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Boozy Buns with Raisins and Sultanas

 


I’m a huge fan of buns, rolls or scrolls, any kind of bread with a sweet filling. I usually make cinnamon scrolls, which are always delicious. This time I wanted to make some sweet buns using boozy fruit from the jar in my store cupboard.

I keep a jar permanently in the cupboard with raisins and sultanas soaking in alcohol. I top up the jar with rum or brandy or even whisky, whatever I have on hand. Stick in a vanilla pod, give the mixture a stir and leave the fruit to macerate. The boozy fruit makes a delicious dessert served over ice cream or with cream or yoghurt, or as a filling for cakes or pastries.

These yeasted buns are full of luscious fruit and almond frangipane, rolled like a scroll, and finished with a golden syrup glaze while still warm. They are pretty easy to make, particularly if you use a mixer with a dough hook. You will need to use a bit of elbow grease if you knead by hand!

Start the buns the day before you want to bake them, and leave in the fridge overnight for the second prove. Then bake them first thing in the morning and eat them warm from the oven for breakfast if you can’t resist the smell of freshly baked sticky buns!

Ingredients 

For the Dough

500g strong flour

7g instant yeast

10g salt

50g caster sugar

250g milk

2 large free range eggs, beaten

50g butter

For the Frangipane

50g butter

50g sugar

60g ground almonds

1 large free range egg

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

Filling + Glaze

300g boozy raisins and sultanas (If you don’t have a jar of prepared fruit, simply put the fruit in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of rum, brandy or whisky. Leave to soak for 1/2-1 hour)

100g golden syrup

Icing

100g icing sugar with a little water to make a paste

Method

Put the strong flour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or into a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand. Add the instant yeast and salt, making sure the yeast and salt are on opposite sides of the bowl, and the caster sugar. Add the milk which you have warmed to tepid (microwaving is easy) and the beaten eggs. Mix by hand into a rough dough, even if you’re going to use the dough hook in the next stage.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel or my favourite, a plastic shower cap, and rest for 20 minutes. Then move the bowl to the mixer and knead with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth and starting to develop some elasticity, about 5 minutes. Add the butter in small pieces, then knead again for about 5 minutes, using the mixer until the butter is thoroughly incorporated, the dough is smooth and you can achieve the “windowpane” effect. That is, you can pull  some of the dough off the dough hook, between two fingers, stretching it so that it’s translucent.

If you are kneading by hand, you will knead to work the dough really well, in both stages, to get it to the desired silky, elastic stage.

Cover the bowl again and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour, until the dough is doubled in size. You ideally need a temperature of about 25 degrees C. In winter in Sydney it can be hard to get that temperature, so I usually resort to leaving the bowl near the heating source, and even giving it an extra 30 minutes plus if the dough hasn’t doubled in size.

Make the frangipane while the dough is proving. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix. Or you can beat the ingredients together by hand. Either way you want to end up with a smooth paste.

Once the dough is risen, take the dough out of the bowl onto the bench top or ideally a large wooden board. Flour the bench top or board liberally with flour. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle, as large as you can go, with the dough ending up about 1/2 cm thick. My dough rectangle is usually about 30cm in width by 40-50cm in length.

Smear the frangipane over the entire rectangle of dough. It will look like you haven’t got quite enough, but keep on spreading and you will cover the rectangle.

Drain your boozy raisins and sultanas, and scatter them over the dough. Now carefully roll up the dough along the long side. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough. You should get about 12 slices, give or take.

Line a large baking tin or tray with baking paper. Carefully place each slice, cut side up, into the tin or tray, fitting them snugly together.

Place the tin or tray into a large plastic bag. You will need to make sure you have enough room in your fridge, as you are going to prove the buns in there overnight. Put the tin or tray into the fridge, and leave for 8-12 hours overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C fan forced, or 200 degrees C non fan forced. Place a baking tray, or ideally a cast iron pan, in the bottom of the oven, with some water in it, to create steam for your baking.

Remove the plastic bag from the tin/tray and put the buns straight from the fridge into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the buns are risen and a deep golden brown.

Remove the buns from the oven. Warm the golden syrup to make it spreadable – 30 seconds in the microwave on low, or gently heat in a saucepan.

While the buns are still still warm, brush all over with the golden syrup. Be generous! You want the buns to be really sticky!

Pull the buns apart, and eat while warm – they are truly delicious and moreish. Or wait till they are cool, and drizzle over some icing. Make the icing by adding water, a teaspoon at a time, to the icing sugar, until you have a paste that you can drizzle over the buns – not too thick but not too runny.

