It may feel wasteful using beautiful, juicy Summer fruits to make jam rather than just eating them as they are; but come Autumn and Winter, you will thank yourself for having preserved a little piece of Summer. Making your own jam may seem like a daunting task, and true, there is boiling sugar involved, but it is actually quite a simple process involving very few ingredients, and once you get the hang of it you can create all kinds of delicious flavour combinations.
In this case I paired strawberries with lime for a very fresh tasting, zingy jam which is excellent on scones or toast; it is a fairly soft-set jam so wouldn’t be great for filling a cake, but when it comes to jam for breakfast or a cream tea I really do prefer a runnier set, and I find that it tastes fresher than a firmly set jam. Because strawberries are very low in pectin it is best to use jam sugar (sugar with added pectin) to make this jam; the lime does provide some, but I like to use jam sugar just to be sure of a set. You will also need to sterilise some jars (4-5 depending on size), this link shows you how to do that.
These scones are the quick, basic recipe I use when I want scones in a hurry, they are very easy and fast to make and are soft and delicious. You need to have a light touch when making scones to avoid them being tough; the dough should be on the sticky side and only handle it just enough to bring it together. When cutting the scones, plunge the cutter straight down without twisting it, this will help the scones to rise more evenly; and when you glaze the scones with egg wash, only brush it on the tops of the scones, don’t let any get down the sides or it will hinder the rise.
- 800g (28oz) strawberries (unprepared weight)
- 600g (21oz) jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)
- finely grated zest and juice of three small limes
- 450g (3 + ¾ cups) self-raising flour
- 2 rounded tsp baking powder
- 80g (1/3 cup) softened butter
- 60g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- about 225ml (scant cup) milk
- Hull and chop the strawberries, place in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan and use a potato masher to roughly mash them. Stir in the sugar and lime zest and juice then leave to macerate for about an hour.
- In the meantime sterilise your jars, you will need 4-5 of them depending on size. Place a couple of saucers in the freezer.
- Heat the strawberry mixture gently until the sugar has dissolved then bring up to a rapid boil. Boil hard for about 10 minutes then remove from the heat and dollop a teaspoon of the jam onto one of the frozen saucers. Leave for 30 seconds, then push at it with your finger; if the jam wrinkles and doesn’t flood to fill the gap then it is ready. If not, turn the heat back on and boil for 2 minutes more, then turn off the heat and do the wrinkle test again. Repeat until ready.
- Use a spoon to skim off any scum that has risen to the surface and discard it. Leave the jam to settle for 10 minutes then ladle it into the hot sterilised jars and place the lids on.
- The jam will keep for up to a year in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate once opened.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7 and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl, add the butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar.
- Beat the eggs together in a measuring jug then add enough milk to make it up to 300ml (1 + ¼ cups), whisk together then set aside 2tbsp of the mixture in a separate bowl to use for glazing the scones.
- Pour the remainder of the egg mixture into the flour and stir until you have a soft dough, it should be sticky but not wet.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten it out, either by patting it with your hands or with a rolling pin until it is about 2cm thick. Use a 5-10 cm fluted cutter (depending on whether you want mini or large scones) to cut out the scones, pressing it straight down through the dough then lifting it out without twisting.
- Gently press the dough scraps together, kneading only very lightly, then re-roll and cut out more scones.
- Arrange the scones on the baking trays and brush the tops (and only the tops) with the reserved egg mixture. Bake for 10-20 minutes (10 for small and about 20 for large) until risen, golden and firm to the touch.
- Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool covered with a clean tea towel to help keep them soft. Can be frozen once cool.
I am sharing this with Saucy Saturdays hosted by The Flavour Bender, Take Two Tapas, La Petit Chef and Mid-Life Croissant, Fiesta Friday hosted by A Pug In The Kitchen and Cooking Is My Sport, Foodie FriDIY, Foodie Friends Friday and Friday Features