Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Plumbrillo, turning it to your advantage

Sometimes mistakes or errors of judgement can work in one´s favour. I recently made a batch of  plum and ginger jam, but having let my attention wander from the preserving pan I carelessly allowed the jam to go a little past setting point, resulting in the jam being of a slightly stickier consistency than I would normally desire.That is the problem with jam making, if you take your eye off it for just one minute it can go horribly wrong.
 Our friend Hilary was staying with us and I asked her if she would pass judgement on it for her breakfast.
Instead of dutifully anointing her toast with the aforementioned jam she admitted to spooning it all out of the bowl and straight into her mouth and was now, perhaps due to a sudden sugar rush, excitedly incumbent with a suggestion. She told me to throw it all back in the pan and continue cooking it until it became more of a jelly, then serve it slathered with chocolate. Her first idea got my brain working overtime and my thoughts immediately turned to membrillo, the quince paste that is practically the national snack of Spain when paired with Manchego, sheep’s milk cheese, and the Portuguese version marmelada partnered with Nisa cheese.Events were moving in my favour and following a little researchI found out that membrillo and marmelada have to be seived so they have a smooth texture.I couldn´t just re-cycle my existing jam I would have to start again from scratch.

1.25kg black or red plums,stoned and quartered
350ml water
500g bag of jam sugar(with added pectin)
75g freshly grated ginger root

Stone and quarter the fruit, then put them and the ginger into a preserving pan.
Add 350ml water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until completely cooked down, pulpy and a dark ruby  red colour
Sieve the pulp and its juices through a sieve back into the pan-making sure you get every bit of pulp out of the mix.
Stir in the sugar,then keep stirring over a low heat until dissolved.Turn up the heat and let it bubble for 25 minutes or until you have a thick, dark fruity purée. Keep stirring so that the mixture does not catch on the bottom of the pan.It´s ready when a wooden spoon leaves a trail along the bottom of the pan for a split second before the paste floods back into the gap.
Pour the mixture into shallow ceramic or parchment lined plastic trays, seal, then leave to set.
Serve with triangular wedges of Manchego.
Keeps refrigerated for up to 6 months.

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