A few years ago I made a pluot jam scented with star anise that came out rather well. This year I thought I’d try adding a different set of flavours to the jam and decided to use Galliano, the herbal liqueur, a bottle of which I’ve been trying to finish for who knows how many years now (there aren’t really very many palatable cocktails that call for it). This seemed like a good way to infuse the jam with anise and other botanical flavours without having to fish around for stray pieces of spices, as I remember having to do when I used whole star anise (and, of course, anything that makes more of a dent in this bottle of Galliano is a good thing). For the hell of it I decided to add some apple cider vinegar as well. This sort of thing is the other great benefit of making your own jam: once you develop a bit of confidence you can make experimental jams that would make Dr. Moreau’s head spin.
Pluots, in case they’re not available down your way, are plum-apricot hybrids. They look like plums but are the flesh is firmer, like apricots, but sweeter than them. If regular plums are what you have just use those: they’re what I went to buy when I bought these pluots. Since this was an experimental batch I didn’t make a very large batch (and I made this just today).
- Pluots (or red plums), 3 lbs, pitted, crushed and peels removed
- Sugar, 2 cups
- Galliano, 2 tblspns
- Apple cider vinegar, 2 tblspns
- Lemon juice, 3 tblspns
- Pit the pluots and crush them in a large glass bowl with a potato masher. Remove the peels as they float free of the pulp.
- Add the ingredients and mix thoroughly and let the syrup form.
- Add the mixture to a deep pot, bring to a hard boil and stir at a boil till the jam sets (it should happen between somewhere in the 10-15 mark).
- Jar and process as per the instructions in yesterday’s strawberry jam recipe.
- This came out well but I might add more of the vinegar and the Galliano next time—but I’ll wait first and see if those flavours intensify in the jam as it sits.
- As you will see when you taste the syrup before starting on the jam, it is pretty damned tasty without any cooking; in fact, the herbal flavours of the liqueur come through more strongly without cooking. So, you could just use this as a raw fruit sauce/syrup to add to ice-cream or desserts.
- Or you could simmer it for about an hour and process the far looser product as syrup.
- A note on peeling the pluots. You might prefer to just peel them as you pit them. As I’m lazy, I prefer to let the potato masher do the job of separating the peels from the mashed fruit. It’s easy enough to fish them out of the syrup. And if some of the peel makes it into the jam it’s not the end of the world either.
- I don’t like to make my jams too sweet but if your pluots or apricots are too tart by all means add a bit more sugar. But add it bit by bit and remember it’s going to reduce as it cooks.
Let me know how it turns out if you make it. Up next for me, as soon as I can get my hands on some good apricots, is an experimental apricot-ginger-Grand Marnier jam.