When Lorraine of the scrumptious blog Not Quite Nigella did a post on strawberry jam last week, I was positively gobsmacked and totally impressed. This stems in part from the fact that I did fail the preserves chapter in Home Ec. in fifth grade, sixth grade, my freshman year in high school, and my senior year in college. I just never seemed to have the patience to stand at a stove and stir a pot full of bubbling, fruity goo for the better part of an hour. As a result, I get my jams and jellies from the store and give anyone who has the gumption to make them at home a standing ovation.
Still, I’ll be thirty-five on Saturday and, more to redeem myself from the label of “kitchen failure” (Believe it or not, some people still think of me as such.), I wanted to do a jam recipe that was easy enough and didn’t involve all the faffing about with boiling jars and pectin and kilos of preserving sugar.
Luckily, I chanced on a recipe for confiture de lait (French-style milk jam) on the blog Our Adventures in Japan. Modified from a recipe from Cerfeuil’s Dip and Paste Book, it is a scrumptious cross between sweetened condensed milk and custard: a creamy, somewhat grainy, sugary confection that works beautifully on hot toast, scones, shortbread, pancakes, and even plain soda crackers. Oh, and it also does additional duty as a sauce for good vanilla ice cream and as a replacement for dulce de leche in filling alfajores, those Spanish sandwich cookies filled with unctuously good caramel.
I’m currently on a citrus kick at the moment, so I opted not to flavor mine with vanilla or tea. Instead, I added grated orange rind to give it a heavenly fragrance reminiscent of a Spanish summer in a citrus orchard and a delightful tang that kept the sweetness from becoming too much for the palate. I daresay lemon or lime zest would be just as gorgeous.
I’ve tweaked the amount of the ingredients as well as the cooking method, but the results, I assure you, are nothing short of fabulous. Even those of you who are , like me, balky at making preserves, will find this an easy enough project.
Confiture de Lait avec Orange
- 200mL carton full-cream milk
- 250mL carton all-purpose cream or double cream
- scant 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- zest of one large Seville / Sunkist orange, grated
Put all the ingredients in an enamel saucepan and stir well. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil whilst stirring. Turn heat down to its lowest setting and cook, whilst stirring, till the mixture becomes very thick (large bubbles will form) and changes color from very pale cream to a rich amber, about 30 – 45 minutes.
Pour into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before pouring into a jar. Cover and store in the fridge.
Makes one cup worth of jam.