The Musette: oven-roasted strawberry jam

I love making jams, marmalades and chutneys though I generally only make enough for our own needs. Occasionally I’ll make more to give as gifts for visitors and hosts.

I like making jam in the oven because it makes so much less mess. I know it sounds a bit strange but the result will quickly make you a convert because the fruit’s natural and added sugars slowly caramelise in the oven while the fruit reduces and concentrates its wonderful fragrent flavour. I should warn you that this will be the most intensely flavoured strawberry jam you will ever sample.

This particular batch was made from cut-price strawberries from a farm stall. It’s great for when you need to use up those quickly ripening berries in the fridge or when they are on sale at the local market. Frozen strawberries also work well in this jam, as does any ripe fruit.

This phenomenal jam gives your morning toast or “tartine”an instant upgrade but deserves to be centre stage in lots of delicious desserts too. It is amazing in a simple whipped cream “fool”, a delicious filling for turnovers or an outstanding topping for cheesecake. Any dessert in which you would use strawberry preserves or jam will be made even better by adding this intensely flavourful jam. It’s delicious on scones – recipe coming soon!

Ingredients

  • 1kg (2lbs) very ripe strawberries washed, hulled and quartered
  • 200g (1 cup) jam (preserving) or granulated sugar
  • juice of a freshly squeezed organic orange and lemon
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) orange flavoured liquer, I used Cointreau (optional)

Method

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large glass bowl, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

2. When the sugar has dissolved, put into an ovenproof container and roast in the oven at 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 (350°F), stirring occasionally until the jam reduces and the juice almost completely boils off approx. 3 hours.

3. Watch it closely toward the end of the cooking time because the sugars will be very concentrated and will more easily burn.

4. Pour jam into sterilised jars and seal. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.