At her HQ in Clapton, aka home sweet home, Lillie O’Brien makes uncommonly good jam. You may have seen it on sale at Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch, the Deli Downstairs in Victoria Park, or La Fromagerie in Marylebone and Highbury. The jars are tagged with old-fashioned utility labels, promising flavours such as Victoria plum and anise, quince and rosewater or Italian lemon and vanilla marmalade. She was pastry chef at St John Bread & Wine for four years before becoming a jam-maker (pretty cool job title), so her knowledge and skill is quite something. Here, she shares her raspberry and liquorice jam recipe.
You need a whopping heavy-bottomed pan. A Le Creuset is good. Lillie uses a Mauviel copper pan, which she says is worth investing in if you’re serious. The copper conducts heat very efficiently so the jam reaches setting point more quickly, and you don’t end up cooking all the flavour out of your fruit.
Lillie’s jam tips
- You don’t always need jam sugar – that varies according to your fruit.
- Once the jam is boiling, I don’t stir it, because the cold air makes it spit. Do stir it every few minutes when it’s cooling down to prevent a skin forming.
- You don’t really need those wax discs for the top of the jars, but do sterilise them correctly and make sure they’re hot when you fill them with hot jam.
- Richmond Cookshop sell Mauviel copper pans.
- When you’re buying fruit, do remember that jam is ideal for using up fruit that might otherwise be rejected for being on the knobbly side.