It was quite hot here in Perth over Christmas. I had to go back to work two days after Christmas, and it was a very warm 41C that day. On top of that the air conditioner at work wasn’t working, resulting in a very unpleasant day. After a very warm day at work, of course it made perfect sense to me to come home and make Cherry Jam. In my defence, I did have what I think is a valid reason for putting myself through a session in front of the stove top in that heat.

On Christmas day my parents gave me a 2kg box of cherries (thanks Mum and Dad). Now I love cherries, but there is no way I can get through 2kg and I really didn’t want to waste them. So, I decided to try making a batch of cherry jam. I’ve never made jam before, though I’ve made lemon butter quite a bit. I found a recipe on-line, bought a cherry pitter and some jam sugar and I was ready to go as I’d already been saving jam jars for a while. I then decided that I needed to make something for the jam to go with, so I made a batch of Lemonade Scones that I had recently learnt from Sarah at babyCakes. I had all the ingredients already at home, although my lemonade was a bit flat which I think resulted in less of a rise than usual. But they still tasted great.

I have to say in the end the heat got to me a bit. The jam probably needed another 5 minutes on the stove to make it thicker, but I stopped as soon as I had any kind of set as it was getting very warm by then. I was still very happy with the result. It tastes great on scones. I’ve even spooned it on top of yoghurt for a quick and simple after dinner snack.

Jam and scones

Cherry Jam

Makes enough for five 350/370g jam jars

Ingredients

  • 1kg fresh cherries, pitted and halved (weight is final weight)
  • ½ cup (125ml) lemon juice (juice of between 2-3 lemons)
  • 1kg jam sugar

Method

  1. Wash the jam jars and lids and rinse well. Sterilise the jars either by running in the dishwasher, or placing in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes. I had my oven at 160C fan forced. Place a couple of small plates/saucers in the freezer to cool.
  2. Place the cherries in a large saucepan and crush with either a potato masher or wooden spoon to release their juices. Add the lemon juice and place over a low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cherries are tender. This took between 10-15 minutes for me, although the original recipe said 5 minutes.
  3. Once tender, add the sugar and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Increase the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil (where the mix bubbles rapidly and continuously). Cook for 4 minutes and then check if mix has reached setting point. To do this, remove one of the small plates from the freezer and place a spoon of the jam on the plate. Return to the freezer until the jam is cold. Touch with your finger to see if the jam has set, or run your finger through the middle. If it remains a jam like consistency, and doesn’t move it is done. If not set, return to the boil for a few more minutes and then repeat the above test.
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Then ladle the hot jam into the jars (be careful, it is very hot – don’t touch the jars without something protecting your hand or you will burn yourself). Attach the lids and then turn upside down for a few minutes. Then return upright and leave to cool. Label, date and store in a cool dark place. Refrigerate after opening.

Scones

Lemonade scones

Ingredients

  • 325g self raising flour
  • 170ml lemonade (fizzy)
  • 170ml thickened cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan forced (180C).
  2. Place the flour into a bowl and add the cream and lemonade. There is no need to sift the flour. Mix gently to form a sticky dough. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface and knead only enough to bring it together and give a flat/smooth surface. Roll out until it is about 2cm thick. You can use your hands to do this, a rolling pin isn’t necessary.
  3. Dip a round cutter in flour (you can make the scones whatever size you like, mini or regular) and cut out the scones and place on a baking tray a few centimetres apart. If you don’t have a round cutter, use a small glass.
  4. Bring together the remaining dough, roll out and cut until all the dough has been used.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked and slightly golden. I used a 5 ½ cm cutter and they took the full 15 minutes.

Lemonade scone recipe from Sarah Brigden at babyCakes.

Cherry Jam recipe adapted from – Cherry Jam at Taste.com.au