An easy way to drizzle is to put the icing in a zip lock bag and snip the corner off. You can squeeze the icing out of your makeshift piping bag.

Or even easier – dip a fork in the icing and drizzle straight over the buns!

Whether you eat warm or at room temperature, ice or not, these buns are super yummy. They keep for a couple of days, and also freeze well.

But best eaten on the day!

Muscat Cake with Raisins and Walnuts

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This is a versatile recipe as it can be made in different sizes, served as a dessert or just as a treat. It’s quite easy to make – another food processor mixture which I love! The most time consuming aspect is soaking the raisins beforehand.

Ingredients

1 cup of raisins

1/4 cup muscat

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

A handful of chopped walnuts

Muscat syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 water

1/4 cup muscat

 

Method

Place the raisins into a bowl with the muscat and leave to soak for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. For small cakes, grease a muffin tin. Or, for a larger cake, grease a 20cm round cake tin. I happened to have a small square tin on hand, so I used that, as well filling the remainder of the mixture into muffin molds.

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Put all the ingredients except raisins, muscat and walnuts in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Carefully fold the raisins and muscat and then the walnuts into the mixture. If the mixture looks too wet or sloppy, add a tablespoon or two more of flour.

Spoon mixture into the muffin tin or cake tins. Tap lightly to settle the mixture.

Place the tin/s in the oven and bake for 20 minutes for muffins,  35-4o minutes for the round cake tin or until the muffin/cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. I cannot be more  precise than this as the mixture has a lot of liquid and it’s difficult to judge exact cooking times.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, put the sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan, stirring until dissolved. Then boil for 5 minutes without stirring or until the the syrup has reduced to stickiness but not toffee. Take off the heat and add the muscat.

Remove the muffins/cake from the oven and pierce all over with a skewer. Pour over the hot syrup.

Cool the muffins/cake in the tin/tins. Turn out carefully as the the cakes can be quite fragile with the infused syrup.

Serve with a scattering of raisins and walnuts in any left over syrup.

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Croissants and Danish Pastries

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Continuing my exploration of laminated pastry making, I made a batch of croissant dough. The recipe is very similar to that for Danish pastry.

I followed Paul Hollywood’s recipe for croissants from his well written and very informative book How to Bake.

For croissant dough, you omit the eggs for a lighter, flakier pasty. I substituted semi-skimmed milk for the water in the yeast dough, following a recipe for croissants from another great book, Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets.

I was very happy with the results – light, flaky croissants and Danish pastries that were equally as delicious as my first version.

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Rather than reproducing the recipes in full, I refer you to my previous post. https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/07/25/danish-pastries/

But note: Omit the eggs. Use 300ml semi-skimmed milk in the base dough instead of water and full fat milk.

I made croissants, almond croissants, pain aux raisins and cherry and strawberry danishes.

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Here are Paul’s instructions for how to shape the croissants – the quantities refer to using the whole amount of the dough. To make almond croissants, put a tablespoon of frangipane (recipe in my previous post) at the base of the croissant triangle and roll as for ordinary croissants. Scatter some flaked almonds on the top before baking.

Method

When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 30cm wide; it should be about 7mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten them.

Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.

Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. Now starting at the thick end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.

Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200°C.

Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.

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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, lemon slices and sugar  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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Quick Mix Citrus Cake

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This cake is based on Annabel Langbein’s Orange Lightning Cake from her recent book Simple Pleasures. It’s an easy cake where most of the ingredients are combined at the same time.

The original recipe calls for an uncooked whole orange. I substituted candied cumquats and lemon for the orange, as I had a jar of cumquats from winter bottling in the store cupboard which I though would be quite piquant. The cumquats were cooked. I added half a lemon (uncooked) as I thought the cake might be a little sweet. I cut down on the sugar in the recipe for the same reason.

I used a fluted tin for presentation.

Ingredients
1 orange (unpeeled)*
1 tsp bi-carbonate of soda
125 gms softened butter
1 cup sugar#
2 eggs
1 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sultanas or raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease a 20cm diameter cake tin or fancy tin and line the base with baking paper.
Cut the orange or other fruit into segments, remove the seeds and whizz in a food processor until finely chopped.
Dissolve bi-carbonate of soda in 1/2 cup water and add to the food processor with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Whizz to combine. Add sultanas or raisins, and walnuts if using, and stir with a spoon or pulse several times to just combine.
Pour into prepared cake tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean 50-60 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cake rack. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, or fresh berries, or lemon or orange water icing.

* I substituted 1/4 cup candied cumquats and half a lemon.

