I finally found some beautiful large tart cherries and even though they are frozen the taste and aroma remain intact. I have been refining my jam recipes and experimenting with the French style of canning which reduces cooking time because the fruit is marinated with the sugar and lemon juice overnight. The result is rich and fruity and a slightly smoother set. It’s certainly an excellent tart cherry jam, and on toasted tart dough … heaven!
For the recipe you will need:
1 kg cherries, pitted
800 g of sugar
juice of 2 lemons
(for the pectin: turn the lemon peel inside out and remove all the membranes and stir with the seeds in a muslin bag, and reserve for the next day)
You will also need several glass jars with tight-fitting lids. These must be sterilized before use. There are several ways to do this. Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to wash and rinse the jars and then spray the clean jars with a mixture of pure alcohol and water (70% alcohol to 30% water) and wipe with a clean, dry towel. Otherwise, boil the jars and lids for at least thirty minutes in water and allow to dry in a hot oven.
You will need to allow two days for this recipe, but the total time is not long. To start, gently mix the cherries, lemon juice, and sugar together and let sit overnight in a ceramic or glass bowl. The next day, put a small plate in the freezer to chill; We will use it later to test the setting point of the jam. Then, in a small saucepan, bring the fruit and sugar to a brief boil and then strain the juice into a large saucepan. Also place the muslin bag in this saucepan. Bring the syrup to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the drained fruit and return to a boil, stirring occasionally. If the jam rises too quickly or foams, add a little unsalted butter. After 15 minutes, do your first test. Take the cold plate out of the freezer and pour a teaspoon of jam over it. Return the plate to the freezer for a couple of minutes, then press against the side of the small puddle with your finger. It’s probably not ready yet, but it will need to be checked every five minutes or so … when wrinkles form in the puddle, the jam is ready. Once done, take out the muslin bag and squeeze it to release the juices and pectin that will have formed from the lemon membranes. Let the jam sit for about 10 minutes for the fruit to set. Pour into sterilized jars and invert until cool. I like to apply handmade labels with the date and a nice illustration or stamp.