Monday 9 September 2013

Peach, vanilla and chilli jam

I had the notion that I would like the flavours in this jam, but I wasn't willing to commit to a full-sized quantity - so this makes a tiny little batch. The flavours do work very well, so next time I would do it with 1kg of fruit. I'd say that the chilli warmth is subtle, Paul says it is non-existent. There is a little lime for brightness and vanilla beans for more fragrance and a slight crunch. Nothing to overwhelm the beautiful ripe peach flavour.

Peach, vanilla and chilli jam (makes 2 small jars)

400g peaches (I used lovely ripe yellow peaches)
Juice and grated zest of a lime
350g jam sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced

Blanch the peaches briefly, then peel and slice. If your peaches turn out to be clingstone, just sort of mulch them in your hands to get the flesh off the stones.

Put the peaches, lime zest and juice in a heavy-based saucepan and cook over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes, until it softens and the juices run. Add the sugar, vanilla and chilli, and stir while the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat. Cook at a galloping boil until it reaches setting point - which is about 105C, but I like to double check with the old saucer-in-the-freezer method.

Allow to settle for 10 minutes then pot into sterilised jars.
The chilli certainly isn't anything that would take this jam into predominantly savoury uses, although I think it could be really delicious paired with goats cheese somehow. The main challenge for us in finding uses for it is that really the only time we eat jam is with scones and Paul has a very firm strawberry-only policy on scones.

I did use one jar in a luscious Peach Melba inspired trifle. Paul's family always has trifle at Christmas, but I see it as a year-round treat, ringing the changes with seasonal fruits.

I put a layer of savoiardi biscuits in the bottom of my trifle dish, and gave them a sprinkling of Chambord, then spread the peach jam over them. Next was a good layer of beautiful British raspberries - have to take advantage of them while they are around - which I arranged fairly carefully around the edges so  it'd look pretty. Then a layer of custard. I will never make as good a custard as Waitrose, sadly.
That all went into the fridge over night to allow the biscuits to absorb the juices and swell and become tender and cakey.

For the garnish, I roasted some hazelnuts, then made a light caramel and poured a little pool over each nut. As soon as it was cool enough to handle, I rolled the caramel around each one, to give a thick toffee coating.
Unfortunately, at this point I discovered a hole in my education. Somehow, I have lived in the UK for seven years and never been told that you can't whip single cream. I had assumed that single cream was what in Australia is called "cream". But it is not. So I had a bowl of cream that refused to mount and nothing to top the trifle with.

So on our way over to dinner, we stopped in at the supermarket and bought a can of squirty cream. Not ideal but there you go. At least it wasn't "lite" squirty cream.
The cream from those aerosol cans isn't very stable, so just at serving time I squirted on a good thick layer (mostly air - this is actually much less cream than I would have used had it been proper whipped cream) and garnished it with my toffeed hazelnuts and some freeze-dried raspberries.

It was a wonderful dessert. The perfect combination of flavours and textures, not too sweet and not too filling at the end of a large meal.


Barbara said...

Your jam looks lovely and I can think of all sorts of ways to use it. Like the slight kick in it.

GingerSnap said...

Sounds like a great mix of flavors! And that trifle looks delicious too, despite the store-bought cream ;)

Rachel said...

Decadent! Love it. As if that jam wasn't toothsome enough, those little hazelnuts look like gems.

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

The flavours of the jam sound amazing. I like what you've done with the hazelnuts, too.

Choclette said...

Jam and trifle look beautiful both. I made peach and vanilla jam last year which was a complete success, but like you jam isn't something we eat very often. Luckily, I seem to have a large number of cakes in which the jam can sit quite nicely.

The single cream bit made me laugh - we do seem to have an inordinate number of cream types over here in the UK and I love everyone of them.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Barbara - it'd be lovely on toast, but I very rarely have jam on toast.

Gingersnap - the bought cream was a bit of a letdown!

Rachel - aren't they pretty? I was so happy with how my little asteroids turned out.

Leaf - lucky you, coming into stonefruit season! You can give it a go.

Choclette - peach and vanilla jam is so lovely!

grace said...

i love apple jam laced with hot peppers, and i think a peach version would be just as lovely. i hope you find an acceptable ratio of ingredients!

Joanne said...

I love jams and jellies with just a hint of spice! This sounds fabulous!

Heather S-G said...

I love the sound of sweet juicy peach infused with a hint of spice and a hint of vanilla - end of summer perfection, really.

And those caramel rolled hazelnuts!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Grace - you've reminded me that I have some apple & chilli jelly in the pantry.

Joanne - the flavours work so well together!

Heather - I was SO delighted about the hazelnuts!

mscrankypants said...

How did I miss this post? Delicious on all counts!

Deb in Hawaii said...

The jam sounds wonderful and the trifle looks amazing but I am drooling over those little jewels of caramelized hazelnuts--yum! ;-)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Cranky - thanks!

Deb - I am definitely going to do the hazelnuts again!


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