut Jam with Lemon Slices

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Raisins and walnuts make this plum jam sticky, sweet, and crunchy – almost a paste, and wonderful with sourdough, whole grain toast or crumpets. Great with butter or creme fraiche – I had the jam on Sonoma sourdough with creme fraiche.

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I make lots of jams all year round but summer is great for berries and stone fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, apricots and plums all make fantastic jam and conserves.

Plums are so full of pectin that setting point is easily reached. Blood rums, with their ruby red colour, make beautiful jam. This jam is based on a plum jam from Jams, Jellies and Marmalades by Margaret O’Sullivan. Her recipe uses orange slices but being “orangeless” today I substituted lemon slices instead – equally delicious!

Ingredients

500 gms blood plums
Sugar
100 gms raisins
Half a lemon, cut into very fine slices, then quartered
100 gms walnuts, chopped


Method


Chop the plums and remove the stones. Measure the plums and raisins and lemon slices and add sugar equal to 3/4 of the amount. 
 You will need to boil the lemon slices for about 10 minutes in water to soften  – if you don’t mind a little crunch, just add as is to the plums and raisins.

Put plums, raisins and lemon slices into a preserving pan and cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until setting point is reached.

Test for a set by placing a little jam on a saucer in the freezer for a couple of minutes. The surface should be set and wrinkle when pushed with a finger. If the jam is not set, return the pan to the heat and cook for a further few minutes until setting point is reached.

Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

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Strawberry Conserve

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This recipe from my mother was my first attempt at jam making. I’m not sure who developed this version, but the jam is sensational as it is slightly tart, having only half the sugar of other recipes. As strawberries have a high pectin content, it sets well.

It’s really a conserve, as the fruit is kept whole. Conserves are a form of preserving in which whole fruit is suspended in jelly. I find berries make great conserves.

My mother noted: “do not make large quantities  – 2 pounds (1kilo) of strawberries is the maximum to be made at the one time”.

I’ve been making this conserve for ages and it’s always scrumptious.

Ingredients

500gms strawberries
250gms sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Hull the strawberries and put into a china or plastic basin (not metal).  Cover with the sugar and leave for several hours or overnight.

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Add lemon juice and gently stir the mixture to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.

Transfer to a large saucepan and boil briskly, testing for setting point regularly. When setting point* is reached – about 25 to 30 minutes, remove pan from the stove. Ladle carefully into sterilised jars and leave to cool.

Note: use a wooden spoon and do not stir vigorously so that the berries are kept mostly intact.

*Testing for setting point
While the jam is cooking, place a small saucer in the freezer to thoroughly chill (about 5 minutes). When you think the jam may have reached setting point, remove the saucer form the freezer, place a teaspoonful of jam on it, put back in the freezer for 3 or 4 minutes. If the jam has a jelly-like consistency or a crinkly skin has formed on the sample, the jam is ready.

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Irish Soda Bread with Black Treacle

I love the idea of bread that can me made from scratch in under an hour! No yeast, no rising, and a delicious nutty, malty flavour.

I researched Irish soda bread online, and discovered that the only essential ingredients are flour, bi-carbonate of soda, buttermilk and salt.

Here is a helpful website aptly named –  Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread: http://www.sodabread.info/

In my recipe I have added a tablespoon of black treacle, to give a little sweetness and that malty flavour. Quite by accident I neglected to add the treacle to the buttermilk before adding to the dry ingredients, so I mixed it into the dough after the addition of the buttermilk. This gave a lovely streaked effect to the baked bread!

Ingredients
340g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ -1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
290mls buttermilk
1 tbls black treacle

Method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Place flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.

Make a well in the centre of the mixture, and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)

Stir in treacle, and mix well, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

Form into a round then place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

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Serve with lashings of butter, jam or golden syrup!

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