- 2kg damsons
A small fruit with vibrant dark blue skin and a strong, sour flavour, damsons are similar to…
- 300ml water
- 1 star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
- 1 cinnamon stick
- granulated sugar (see step 3 for quantities)
- 25g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
Halve and stone the damsons, and put in a large pan with the water and spices. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 20-25 mins until the fruit is pulpy.
Wash your jars (preferably small wide-necked ones) and lids in hot soapy water, rinse well, then put the jars upright in a roasting tin. Heat in the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 10 mins.
Press the fruit through a plastic sieve into a bowl or wide jug. Measure the pulp and tip into a preserving pan or large wide pan. For every 600ml of pulp, add 450g of sugar. Add the butter and bring slowly to the boil, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Boil steadily until the mixture is thick and pulpy, and a spoon drawn across the base leaves a clean line (or test for set, see tip, below left) – this will take 10-20 mins. Pack the cheese into the warm jars, seal and label. Will keep for 1 year.
Testing for set
Before you start, put two saucers in the freezer. Take the cheese off the heat, spoon a little onto a chilled saucer, leave for a minute, then push with your finger. If it wrinkles softly, the cheese is ready. If not, return to the heat, boil for a few more minutes and test again.