[Recipe 1] FEIJOA, QUINCE and ROSEWATER JAM transforms into
[Recipe 2] SPICED LINZER TORTE
I’ve been on a jam-making frenzy! “It smells like the doughnut van at the footy” said the husband, and I could only take that as a huge compliment.
Feijoa, quince and rosewater jam is one of my favourite conserve creations to date. If you’re unfamiliar with feijoas, they’re a little like a musky guava in taste, with a dash of watermelon. They have a short season and are tricky to find, so when my friend Janet dropped off a bag recently I was one happy lady!
I usually stew feijoas with apples, but decided to give feijoa jam a try. Honestly it was as if the stars had aligned as within two days of my jam-making decision I discovered the important reference tool ‘Making men happy with jams and jellies’, published in 1930 and part of the beautiful Little Blue Book series. I also scored lemons from my mum and even styling props in the form of pink paper doilies (from my delightful 7-year old niece ‘especially for your blog’) and pink roses from my neighbours.
I love a robust, zesty jam and was a little concerned feijoas might be too delicate in flavour and colour on their own, so decided to throw in some quinces. Quinces have a similar season to feijoas, and they’re natural partners; both being quite fragrant – almost perfumey – and somewhat exotic! Quinces turn a beautiful ruby red colour after cooking too, which is a fabulous bonus.
I was so chuffed with how the jam turned out! After giving most of it away as gifts, I made a second batch the following week, reserving some for an amazing Middle Eastern style Spiced Linzer Torte we’ve served up to two groups of dinner guests recently. I heavily tweaked the Hairy Bikers recipe, using more flour as I found their mixture a little wet. I also doubled the jam, blind-baked the crust to prevent sogginess, refrigerated the pastry for easier handling and less shrinkage, added lemon zest and cloves (traditional Linzer Torte ingredients); and swapped the cinnamon for cardamom, which pairs beautifully with quinces. Lastly, I lined the top edge with flaked almonds, both to hide the scrappy pastry joins and add a bit of crunch. Absolutely bloody delicious, even if I do say so myself!
I’m signing off with a poem by Dougall from Episode 19 of the Magic Roundabout:
“Life is for living.
Jam is for giving.
Love should be spread.
And I’m off to bed.”
Ingredients (makes 1.8 kilos/about 4 lb jam):
5 firm quinces (about 1.2–1.3 kilos/2½–2¾ lb)
½ cup (125ml) lemon juice (from 2 medium lemons)
10 cups (2.5 litres) water
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 2 medium lemons)
4 cups (800g/1¾ lb) sugar
8 feijoa (about 500g/1 lb), peeled and chopped
2 small firm pears (about 300g/10½ oz), peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
1 teaspoon rose water
Rinse and scrub the quinces. Place into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with the lemon juice and water. Boil, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the quinces in the syrupy liquid for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Remove quinces with a slotted spoon and place on a board, reserving the liquid. Add lemon zest and sugar to the liquid and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 1–2 minutes, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Peel off the quince skins. Core quinces and chop roughly. Place into the prepared liquid as you go, to prevent discolouring. Add the feijoa and pear.
Bring to the boil, turn down heat and simmer rapidly, for 1½–2 hours, uncovered, until thick. Stir occasionally, and enjoy watching it turn ruby red right before your eyes! Keep a close eye on the jam towards the end of the cooking process, to ensure it doesn’t stick and burn.
Give the jam 3 whizzes with a stick blender.
Add rose water and simmer for a further two minutes. Remove jam from the heat.
Test to check the jam is ready. Place a small ceramic plate in the freezer for 5 minutes. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of jam onto the plate and return to the freezer for two minutes. If the jam sets and forms a skin it is ready! If the jam is runny and can be poured off the plate, return the saucepan to the stovetop and simmer jam for a further ten minutes, stirring constantly. Test again.
Divide the jam amongst hot, sterilised jars.
