Strawberries are at their very best now. One of the best ways to enjoy them is with freshly baked scones, cream and homemade strawberry jam.
Strawberry jam is probably my very favourite jam, but it must be really good. Sadly, it is often overly sweet and cloying. If you haven’t made your own before, then I really encourage you to do so. It is quite quick and easy to make. It is still very sweet, but it retains a true strawberry flavour, and it is a great way to preserve the flavour of strawberries at their peak.
Homemade scones are also a revelation. They are infinitely superior to shop bought, but must be eaten really fresh – straight out the oven ideally, but definitely on the day they are baked.
I like to serve scones with softly whipped cream, which I now prefer to clotted (thanks to Ballymaloe). It is not as dense and fatty, which I prefer, but use whichever you like best. And of course plenty of strawberry jam and fresh strawberries.
This such a nice tea to make if you are visiting or entertaining friends of family at this time to year. It is quite quick to make, looks lovely and takes sublime.
- 1.2kg strawberries, washed, dried and hulled (smaller strawberries are best)
- Juice of 3 lemons
- 1.2kg granulated cane sugar
- Place the strawberries and lemon juice into a pan. Turn the heat onto a moderate temperature. As the strawberries are warmed, their juice will start to run, so there is no need to add any more liquid here.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the pan. The strawberries should be tender after this time. You can mash the strawberries so they break up if you like, but I prefer to leave them whole.
- Meanwhile, place the jars and sugar in a low oven to warm.
- Add the sugar to the pan and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Stir frequently, and continue to do so for around 10 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Now, being to the boil. Once the contents of the pan reaches boiling point, continue to boil for 5 minutes and then test for a set. The jam should reach 104.5C before it will set. I tested this using a Thermapen. You may also like to do a flake test or wrinkle test using a chilled saucer.
- Once the jam is at setting point, turn off the heat and allow the jam to sit for 10 minutes. Skim any scum off the top and pot the jam.
- This jam is ready to eat as soon as it is fully cooled and set, and it will keep for up to a year.
- 450g self raising flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 120g butter
- Pinch salt
- 300ml milk
- Preheat the oven to 220C/ Gas Mark 7. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Stir the sugar and salt into the flour. Rub the butter in. Add the milk and form a dough. Roll out, cut out scones and bake for around 12-15 minutes until lightly brown.