Sugar Plums are in season now and they're abundant. If you come across some jamming fruit (i.e. imperfect fruit or fruit that needs to be eaten quickly) then buy up and make this incredible European style plum jam. There's no need for pectin, lemon rind or seeds to make this jam. Just one interesting method that takes time but no effort (trust me on this). And it creates the most wonderful, deep magenta coloured sugar plum jam!
I usually make jam the same way. I boil the fruit with a muslin bag of lemon peels and seeds. But when I came across a bargain for sugar plums at $2 a kilo that needed to be used within a couple of days and I forgot to buy lemon then I decided to make this style of plum jam!
The key to this recipe is to let the fruit sit with the sugar for an hour and then to boil it for 10 minutes and then cool it to room temperature. You do this for a total of 3 times. That's what I mean when I say it takes time but no effort.
I actually thought half way through this that it wouldn't work. But then I figured that spending $1.80 on the fruit and a nominal amount for the sugar wasn't going to break the bank and even if it didn't work out as a jam Mr NQN would eat it anyway. But then it transformed into the most beautiful dark magenta hue and came together perfectly. I actually screamed with delight (okay more squealed alarmingly) when I saw how perfect it was and then I baked some scones to go with them.
Speaking of screaming, one night I was out with my friend Sophia. We were sitting outside a restaurant in the city and we were the only table outside as the other tables had left. We were talking about television shows we liked and I was explaining about the new Ted Bundy show on Netflix and how I didn't like it because it was too creepy. She didn't know much about him and I told her all about him.
"Are you ready for dessert?" our waitress said coming up behind me.
"Arrrrgghhhh!!!!" I screamed, letting out an almighty scream that echoed down the long, corridor street. I swear I had worked myself up so much that I thought that Bundy himself had crept up behind me and asked me about dessert.
"Oh my god sorry!" she said.
"No, it's me! We were talking about serial killers..." I said.
Of course everyone in the restaurant thought I was crazy. And maybe they're right. Maybe I get so caught up that I have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. Maybe they're right that jam isn't worth squealing or screaming over.
But they haven't tried this jam ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, do you make jam often? Are you interested in true crime or serial killers?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Sugar Plum Jam
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes plus cooling time
Makes 3x365ml/13oz. jars of jam
- 800g/28.3ozs. sugar plums
- 400g/14ozs. white sugar
Note: this jam method works best with high pectin fruit like cranberries, pears, apples, guavas, apricots, quince, plums, gooseberries and citrus fruit. Fruit like cherries, grapes and berries contain less pectin and may produce a looser jam.
Step 1 - Cut the plums in half and remove the pit. Mix with the sugar and cover and sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Heat a thick bottomed pot with a lid on medium to high heat (6 out of 10) and then place the plums and sugar in this. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow to come to room temperature. Repeat two more times (and this can sit on the benchtop with the lid on overnight if you've got to go to bed).
Step 2 - On the third time boiling keep simmering until it is thickened and becomes a consistent dark magenta shade and becomes jammy in consistency. You can also put a metal plate in the freezer and then when you think it's ready spoon a little liquid in it and run the handle of a spoon through it and if the line holds then it is ready.
Step 3 - I usually heat some glass jamming jars in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C/350F. When they're ready and still hot take them out of the oven ,pour in the hot jam into the hot jars (if the jam is cold the glass may crack and vice versa) leaving 1cm/1/2 an inch space on top. Using a tea towel, screw on the lids and turn the jars upside down and cool.