Jam Session (in the Oven)
Since I shared the recipe for my most favorite polka-dot jam tart a few months ago, I have made it over and over again. With rhubarb jam, raspberry/apricot jam – I even made it with Nutella, a spin on my husband’s idea for Nutella hamantaschen. A sweet, buttery, cornmeal crust with just a touch of salt, and a filling of any jam you like, let’s just put it this way – I have a lot of empty jam jars to fill now. So off to the market I went for fresh fruit…
My jam du jour: raspberry. I imagine it would be fun to make jam the old fashioned way in a huge copper cauldron, mixing the day away as if it were a witch’s brew. But I wanted a small batch for now – and simple – one that wouldn’t require me watching temperatures, playing with pectin or having to stay close to the pot while it bubbled away. I remember reading about an easy jam making method by Nigella Lawson, where you actually “bake” the fruit and the sugar in the oven. The same weight of each in separate pans, and not even a half an hour later – voilà, you’ve got homemade jam. Apparently the act of mixing boiling sugar to the hot fruit creates instantaneous jam. Hard to believe, right? That’s what I thought too.
But as I eat my sweet raspberry jam out of the jar with a spoon, and think about tomorrow morning’s breakfast, I can say, thank you Nigella, it worked. It’s so simple, you’ll definitely want to set the timer. You’ll walk away and forget you even have a batch of jam in the oven.
Okay, so it is a little bit more liquid than I am used to, but it’s always nice to try new techniques and discover different textures. The jam is perfect swirled into thick yogurt, spooned on to a tartine with thick salted butter or on a croissant, and not bad as a topping for pancakes either. When you take the two pans out of the oven, they looked unchanged, as if you forgot to turn the oven on. Do NOT touch them to make sure you did! The second your wooden spoon hits the raspberries, they will start to sizzle, and the mixture of the two will show you that yes your oven was in fact on – and cooking your jam!
Baked Raspberry Jam
250 grams (8 3/4 oz) fresh raspberries
250 grams (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons) sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Put the raspberries and sugar each in their own shallow ovenproof dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and VERY carefully pour sugar onto the berries. It will sizzle when mixed – and be careful, it’s scolding! Pour mixture immediately into jar, seal shut and let cool. (Turn it upside down a few times as it cools in case some of the sugar tries to settle to the bottom.)
* Important: It will not be as thick nor will it keep as long as conventional preserves. It must be kept in the refrigerator. I would say try to eat it within 2 weeks, but there should be no problem there once you taste it…