Jam session

[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. I adore feijoas! If you’re unfamiliar with them, they’re a little like a musky guava in taste, with a dash of watermelon and kiwi. 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 concerned feijoas might be a little delicate in flavour and colour on their own, so decided to chuck 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 fab 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 a pretty damn 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, added lemon zest and cloves (traditional Linzer Torte ingredients); and swapped the cinnamon for cardamom, which pairs beautifully with quinces and feijoas. 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.”

Feijoas and quincesFeijoa and quince jam. One Equals Two[Recipe 1] Feijoa, quince and rosewater jam

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.

Making men happy with jams and jelliesFeijoa, quince and rosewater jam. One Equals TwoSpiced Linzer Torte with quince jam. One Equals Two

[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 (see recipe 1)
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 Feijoa, quince and rosewater 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]

47 thoughts on “Jam session

  1. Sas,i love your feijoa and quince jam packaging! I ALWAYS learn about something new in your posts. I think I’ve seen feijoa in the market here and have never tried them… time to expand the taste buds!! your linzer torte is AMAZING. I will be driving my electric car to your abandoned gas station/diner for some of your amazing cooking ❤

    • Ha! Thanks for the ace comment Kim. Hey, I always discover new stuff on your blog too – still trying to find out what we call sand dollars here in Aus (discovered they’re called sea cookies in New Zealand and pansy shells in South Africa)!

      • i like the name ‘sea cookies’. that would be a cute summer baking idea to make some of these as actual edible cookies with the floral central imprint. are they rare to find in australia?

        • Ooo I like your baking idea. I may have to steal that! I’ve actually never seen a sand cookie here in Aus. I’ve sent your photo to my Marine Biologist sister for analysis though…

  2. Sorry for the late comment, Saskia. I really do love making jam and this is my kind of post. Here in the states, we’re in berry season and I’ve been taking stock of my jars and lids. Time to get out the pots and get to jammin’. Your Linzer Torte looks incredible, by the way. Yum!
    Thanks, too, for the shout out. That was kind of you.

  3. Sas, that Linzer Torte looks just stunning. The jam sounds totally delicious (and once again you’ve educated me about an ingredient I had absolutely no knowledge of). I have to build myself up for jam making, but do love it once I get going. Enjoy your gorgeous jam!

    • Thanks df. I know what you mean about needing to build yourself up for jam-making. It always seems like a huge task to take on, but the rewards are so worth it! Nothing better than the top shelf of the fridge lined up with filled jam jars!

  4. Saskia I’m hungry and clearly I shouldn’t have been reading this post while hungry. I just want to dive right into that pie and back stroke through the pastry…I’m sure it could be done.

    • Blog-reading and grocery shopping on an empty tummy are just fraught with danger! Pie-diving – now that’s an activity I’d be up for. There really should be a Food Olympics…

  5. I woke up to a cold and wet Melbourne winter morning. Reading your wonderful, colourful blog was like sunshine to my mind. It made me very happy.

  6. One of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my life is being an official taste tester for Saskia E. The jar of jam didn’t last 4 days in our house. It is so worth making.

  7. That jam is something special & I love, love your cool cards! You made them yourself, no?
    Your Linzer tart looks just stunning & ooh so appetizing too! xx

  8. It is always such a treat to visit your blog Sas, I love this gorgeously sticky, jammy post! Haha… that ‘Making Men Happy’ book made me laugh! Reminds me of when Aaron and I got married… we got given a few marriage advice books from the early 1900s that entertained us for weeks 😉 I love your sweet feijoa and quince labels. I do hope to get some of your design work one day… maybe to keep on my bookshelf or on the wall? I did see a book at my local bookstore that I could’ve sworn was illustrated by you but in the end, it wasn’t.
    Anyway, I digress… I love everything about this post. The jammy linzer torte looks divine and the food styling is so typically Saskia-glorious! xx
    P.S Thanks for the link-in… so happy to be next to that beautiful band of bloggers (argh, that post was before I got a DSLR though. I’m trying to stop myself from redoing all of the shoots from my blog’s early days!)

    • Thanks so much Laura! Ahhh those 1900s marriage/etiquette books are fabulous. Thanks for the label compliment too! I do love anthropomorphic fruit – and knobbly quinces and feijoas just cry out for faces! Your whiskey marmalade has been on my to-try list for a while now; must rectify that soon 🙂

  9. I love this post. I have never heard of feijoa before. But I certainly love how it looks sitting next to the quince. The little “blue book”, your label tags, the sweet doily and your torte are all so wonderful and photographed so beautifully Saskia. And I appreciate the heavy tweaking of the Hairy Bikers torte recipe! Nice.

    • Thanks Seana. Feijoa are beautiful. According to wikipedia they’re also called Pineapple Guava or Guavasteen – I wonder if that’s what they’re referred to in the States? They’re a semi-popular garden tree here, particularly amongst the older population, so the best way to score some is to sweet-talk the neighbours!
      Such serious tweaking of that HB recipe, I can almost call the recipe my own now! The most perplexing thing to me is that the traditional way to cook a Linzer Torte is with raw shortcrust pastry, which is weird as jam is quite wet. So much better blind-baked!

    • Thank you! I love a good plain jam too. I’m not fussy really, being a jam-lover from way back. This one can be made plainer by leaving out the rosewater. Let me know how you go if you do make the Linzer Torte!

  10. Beauty all round, that tart is making the porridge in front of me seem decidedly dull. I admire your quince wrangling skills, I have no patience for them and thus I will miss out on such delights. Maybe I should rethink my stance. So, when are you designing a line of jam labels for us to buy?

    • Thanks Amelia. Wrangling raw quinces is a living nightmare and a really easy way to lose a finger top – they’re just rock hard! A couple of years ago I came across one of those wikihow/ehelp type posts which mentioned boiling them first, before peeling and coring, and it changed my jam-making life. Much less hazardous! Apparently that’s the traditional Greek way, and I’ve since noticed Tessa Kiros employs this method too. Thanks for the jam label compliment – I’ve actually been thinking of doing some free-for-download labels…

  11. Jam, jam, glorious jam, there’s nothing like jam to make you less hungry! Who doesn’t like jam! It sounds like you had a fun time making some jam. Maybe you got jam-med up for ideas sometimes, but not this time! 🙂

  12. If the doughnut jam at the footy smells like jam cooking, then it smells great! 🙂 What an interesting jam you’ve made (I had to look up feijoa… ahem) and your packaging is so adorable! As for your torte it is a true work of art, absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the mention. My favourite jam that I’ve made to date is one with grapefruit and banana. I spent hours on it but boy was it worth it. I also enjoyed seeing the other jams you’ve mentioned – and would never have thought of watermelon rind should I not I have seen it here! xx

    • Thanks Sofia. I’ve only been to the footy once in my life but I still remember the smell of the doughnut van – basically sugar and hot oil (not a bad combination really)! Love the sound of your jam and have been meaning to try it for ages. Yes, Sawsan’s watermelon rind jam is a thing of beauty, like a gigantic version of candied peel. The pieces look like polished amber glass.

  13. Sas as always you have made gorgeous food ( the jam is Yummy – thx ) the photos are fantastic. The seal with balls fork has brought back memories. Someone in our family had that, maybe us or Nanna! Blast from the past.

  14. Fabulous recipes! Those jams look so cute. I tried fejoia for the first time a couple of years ago and haven’t managed to find them since, very tasty though.

    • Thanks Ali. Feijoas are everywhere in New Zealand but a little trickier to find in Aus. There is one fruit shop near me that sells them (Dom’s in Balaclava if any Melbourne peeps are reading this comment)! I’d love to plant a tree.

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