Miranda Gore Browne invited the “Jam Mistress” Vivien Lloyd – www.vivienlloyd.com – to join her in her Chalon kitchen for a spot of jammy baking. Keen to learn how to make the perfect strawberry jam, little did Miranda know that she was challenging Vivien to make her “preserving nemesis”!
Arguably the “Nation’s Favourite,” perfect strawberry jam is hard to achieve but rising to the challenge, Viv set aside memories of burnt pans and runny, un-set jams, and with bountiful supplies of beautiful Sweet Eve strawberries taught Miranda every step of the process.
Before jam making commenced, the Chalon worktable hosted a delicious jammy tasting session so Miranda knew exactly how her perfect jam should look, smell and taste! Miranda thought they tasted “like childhood in a jar” as they brought back memories of homemade jam she had enjoyed when she was little.
Most varieties of strawberries are low in pectin, which makes strawberry jam one of the hardest to set. To counteract the low pectin content, Viv used recipes with pectin stock made from cooking apples or red currants. They also had great success adding fragrant rose petals to the jam. The kitchen smelt heavenly as we chopped strawberries, simmered fruit and bubbled jam on the AGA.
As the jam cooled and set in the jars, Miranda prepared her first bake, Simple sultana scones. With so many recipes for scones, Viv and Miranda had the perfect opportunity to discuss the stages of making and baking, and Miranda shared all her tips with Vivien.
Vivien’s rose petal jam inspired Miranda to make a Strawberry Macaroon Cake – the recipe for which will be in her new book ‘Bake me a Cake as Fast as you Can’ published by Ebury, August 2014. Read more details here.
Layers of almond macaroon sandwiched with mascarpone cream, strawberry and rose jam, fresh strawberries and drizzled with Vivien’s rose syrup. This makes a gorgeous summery pudding.
Warm scones, homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream were the perfect way to end the jammy baking day in Miranda’s kitchen.
Makes about 2.25kg
Vivien’s recipe for Strawberry Jam
1.4kg (3lb) hulled, strawberries
225g (8oz)apple pulp
1.4kg 3lb granulated cane sugar
1. Weigh your pan and record the weight. Prepare the apple pulp. Peel core and thinly slice two large cooking apples. Put these in a pan 100ml cold water. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the apple is reduced to a pulp. Stir occasionally to prevent the apple from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Weigh the pulp and reserve 225g. Warm the sugar in a low oven, 140C ( 120C Fan) /275F/Gas 1.
2. Put the strawberries into a large pan. Simmer until the fruit softens, about 10- 20 minutes. Check the weight of the pan. Aim for 2lb 12oz (softened strawberries plus the weight of your pan).
3. Add the apple pulp to the pan. Remove the sugar from the oven and place clean jars in the oven to warm for 10 minutes.
4. Add the sugar to the preserving pan and stir until it has dissolved. Bring the jam quickly to a rolling boil and boil hard until setting point is reached. Test for a set after 7 minutes using the flake, cold plate or thermometer test. For a flake test, dip a large spoon into the pan and scoop out a spoonful. Lift the spoon above the pan and turn it horizontally. If the jam has reached setting point of 104.5°C ( 220°F) it will drip then hang on the side of the spoon.
5. Weigh the pan and check you have a weight of 5lb (the yield of jam for this recipe) plus the weight of the pan. As soon as setting point is reached, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes. Push any scum from the surface of the pan to the side and remove it with a metal spoon.
6. Gently stir the jam and pour it into warm, clean jars, up to the brim. Seal the jars immediately with new twist top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed to set!
Stay in touch with Miranda via Twitter: