FIGGY BLACK JAM
When Grandma’s son Simon took over his farmhouse in southern France he inherited a splendid black fig tree in the back courtyard, which was always laden with sweet, juicy figs in the late summer. To play up the drama of their dark skins, Grandma would combine them with black currants or blackberries from the outdoor market to make this impressively dark jam, perfect for Jam Tarts.
Makes two 10 oz/324-ml jars of jam
8 whole black figs, about 375 g/3/4 1b
1½ cups/375 g black raspberries, blackberries or boysenberries
1¼ cups/300 g sugar
½ cup/125 ml unsweetened pomegranate juice
Three 1-cup/250 ml preserving jars; preserving pan (optional)
1. A day ahead, trim the stems of the figs and cut them into quarters. Toss the fig pieces with the berries and sugar in a bowl and stir in the pomegranate juice. Cover and leave to macerate overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Sterilize the preserving jars by running them through the dishwasher. Transfer the fruit, sugar, and juice to a preserving pan or very large saucepan. Bring the pot to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook at a rolling boil, skimming scum that comes to the surface and stirring often so the jam does not scorch. This will take 20-30 minutes and when the jam reaches the jell joint it will register 220˚F/106˚C on a candy thermometer and fall in a double drip from the tip of the spoon; the jam should set if you drop a little on a chilled plate. The timing depends on the juiciness of the fruit.
3. Take the pan from the heat and leave for 3-5 minutes so that the bubbles settle. Set the jars on a wooden board so they do not crack with the heat. Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars and seal them.