The inspiration for today’s recipe came from some bubble bath. I bet that’s not a phrase that’s often bandied about on baking blogs, but it’s 100% true. I loved the smell of my Clementine and Prosecco bath soak so much that I knew I needed to make some jam based on it. And so my Clementine & Prosecco Jam was born.
I haven’t got much time for marmalade, I’m just not that sort of girl. It’s way too bitter, and I much prefer something sweet on my toast in the mornings (see this, this, and this for examples of just how sweet my breakfast-tooth can be). But I knew that there must be a way to turn everyone’s favourite breakfast fruit into something a bit sweeter. And there is.
Jam making isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be. If you’ve made chocolate truffles, custard, caramel, or curd, then you’ve already achieved something much harder than jam. Give it a go and see just how easy it can be. You’e only really going to need two ingredients – fruit and sugar. Depending on what fruit you are using, you may also need to add in some pectin, which helps thicken up the fruit into a jelly. Oranges have a bit of pectin in them naturally, but we’re going to help the jam along a bit by using jam sugar instead of regular white sugar.
Jam sugar is a mixture of white sugar and pectin, and so is pretty much perfect for this Clementine & Prosecco Jam. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be a UK thing, so if you can’t get hold of jam sugar where you are, then just use regular sugar with the juice of one whole lemon (rather than the half in the recipe below), which supercharges the naturally occurring pectin in the oranges. You might end up with a slightly runnier jam, but it will still be perfect for smothering on some warm toast.
Another important jam lesson is to make sure the jar you are going to use has been sterilised, to stop the jam from going off too quickly. This BBC guide will show you everything you need to know about sterilising, but it really is as easy as washing with warm water, and then drying in the oven on a low temperature whilst you make the jam.
But what about knowing when the jam is ready? If you’ve got a candy (or sugar) thermometer then the magic temperature you are looking to hit is 105°C or 220°F, which is when the jam will reach its setting point. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, then you can check if the jam is set using the old fashioned method, as follows:
- Before beginning to make the jam, put a saucer or small plate into the freezer.
- Once you think the jam is ready, get the plate out of the freezer and place a teaspoon of the jam onto it. Return it to the freezer for a couple of minutes.
- Once the jam has chilled, push it with your finger. If it wrinkles and feels like a gel, then it is ready. If not, then heat the jam up a little more and the repeat the test.
You will also see that the recipe below calls for a little bit of butter to be added right at the end. This isn’t just to add some more unhealthiness to the party, but will also help get rid of any of the scum that you haven’t managed to scoop off the top of the jam yet. And no one wants a scummy jam really, do they?
- 400g (14.1 oz) clementines (about 5 or 6)
- 300g (1½ cups) jam sugar
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 80ml (1/3 cup) prosecco
- 15g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
- Peel and break apart the clementines, chopping each segment in half to remove any pips. Place the clementine pieces into a food processor or blender and blitz until as smooth as possible.
- Place the pureed clementines into a large saucepan, along with the jam sugar, lemon juice, and prosecco. Heat on medium-high until the mixture boils, stirring frequently. Once boiling, turn down to a medium setting and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until the jam is at setting point (105°C or 220°F) or the jam passes the saucer test (see post above).
- Once the jam is ready, remove from the heat and scoop any scum floating on the top off with a spoon or ladle. Add the cubed butter and mix well until entirely incorporated.
- Leave the jam to cool whilst you sterilise your jam jar(s). To do this, wash the jars in warm, soapy water, and then place in the oven at 150°C / 300°F (130°C fan) for 15 minutes.
- Once the jars have been sterilised and the jars have cooled slightly, fill with the jam. Cover with greaseproof paper or baking parchment, and then securely cover with a lid. Store the jam in the fridge if possible, or at least in a cool dark place to prolong its life.
- The jam should stay fresh for 3 to 4 weeks if stored in the fridge.