A recipe from the Preservespart of the final chapter of the book and a recipe that I have been putting off for a good while because it seemed like the most pointless preserve. The two main ingredients, you see, are tinned pineapples and dried apricots WHICH ARE ALREADY PRESERVED! What is the point of that!?
Jane tells us that her mother made this jam during the war, but lost the recipe, but then a stroke of luck; someone sent her a recipe, decades later. And here it is below. I suppose it makes a little bit of sense jazzing up the pineapple and apricots into a jam for high tea at a time of rationing.
The recipe uses not the dried apricots you typically find with the dried fruit in the supermarket, but the kind you find dried whole and rock-hard, with their stones inside. These are readily available at your local Asian grocers.
To begin, you need to soak a pound of the dried apricots in 2 ½ pints of cold water overnight. Take out the stones and crack them open to find the almond-scented kernels within. I find the best way to do this job is to put a dozen or so of the stones in a freezer bag and then swiftly crack them with a hammer. The bag stops the stones from flying everywhere, and a short swift crack with a hammer ensures that – in the main – the stones remain whole.
Put the soaking water along with the apricot flesh in a simmer gently for 30 minutes. Whilst they cook, drain a 12 ounce (375g) tin of pineapple, reserving the juice. Chop the pineapple quite small. Add the juice, the pineapple and kernels to the pan along with 3 pounds of sugar(granulated will do fine) and 4 ounces of blanched, slivered almonds. Bring to a rolling boil until setting point is reached using a sugar thermometer (104⁰C) or by the wrinkle test on a cold saucer.
Let the jam sit for 10 minutes before potting into hot, sterilised jars.
#385 Apricot and Pineapple Jam. This is a great-looking and great-tasting jam. It looks like bejewelled honey with those almonds and kernels floating in there. It doesn’t taste as sweet as I thought it would, and is delicious on toast or in jam tarts. It seems that, although the ingredients did not need further preservation, a jam was created that was greater than the sum of their parts. All art is useless, as Oscar Wilde said. Very good: 8/10.