# If using cumquats use 3/4 cup sugar.

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Cherry, Raisin and Walnut Muffins + Cumquat and Almond Muffins

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I wanted to make muffins recently and couldn’t decide on the flavour. What was in the store cupboard led to the design of a couple of new flavour combinations.

I think the cherry is my favourite – great for morning or afternoon tea. If you like a tarter, more “breakfasty” muffin – the cumquat one is delicious warm with butter.

The base mixture is the same before dividing the mixture into two for each combo.

Ingredients – Base Mixture

1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup rapadura sugar* (or dark brown or brown sugar)
1/cup melted butter
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon sugar for dusting

*Rapadura sugar has a lovely dark, treacly taste. Available from health food stores and bulk food stores.

Cherry Mixture
1 cup walnuts (1/2 cup walnut meal, 1/2 cup walnut pieces)
1/2 cup whole black cherries (tinned)
1/4 cup large raisins

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Cumquat Mixture
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup cumquat jam (any citrus jam or marmalade would do)
1/4 cup almond flakes

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Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin papers. Lightly spray papers with cooking spray.

For some reason I only managed to make 7 muffins from this mixture – I could have squeezed out 8 at a pinch. I think you should expect to make 8 good sized muffins or 10 smaller ones from these quantities.

Mix the dry ingredients for the base mixture with a spoon in a bowl until well combined. Divide into two bowls. In another bowl mix the butter, beaten eggs, milk and vanilla extract.

For the cherry muffins, add the walnut meal which you have ground in the food processor to the dry ingredients in one bowl. Add half the butter/egg/milk/vanilla liquid, stirring until barely mixed. Gently fold in the walnut pieces, cherries and raisins.

For the cumquat muffins, add the ground almonds to the dry ingredients in the other bowl. Add the other half of the butter/egg/milk/vanilla liquid, stirring until barely mixed. Gently fold in the cumquat or similar jam.

Spoon each mixture into the muffin papers. Sprinkle almond flakes on the tops of the cumquat muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, and dust the tops of all the muffins with cinnamon sugar.

Boozy Sultana and Raisin Slice

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I have had some sultanas and raisins macerating in vodka in the pantry left over from a Christmas party where I made Christmas pudding vodka shots, from a recipe from the  wonderful Hairy Bikers:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/christmas_pudding_vodka_45343

So I used a basic sultana slice recipe to use up the fruit and tweaked it to make this rather boozy slice! I think you could add a lemon drizzle icing for aesthetic effect rather than taste enhancement.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 level tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup hazelnut meal
1 cup sultanas and raisins soaked in vodka, muscat or port
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 generous tablespoons golden syrup
4 tbl butter or olive oil spread

Method

Line a swiss roll tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Heat butter/olive oil spread and golden syrup together until melted in the microwave and  allow to cool.
Sift flour and cinnamon together into a bowl, add sugar, macerated fruit, beaten egg and golden syrup mixture, and mix well until combined.
Press into lined tin and bake for 25 minutes.
Let slice cool completely in tin before cutting into slices.

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Roast Beef on French Bread with Sweet Onion and Raisin Chutney

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Roast scotch fillet on French bread with greens, cherry tomatoes and lashings of onion and raisin chutney. A perfect weekend lunch – my lunch today in fact! Very easy and quick to prepare, if you have the chutney already made and bottled.

Another early Saturday morning walk to the Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield yielded some lovely produce – fat red and brown onions, Jerusalem artichokes, baby salad greens, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and French bread. The artichokes will be savoured later this week.

Sweet Onion and Raisin Chutney from July 2013 delicious. magazine.

Ingredients

100 gms raisins

300 mls sweet fortified wine (I used Pedro Ximenez sherry)

100 mls sunflower oil

1.5 kgs large onions, halved, thinly sliced (I used 1 kg only – it seemed to be enough – and a combination of red and brown onions)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

125 mls white wine vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Place the raisins and and wine in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove, then set aside to soak for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes or until the onions are soft and starting to colour and stick to the pan.

Add the sugar, cook, stirring frequently for a further 30 minutes or until the onions are a rich brown colour.

Add the vinegar and soaked raisins, including the soaking liquid, then cook stirring often, for a further 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal.

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Roast Scotch Fillet

Ingredients

350 – 500 gms piece scotch fillet (this is enough for 1-2 large sandwiches)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tbl olive oil

1 tbl butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Place a heavy based baking dish in the oven to heat through.

Thoroughly coat the fillet in salt and pepper on all sides. Drizzle with the olive oil over all sides. Place in a hot frying pan, searing quickly on all sides to caramelize the fillet. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C. Place in the baking dish in the oven with the pan juices, adding the butter.

