On my last trip to the gigantic Cape Town fruit & vegetable market in Epping I managed to find what must be the first of the seasons raspberries. Having to purchase everything in larger volumes at this trader's market I came home with 20 punnets of these beautiful pink- red berries.
Half of these went to Casey to cook and use up in her own home and the other half I was left to do with as I pleased. I enjoyed them fresh and whole for breakfast. I used them to top a Creme Patisserie filled tart - which didn't pair as well as I had hoped. The raspberries were far too pucker and strong in flavour for the delicate vanilla custard blanket they sunk into. Perhaps the fresh figs I had simultaneously keeping cool in my fridge would have paired better. My real triumph came though when I turned the majority of these little nodules of bright fruitiness into an exquisite ruby, home made jam.
I don't have a great track record when it comes to jam making, so you can understand how absolutely chuffed I was when I came back home late in the night, having made the jam that afternoon, to find a beautifully set jam, the colour of crimson and tasting insanely like well, yes... raspberries. I may have cured a little over- indulgence with teaspoons full, smeared onto ripped pieces of buttered baguette.
Raspberries never tasted so good.
Home Made Raspberry Jam
Eat this with the scone recipe following below and you will think you have died and gone to heaven. I got the recipe from Epicuious.com which they title as "Old fashioned Raspberry Jam." It's only got 2 ingredients but relies on a little intuitive know how and a trick of warming your sugar before adding it to the raspberries. Sounds weird I know, but it is meant to assist with keeping the boiling temperature of the jam regular, or something like that.......
4 cups castor sugar
4 cups raspberries
Place the sugar onto a baking tray and warm through in a 120decC hot oven.
Place the berries in a large non reactive sauce pan and bring to the full boil over a high heat, mashing the berries with a potato masher to squish the berries and release the juice. Boil hard for 1 minute stirring. Add the the warm sugar and return to the boil until the jam will form a gel (* see below.) This takes about 5 minutes.
Ladle into sterilized jars and seal closed with the lid. Allow to cool completely before serving.
*Dip a metal spoon into the hot jam and immediately remove it away from the steam and turn the spoon horizontally. AT the beginning of the cooking process the jam will drip off in light, syrupy drops. When you try again a minute or two later the drops will be heavier. The jam will for a gel when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling off the spoon.
For the Scones / recipe adjusted from Matt Preston / Delicious Feb 2013
makes 6-8 smallish scones
2 cups self raising flour
40g butter - cut into cubes
pinch of salt
1 cup half milk & half cream
plus a little extra cream for brushing
Place the flour, salt & butter into a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour making sure to lift your wrists as you do so. This is to help incorporate air into the flour mix. Once the mix resembles rough breadcrumbs make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the cream & milk mix. Use a sharp edge spatula and bring the flour and liquid just together to form a very rough dough. Just as it combines transfer it onto a floured work surface and shape it into a fat rectangular shape. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the individual scones and place them close together onto a greased baking tray. Brush with the extra cream and bake for 15 minutes - or until nicely risen and golden.
Serve warm with your home made raspberry jam and whipped cream