Dried fruit makes very acceptable jam and has the advantage of being available all year round. With the inclusion of almonds, this is a Provençal speciality, confiture d’abricots secs. Some people have difficulty getting it to set. A little pectin can be added if you wish, but if you ensure that the sugar is slowly and completely dissolved before the final boiling, this problem should be overcome.
Put the dried apricots to soak overnight in cold water.
Next day, drain them and put them in a pan with
Add the sugar, lemon juice and brandy. Stir continuously over the lowest heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Turn up the heat, add the lemon zest and bring to the boil. Boil hard for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and spoon a little of the liquid on to a cold plate. Leave for 3–4 minutes then push with a finger: if the jam wrinkles, it will set; if not, bring back to the boil for another 2–3 minutes and check again. Repeat until it passes the wrinkle test.
Leave to cool until just warm, before putting in sterilized jars, and then sealing when completely cold to prevent condensation on the lid (which will otherwise encourage mould).
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.