Watermelon & Rose Petal Jam with Buttermilk Pudding

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes 625 ml 2½ cups Jam and

    4

    Puddings

Appears in

Falling Cloudberries

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2004

  • About

As far as I am concerned, roses in food are the epitome of gorgeous. If you want to make this jam more rosy, add a few drops of rose water, and if you have any petals left over you can always scatter them in your bath. This jam is quite runny and has a beautiful colour — it would be wonderful dribbled over a not-too-sweet ice cream or served with a blob of crème fraiche. If you can manage it, make the jam with the first of the watermelons and the last of the roses. If you prefer your jam thicker, cook half a chopped apple with the watermelon. You may need more or less sugar, depending on the sweetness of your watermelon. The buttermilk pudding would also be lovely served with some other fruit — perhaps syrupy poached quinces or a mixed berry salad. I like to use smooth pudding saucepans here, but you can use any ramekins you like. You can even serve the pudding in its ramekin with a little bowl of jam on the side.

Ingredients

Jam

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) ripe watermelon flesh (about 1.8 kg/4 lb watermelon with peel)
  • 400 g ( cups) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 gorgeous untreated rose, petals separated and rinsed

Buttermilk Pudding

  • 4 gelatine leaves (less than 2 g each) or 2 teaspoons gelatine powder
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cream
  • 100 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 450 ml (16 fl oz) buttermilk

Method

To make the jam, put the watermelon in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Halve the lemon and cut 3 thin slices from one half. Cut these slices into 8 pieces each and add to the bowl. Juice the remaining lemon and add to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Pour the sugary fruit into a heavy-based saucepan suitable for making jam and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon so that it doesn’t stick. Ten minutes or so before you think it will be ready, remove half of the jam to a blender (making sure there are no lemon pieces included because those are nice left whole) and leave the rest of the jam to continue cooking. Purée this half and return it to the pan. (A few bits of watermelon and lemon give the jam a nice texture.)

To test if your jam is ready, spoon a little onto a plate and tilt it. It should slide down with resistance rather than just running down. If necessary, cook for longer. Add the rose petals and pour into a suitable sterilised jar, using a wide-necked funnel if necessary. Seal the jar tightly and turn over. Leave it to cool completely before turning the jar upright and storing in a cool place. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and use up fairly quickly.

To make the puddings, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl with enough cold water to cover them (you can snap the leaves of gelatine). If using powder, put 2 tablespoons of water in a glass bowl and sprinkle the gelatine evenly over the top. Leave to sponge and swell.

Put the cream, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat. Thoroughly squeeze out the softened gelatine leaves with your hands until they are like a ball of jelly. Add the gelatine leaves or the spongy gelatine to the warm cream and stir to dissolve it. Leave the mixture to cool, stirring from time to time to ensure the gelatine dissolves evenly. When completely cooled, stir in the buttermilk and strain through a sieve to remove any lumps of gelatine. Ladle into four 175 ml ( cup) capacity ramekins. Put these on a tray, cover lightly with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving.

To serve, gently loosen around the sides of the puddings with your fingers or the back of a teaspoon. Dip the bottoms of the ramekins in a little hot water for a couple of seconds (no longer, or you’ll end up with soup) and turn them out. Or, simply scoop out with a large spoon and pour some jam over the top before serving.