Christmas present making is underway and I am determined to actually make all teacher, neighbour, postman, market providore gifts this year. The postman has been delivering a few more Thermomixes to my door in the last couple of months and he deserves something for having to put up with me answering the door in pjs and bed hair. The apple man at Kelvin Grove Markets regularly gives me a bag of slightly scarred fruit for free, so it is only fair he gets a jar of that produce back in return.
I have posted a winter fruit jam – perfectly timed for school fetes – with Pear and Ginger Jam. Now for your summer fruit jam recipe. Peaches are a great fruit to jam with because they are often found squishy in your fruit bowl or at least a few battered ones at the bottom of the bag when you get home from the store/market. Nothing better to do with squishy fruit than turn it into jam. This jam also makes your house smell wonderful while cooking it. And if you steam the fruit first as per instructions below to make removing the skin easy you end up with a rosy coloured water that is perfect for making Turkish delight without having to use food colouring. See further posts once I perfect my jelly setting techniques for this one.
Take a kilo of peaches. Any kind you like. If you have a lovely fruit providore relieve them of peaches that have scars or are slightly bruised and won’t sell. You are likely to get these either free or much cheaper than your perfectly formed, photogenic fruit. Cut a cross in the bottom of each peach and fit into the steamer basket and Varoma. Pour water to 1Litre mark (halfway up) in Thermomix bowl. Insert steamer basket, lid and put Varoma in place. Select Varoma heat, 20 minutes, speed 2. Check peaches to see if skins can be easily peeled off. If peaches still too firm cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Allow the peaches to cool a little so you can peel them without burning your fingertips. Pour out the water from the bowl – keeping it if you plan to make jelly with the peach hued liquid. Peel peaches and remove the stones. Set peach flesh aside. Peel the zest from two limes. Quarter a granny smith apple, leaving core in. Place zest and apple in Thermomix and blitz for 10 seconds on Speed 9. Scrape down sides and check if its all chopped finely enough. If not, blitz again.
Press scales button and weigh in peach flesh. Juice zested limes and add juice to Thermomix bowl. Match the total weight of peaches and juice with raw sugar. I ended up with around 600g peach flesh and lime juice and so added 600g raw sugar to the bowl. Put the lid on and select Varoma heat, 25 minutes, speed 2. Put as many jars as can fit in Varoma and put on top. This way you can sterilise and heat your jars while you make your jam. Put a saucer in the fridge so you can test the setting of your jam.
Cooking time will depend on how much water is in the fruit, which varies from fruit to fruit. Once the timer finishes, open the lid and spoon a little onto the cold saucer to see if it sets or runs around. This is a good opportunity to taste test as well. For my last batch I needed to put it back on to cook for a further 10 minutes until it was at a setting stage. This gives you extra time to steam some more jars. Once it is setting on the cold saucer decant the jam into your sterilised, warm jars. I find doing this over a tea towel helps with cleanup.
Just a note – if you find the jam is too chunky, resist the urge to blend it after cooking. This will cloud your jam. It will still taste the same, just won’t look as nice. I speak from experience. Now, just to see who the cloudy jam will go to. Might be a good test to see which members of my family read my blog.
This is one for the people I disappointed with my Green Juice post last week. And anyone who likes chocolate. And nuts. And things only the Thermomix can make seem hilariously easy.
Hazelnut Chocolate Spread appears as a recipe in the Everyday Cookbook. I implore you to try it. It kicks Nutella right in the bottom. It is rich, but not overly sweet. You could pour it straight from the Thermomix bowl into a cooked pastry case, leave it to set in the fridge and have an extremely good chocolate tart. You could use it as a filling for biscuit sandwiches or macarons. Or you could pour it into some jars and have tablespoon ready chocolate fix sitting in your fridge. I have been spreading it on lightly toasted sourdough for an after school dropoff pick me up with my morning coffee. My eldest is choosing it as her dessert, spread on fresh bread, if she makes a good effort eating her dinner.
There are a few different recipes that vary from the Everday Cookbook version. As usual, I took them all into consideration and came up with my own. First I ground on Speed 9 for 10 seconds 60g raw sugar to icing sugar (for easy dissolving). Next throw in 150g chocolate (broken into small pieces) and 90g hazelnuts and grind at Speed 9 for 10 seconds. Check texture and grind again if not fine enough for you. I didn’t bother skinning or roasting the hazelnuts, but I’m sure if you did it would produce an even lovelier toasty flavour. I used Lindt 70% cocoa dessert chocolate. This is the one I usually have in the fridge for my chocolate cooking needs. I can buy it at Coles and it gives a nicer flavour than any of the other cooking chocolates I have tried from the supermarket. One day perhaps I will look into finding a source for some higher quality chocolate like the Callebaut Muttering Housewife swears by. One day. Vary sugar according to the chocolate you use, and your sweet palette. If it is a milk chocolate it will be much sweeter than dark. Most recipes suggest between 50-90g sugar.
I skipped the cocoa powder because I had added an extra 50g chocolate. Add either 70g butter or same of a flavourless oil such as grapeseed. A nut oil would add a nice flavour too. Or coconut oil if you have it around. Not olive oil. Too fruity for this. I used oil instead of butter as I was going to sell a couple of jars at my school fete jam stall, so trying to reduce degradable ingredients and also wanted it to be spreadable out of the fridge. Add 100g milk and heat at 50 degrees for 6 minutes on Speed 3. Check the consistency after it has finished, cook a couple of minutes more if you think it too runny. It does firm up once in the fridge. Pour into your sterilised jars, transfer to fridge and try to resist eating in one go. They make a fabulous present.
Just a word on bottling your own freshly made goods. I realise some are a bit worried about things going off when its homemade. There are no use by dates on your jar of lovingly prepared stuff. From a lot of Google research and many conversations to home jam makers in my preparation for jam stall convening I came across a few basics to help with this. Hot things should be poured into hot jars, so glass doesn’t crack. Don’t use plastic, it is harder to sterilise without compromising and different plastics behave in different ways. Stick to glass. Clean and collect jars from your current stock of bought goods. Sterilise your cleaned jars and lids (steam in the oven, boil on the stove, steam in the Varoma if the jars fit) while you are cooking your jams, etc. 10 minutes on full steam should do it. Drain on a clean tea towel, then turn over to pour stuff in. The tea towel helps in clean up too – I have taken some practice to get most of the goods in the jar. Don’t use screw top lids or stopper lids because they don’t seal properly. Use jars and lids that most jams come in, ie, that have metal lids that twist a little to open. Pickle or olive jars are good, but you have a hard time getting the pickle flavour out, so use them for savoury things like sauces or your own pickles. Leave as little surface area as possible so oxygen has a harder time getting in. This means fill right up to the neck and try to use smaller neck jars. Fasten the lid and turn upside down for 10 minutes or until you remember to turn them upright. This not only helps to show you whether your lid is fastened tight, but also helps with the seal. Or so I have been told. Once opened to use, always store in the fridge. Lastly, check it for mould when using each time. Also, as my father would say, suck it and see. A sniff and a tiny taste will tell you whether it has passed its prime. My father would probably still eat it anyway, but he has some hardy gut bacteria from a life of indifference to use by dates.