Friday, 3 February 2012

Pear and Vanilla Jam

Been busy jam making this week and this was one of the best to emerge from the bubbling pots on my cooker. The pale golden colour with flecks of black vanilla just begs to be eaten and let me tell you its mmmmm. So good on toast, rice pudding, ice cream, biscuits, the list goes on. A boring slice of toast in the morning can be ramped up with this jam. It was so easy to make but well worth the effort. Oh and you don't actually need pectin for very many jams. There's usually a way around using it, so I'm not sure why so many recipes call for pectin. So far anyway, I haven't needed to use it, just some good old lemon juice works just as well. I have just been making small batches, which works quite well to retain the flavour of he fruit. You can multiply the quantities used here up to 1 or 2 kg at most I would say. Any more and it will be hard to get the fruit to cook quite evenly. 


Makes 2 small jars

400g pears
200g granulated sugar
juice of three quarters of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean pod

Peel, and chop the pears, removing any seeds. Add to a medium pot. Place the sugar in a stainless steel bowl or pot and place in the oven at 110C for about 15 minutes. It should be hot to the touch when you remove it, but be careful not to let it caramelise. Pour the lemon juice and the sugar over the pears. Slice open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Add these to the pot along with the bean and stir well. Leave for approximately 2 hours. This will allow the flavours to develop and somehow makes the jam work to become a jam! I'm not a scientist!

Put a plate in the fridge to chill. When you return to the jam, heat slowly on a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Make sure it is completely dissolved before you turn up the heat or you will be left with a grainy jam. When you are sure it is dissolved, turn up the heat to a rolling boil, where stirring it will not stop the bubbling of the boil. Keep cooking but check for a set regularly do it is not overcooked. Do this by taking the chilled plate from the fridge and spoon a little blob onto the plate and put it back in the fridge for about 15 seconds. When you remove it, if you push your finger through it, it should wrinkle and not move very move. You don't want it sliding down the plate. 

Remove from the plate and leave it to rest for another 15 minutes before transferring to hot sterilised jars. 

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