Is this a problem other people have? Possibly not, cause I’m a bit weird and I don’t really eat much bread so I don’t eat much toast and jam. But I’ve gotten really into making preserves over the past couple years so I end up with jars and jars of the stuff. Of course I give most of it away to friends, but you feel like you ought to keep one jar of each variety you make and even that ends up being loads more than I’ll ever eat. So here I am about to move house and trying to clear out the fridge – there are jars and jars of condiments that I refuse to throw away because I really love my condiments ok? So I decided to find some tasty recipes to finish off all those jars of jam instead!
Five recipes for using up preserves:
- Salad dressings and other savoury recipes: This excellent little article sums up a few ideas for using up excess jam by turning it into fruity salad dressings amongst other suggestions.
- Marmalade cake: This Nigel Slater recipe is an absolute winner. It’s one of those cakes that is super simple to make but everyone asks for the recipe like it’s the best thing they’ve ever tasted. You could even use homemade marmalade if you’re feeling ambitious – the Seville oranges which are the best to use are at the end of their season now so why not give it a try? I used the dependable Delia’s marmalade recipe as a guide but needed slightly less poaching time for my fruit and quite a bit less sugar than she recommends…
- Thumbprint cookies: Thumbprint cookies are a classic and I’d been meaning to try them for a while. Using up those jam jars was the perfect excuse as you can fill these little sugar cookies with any flavour of jam, from strawberry and raspberry to blackberry or marmalade. I’d also hoped to post the recipe here but they just weren’t up to scratch as they spread massively (hence the lack of pics of the final products). Boo. They tasted great but next time I’m going to try this impressive sounding ‘no fail sugar cookie recipe’ that promises not to spread and see if I can get them looking good too!
In the meantime I learned some top tips for avoiding cookie spread in future: don’t overbeat the sugar and butter (30 seconds maximum says Mr Lebovitz!), let the dough rest in the fridge or freezer before baking, don’t use a baking tray that’s still hot from the previous batch and make sure your oven temperature is correct and stable (preheat at least 30 minutes and err on the side of a hotter oven if unsure as a low temperature is often the cause of spreading). Lots to remember oy vey but I am determined to stop the spread…
- Bakewell tart: This is another classic, in England anyway, where the very fake and pre-packaged version sold by Mr Kipling (complete with a glace cherry on top) is a staple in almost every shop. But I didn’t fully understand what Mr K was imitating until I had a homemade version at a fab local coffee shop (Treacle and Co in Hove for you Brightonians!) Ever since then I’ve been itching to try making this myself and the result was pretty yum. And it gave me my first excuse to make a ‘frangipane’ – best. cooking word. ever. Recipe below…
- Crescent jam and cheese cookies: These have been on my list to try for ages and I still haven’t gotten around to it but they look epic. I’d trust Smitten Kitchen with my life so get in and give them a go (and let me know how you get on)!
Raspberry Bakewell Tart
Adapted from BBC Good Food, makes one tart in a 24cm tin
- 125g plain flour
- 75g unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 25g caster sugar
- 1 tsp milk
- 1 egg yolk (save the egg white to brush the pastry case)
- Mix the flour and sugar together.
- Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or food processor until you have pea-sized lumps (more top tips on making pastry here – it’s easier than you think!).
- Add the egg yolk and milk and mix until a dough forms. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough and place into your tart tin. Fill with baking beads or dried beans and bake at 180C / 350F degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, remove the baking beads and brush with egg yolk to seal out the moisture from the jam which will go on top. Return to the oven for another two minutes.
- 6-8 tbsp raspberry jam
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- Zest of an orange or lemon
- 1 tsp almond essence (optional)
- Flaked almonds to decorate
- While the pastry case is baking, mix together the butter and sugar until combined.
- Stir in the eggs, then add the ground almonds and zest. A bit of almond essence will give an even stronger almond flavour – more similar to a Mr Kiplings but a bit fake for my taste buds so I left it out – up to you!
- Once the pastry case has been pre-baked with the egg white to seal, remove from the oven and spread the jam on top. I used about 6 tbsp and felt I would’ve preferred even more flavour from the jam so might use more next time but it depends on personal preference.
- Top the jam with the almond filling. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove and sprinkle with flaked almonds (I just sliced up some whole almonds instead of buying these specially). Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Eat warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you can. Yum!
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