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Pear, Basil and Ginger Jam

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This flavour combination may sound familiar, if you’ve read my Rock Salt blog before. I made a pear, ginger and basil sorbet a while back, which was a great success as far as I was concerned, apart from it leaping out of my hands when I went to serve it and landing all over the kitchen floor…

This time I used the flavour combination to make jam, which I think will be lovely in some little jam tarts (preferably ones with stars on top) or as a filling for a sponge, or maybe swirled through some rice pudding. I think jam is quite under-rated, really. Maybe jam isn’t the right word – perhaps I should be describing it as a conserve, or preserve, or compote. Nevertheless, jam is what it is.

Pear, Basil and Ginger Jam:

  • 4 dessert pears
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 cubes crystallised ginger
  • 25 basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups jam sugar

The recipe started with four under-ripe dessert pears. They were under-ripe in the way that all pears, everywhere, are under-ripe until you turn your back for a moment and then they are one good prod away from being a vaguely pear-scented puddle. They are the tricksiest of all fruit. To combat this under-ripeness, I stewed the pears with the lemon juice, water and ginger until they were softened. Then I pureed the whole lot, with the basil, until smooth.

I poured the mix into a small pot and brought up to a boil – this didn’t take long, with the puree still being hot from stewing. I added the jam sugar and boiled, stirring occasionally, until the jam was thick and passed the cold plate test. I would love to be able to think of a hilarious explanation of the cold plate test, but right now one eludes me. It’s a method of telling if your jam is ready; you take out a tiny amount on a spoon and put it on a cold plate. Leave it for a minute, then when you drag your finger over it, the surface should wrinkle. Then you know your jam will set when it’s at room temperature.

I poured the jam into a jar and left out at room temperature to cool down before putting it in the fridge. That’s it! Just a tiny post today; once I’ve used the jam for something lovely I’ll post that, too. In the meantime, suggestions for what the cold plate test might be are more than welcome in the comments.

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983.

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