♦ Reserve 500g (1 lb) jam for the Spiced Linzer Torte.
Store remaining jam in a cool, dark place.
- Use good quality fruit that is firm and not over-ripe. Fully ripened fruit contains less pectin, the substance that makes jams set. It’s best to use your fruit as soon as possible after buying or picking.
- I always add a couple of pears to my jams as they’re high in pectin. This will help achieve a good set even if your hero fruit is beginning to over-ripen.
- Rose water can be found at Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you have roses in your garden, you can make your own! Rose water is beautiful sprinkled on khoshaf (Middle Eastern dried fruit salad).
- Resist the desperate urge to enjoy your jam immediately! Allow it to further firm up for at least 24 hours, preferably longer, before using.
- Jam in properly sterilised jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to ten months. Refrigerate after opening.
[Recipe 2] Spiced Linzer torte
Ingredients (serves 6–8):
175g (6 oz) almond meal
175g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
200g (1⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest, chopped (from 1 lemon)
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
175g (6 oz/1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
♦ 500g (1 lb) reserved Feijoa, quince and rosewater jam
Egg wash (1 egg yolk, whisked with 1 teaspoon milk)
50g (1.7 oz) flaked almonds
Icing sugar, for dusting
Process almond meal, sugar, cardamom, cloves, flour, lemon zest and salt until combined. Add the cubes of butter and process until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add egg and process until dough just comes together.
Transfer to a bowl (it will look quite crumbly, don’t worry). Knead lightly into a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Grease a 3cm (1″) deep, 25cm (10″) fluted tart tin, with removable base.
With a sharp knife, cut off one third of the dough (about 260g/9 oz) and roll out between two pieces of baking paper to make a rectangle approx. 25cm x 18cm (10″ x 7″) , and 3mm (.1″) thick. This is for the top layer of pastry strips. Slide onto a tray and pop in the fridge.
Roll the larger piece of dough between two pieces of baking paper into a piece large enough to line the base and sides of the pan, about 5mm (.2″) thick. Carefully press the dough onto the base and up the sides of the prepared pan, trimming off the excess. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, covered in cling film.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Blind bake the pastry: cover pastry base and sides with baking paper. Cut two 6cm/2½” high strips of foil and fold over the sides of the tin to prevent the top edge of the pastry from burning. Fill lined tart case with pastry weights (or uncooked rice) and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove paper, foil and weights. Bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
♦ Spread cooled pastry base evenly with reserved jam.
Remove smaller piece of dough from fridge and, using a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut into 1½cm (.6″) wide strips. Carefully place strips diagonally over jam to form a criss-cross pattern. Press the edges to seal, and trim off excess.
Very lightly brush pastry strips and outer top edge of pastry with egg wash. Arrange flaked almonds around the edge of the torte, brushing with egg wash here and there. Use an outward movement to prevent the nuts sticking to the brush – ‘wipe’ the brush as if you’re removing paint!
Bake torte for 25–30 minutes, until pastry is pale golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan, then carefully remove and slide onto a serving plate.
Dust Linzer torte lightly with icing sugar, cut into wedges and serve.
[Recipe loosely adapted from the Hairy Bikers]
- If using a different jam for the Linzer Torte, such as the more traditional plum or raspberry, you may prefer to replace the cardamom with cinnamon.
- Any type of jam can be used for a Linzer Torte! For more jammy inspiration, check out Sawsan’s Watermelon rind jam, John’s Damson plum and cardamom jam, Laura’s Whisky, carrot and ginger marmalade, Sofia’s Strawberry, banana and chia seed jam and Brydie’s Lime and orange marmalade. Be sure to read Brydie’s excellent jam-making Q and A too.
- Linzer Torte can be made the day before, and stored in a covered container for up to 24 hours.
- For longer storage, Linzer Torte will keep beautifully in the fridge, covered, for at least 3 days. Individual slices can also be successfully frozen. Defrost overnight in the fridge.