Recipe: Fridge Blueberry Jam – perfect with pancakes!

With Shrove Tuesday on the horizon I’ve been busy in the kitchen making my annual pot of Fridge Blueberry Jam. I call it Fridge Blueberry Jam because it’s not quite a set jam and it’s not quite a fruit sauce or compote; it’s somewhere in between. It’s a simple recipe which doesn’t require any great skill, but the results are worth a bit of pot watching and stirring.

Recipe: Fridge Blueberry Jam - perfect with pancakes!

I only make this jam once a year, it’s really easy to throw together and I use frozen blueberries which make everything a little bit more economical. My recipe makes a big jar of jam, but I have to hide it because if I don’t it mysteriously disappears before Pancake Day. The Fridge Blueberry Jam is to my mind at least, the perfect accompaniment to pancakes. My favourite thing is to make American style blueberry pancakes and then spoon this runny, oozing jam over the top. Sometimes I might have some cream, sometimes I might have some syrup. Sometimes the blueberry jam is enough!

Fridge Blueberry Jam

500g blueberries (I used frozen but fresh is fine too)
250g preserving sugar
30mls water
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon

In a large pan ( a preserving one if you have one, don’t worry if not) over a medium heat; tip in all of your ingredients and stir until the sugar melts. Feel free to bash some of the blueberries about a bit with the back of a wooden spoon; this will help them release some juice.

Bring the blueberries up to a low rolling boil. It’s better to take this slow and steady than rush it and push it too far. At this stage put one or two clean jars in a low oven to sterilise them.

Keep an eye on your blueberry jam, keep stirring and after a while you should feel it start to thicken. Scoop any foamy scum off the top (this is just impurities from the fruit and the sugar, it’s not harmful at all) and discard.

Take a cold plate (if you put it in the fridge to chill, that’ll help) and put a dribble of the blueberry jam on. Leave it to cool and if it sets to the consistency you want, then your fridge jam is ready to be put in the jars. If not, keep stirring and testing the jam regularly.

Recipe: Fridge Blueberry Jam - perfect with pancakes!

When it’s ready, carefully remove your jars from the oven (they will be incredibly hot) and pour in your blueberry jam. We use a wide necked funnel for this, but filling a jug and pouring it into the jar works just as well. Work quickly and carefully and get the lids on your jars while everything is still hot.

Leave your jam to cool and them pop it in the fridge for when you need it. I’d take it out of the fridge an hour before you need it if you can. It just takes the chill off it.

Enjoy spooned over pancakes, or it’s excellent on crumpets!

If you enjoyed this fruity recipe, you might also like my recipe for Plum Jelly.

Recipe: Fridge Blueberry Jam - perfect with pancakes!

Easy Recipe: Speedy Microwave Jam Sponge

In the early 1980s my Grandma (who was a professional cook) got herself a microwave and dedicated her retirement to figuring out how to use it. Her microwave cheffing was never considered a success. You could break your teeth on her sponge cakes and her scrambled eggs bounced. Everything which came out of her microwave was a disaster, which was enormously disappointing for someone who could make patisserie that would make French Chefs weep with jealousy.

I have shied away from microwave cookery, bar reheating leftovers, pinging ready meals and giving jacket potatoes a head start; the thought of baking a cake in the microwave sends me straight back to 1985 and I was resolved never to try it. That was until I was sent a jar of Duerr’s Rhubarb and Custard Homebaking Jam, the jam has been formulated to behave itself when heated, so it doesn’t go chewy like other jams might. Additionally it tastes just like those rhubarb and custard sweets I used to be addicted to as a child.

We decided it would be best to make a jam sponge and custard with this really lovely yummy jam (I had already liberally smeared some on a croissant for quality control purposes). I love steamed puddings, but who has the time? So I decided it was worth me tentatively experimenting with a microwaved version, what’s the worst that can happen?

I made my usual sponge recipe and popped it in the microwave for four minutes, checked it, decided it needed another two minutes and it was perfect. It was by far the lightest, fluffiest sponge pudding we’ve had in a long, long time. It took just ten minutes from weighing the ingredients to pouring custard over the finished pudding and filling our faces. This really is the perfect pudding if you need something quick, warming, universally popular and drowned in custard.

jam sponge

My microwave is 850 watts, yours may be different, so it might be best, at least the first time you make this, to reduce the cooking time, check it, and then check it ever minute until it’s cooked to your satisfaction. I originally guessed at 4 minutes, but my 850 watt microwave took 6 minutes to get to sponge perfection.

Microwaved Jam Sponge Pudding (serves 6)
4oz Sugar
4oz Butter or Margarine (I always use Stork)
2 medium eggs
4oz self raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Half a jar of Jam (I used Duerr’s Rhubarb and Custard Homebaking Jam)

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir through the eggs.
2. Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently combine.
3. Dollop your jam on the bottom of a large microwavable bowl, gently (very gently so as not to disturb the jam) dollop the sponge mixture on top of the jam and smooth it so it’s fairly evenly distributed.
4. Microwave for six minutes (check this often as it’s really easy to quickly overcook things in the microwave).
5. Once cooked, remove carefully from the microwave and eat while it’s still warm.

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream, or whatever takes your fancy.

This is ridiculously quick and easy, incredibly tasty and really, really popular. I think my Grandma would be really proud that I finally cracked the mystery of microwave baking.

Easy Recipe: Speedy Microwave Jam Sponge