Cook 15 – 25 minutes depending on the weight of the meat and how well cooked you like it. The piece of beef I cooked was 350 gms, and I cooked it for 15 or so minutes for medium rare.

I used the skewer test – checking for “doneness” by inserting a skewer into the meat for a few seconds, removing and placing against my lip – cool means underdone, hot means cooked fine, scalding means overdone! I’m sure there must be a website somewhere that explains this principle a little more clearly!

Remove from the oven when cooked to your satisfaction and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thickly.

Sandwich

Assemble the sandwich with the following ingredients or whatever takes your fancy:

French bread stick, butter, roast beef, cherry tomatoes, baby salad greens, sugar snap peas, sweet onion and raisin chutney, plenty of salt and pepper.

Can be eaten in the sunshine with a glass of something white and chilled or inside with a more robust red. I chose the latter…

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins, Pomegranate Couscous and Avocado Salad

Since I acquired and first used my beautiful crimson red tagine, featured in the post on Rozelle Village Markets, I have been very keen to give it a proper Road Test.

A working dinner with old friends allowed me to to give it the Top Gear treatment, and it passed with flying colours.

Pre-dinner nibbles  – toasted flatbread with rocket pesto, and tomato and green olive dip.

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The Top Gear team provided the production values. Jeremy photographed the Event,  Richard the director gave creative advice and James brought some curious items from his Man Lab to enhance the theatricality of the Event. The Stig was notable for his absence. Perhaps he doesn’t like lamb…

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins

Ingredients
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder or sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon tagine spice (Essential Ingredient make a fabulous blend)
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

Method

Combine spices and salt in a large bowl.  I prefer to grind my own in mortar and pestle. Add the oil, rind and half the juice and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Put the lamb mixture into a tagine or heavy bottomed casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricot roughly chopped and raisins. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
Tap half a pomegranate over the tagine to release the jewel like seeds, and scatter with a sprinkling of pistachio kernels. 

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Pomegranate Couscous

Cook your favourite couscous recipe – mine has lots of oil and butter to enrich it  – and serve with the seeds of the other pomegranate half scattered as artistically as the slippery seeds will allow!

Avocado Salad

A selection of your favourite salad greens  – on this occasion mine were rocket and baby cos lettuce – with baby Shepard avocados, and a great dressing.  Lindeman’s E.V. Olive Oil and Raspberry Vinegar worked well.

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Autumn Jams

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I love making jams and marmalade at any time of the year. April in Sydney is that in-between season, when you’ve made all your berry jams and before the start of marmalade making.
I found some late season, beautiful little plums at the Orange Grove markets. Also some organic pink lady apples, and some quinces, which inspired me to make some autumn jams.
So I came up with Plum and Apple Jam, Plum Raisin and Vanilla Jam and Quince Marmalade. I have adapted some recipes from the wonderful book Jams, Jellies and Marmalades by Margaret O’Sullivan, which has been my jam-making bible for many years.

Plum and Apple Jam
Ingredients
I kg plums
1kg apples
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
Juice of a lemon
2 kgs sugar (or a little less)

Method
Halve the plums and remove the stones. Peel and core the apples and chop.
Put the fruit into the preserving pan (large saucepan) with the water and salt.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes OR until soft. (The plums will disintegrate quite quickly).
Add the lemon juice, then slowly add the sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Boil rapidly until setting point is reached, approximately 20 minutes.
Test for a set by placing a little jam on a saucer in the freezer for five 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.
When setting point is reached, skim, and pour into sterilized jars.

Plum Raisin and Vanilla Jam
Ingredients
500 gms plums
Sugar
Juice of a lemon
100 gms raisins
Vanilla bean

Method
Chop the plums and remove the stones. Measure the fruit and add sugar equal to 3/4 of the amount.
Put into a preserving pan and cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until setting point is reached (see Method for Plum and Apple Jam).
Stir in the lemon juice and raisins. Pour into sterilized jars, and then carefully place a section of vanilla bean (opened to release the seeds) into each jar of jam.

Quince Marmalade
Ingredients
2-3 quinces (whatever you can fit in your preserving pan).
Water
Sugar

Method
Put the quinces into a preserving pan with enough boiling water to cover and parboil so that the skin will come off easily.
Peel, core and chop the quinces, then weigh them.
Return the quinces to the preserving pan with the water used to parboil. Remove any excess water (the water should just cover the quinces).
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add sugar equaling 1/2 the weight of the quinces.
Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When the quince mixture starts to turn red, mash with a potato masher, getting rid of any big lumps.
Spoon into sterilized jars.

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