Who doesn't love a tasty bit of jam and what could make it better than a cheeky bit of booze! This seasonal favourite is perfect for the Autumn when the damson's are fully ripe, a surprisingly simple jam to make and one that's made even more delicious with a splash of gin.
Ingredients (makes 4 jars)
85g caster sugar
30ml Martin Miller's Westbourne strength gin
This is best made when the damson's are freshly picked, take your damsons and weight out 1.2kg's worth, give them a rinse in a colander then cut them in half and de stone.
Before starting on your jam cut out small circles of baking paper to place inside your jars as a lid, you'll want them to be a fraction larger than the top of your jars. Cut out larger circles again to go on top once the jam has cooled in the jars.
Next, sterilise your jam jars. Give them a wash beforehand in hot soapy water then rinse and drain, then place upright onto a baking tray in the oven at 120c, this will ensure that they are warm enough to place the jam in once ready.
Place the damson's into a large preserving pan, a heavy bottomed large pan is best for this. Cover with the water and gently simmer until the fruit is soft and tender, this should take 20-25 minutes.
Once the fruit is tender add the sugar and give it a good stir until all of the sugar has dissolved, turn the ring up to full heat and bring it to a rolling boil for 12-15 minutes till you reach the setting point, you'll be able to tell that it's ready as the foamy bubbles will change to glossier bubbles, resulting in a darker, jammier mixture. All the while keep stirring occasionally to ensure that the jam doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once ready take the pan off the ring and stir in the gin, remove your jars from the oven and spoon your jam into each jar, as soon as you've filled each jar place one of the baking paper lids inside on top of the jam. Leave aside to cool for a few hours then place your larger baking paper lids on top, securing with string or elastic bands.
Your jam should keep well for several months, once cooled place them in a cool dark place. It's the perfect preserve for the autumn, and a delightfully cheeky one at that! The addition of the gin will help to preserve the jam, whilst also giving it a sweeter taste.
Why not try it on a warmed up on a crossaint, or layered inside a plain Victoria Sponge for a delicious treat!
Recipe adapted from Brighton Baker