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Setting Runny Chilli Jam

Asked by horgay. Answered on 28th September 2016

Full question

I followed the Chilli Jam recipe to the letter. But I find that when the jam cooled in the jars the chopped chilli bunched up at the top of the jars and the jam hasn't set properly. Can I reset the jam?

Our answer

Nigella's Chilli Jam (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is a soft-set condiment that is made with jam sugar that has pectin added. It is the pectin that helps the jam to set and in the UK jam sugar should not be confused with preserving sugar as preserving sugar does not contain added pectin. The pectin sets the jam once it reaches around 104c (220F) and for the Chilli Jam this is usually after 10 minutes at a full rolling boil in a wide medium-sized saucepan. You should start timing once the mixture has achieved a full boil. However as pan sizes can very and some cookers are more powerful than others the boiling time can sometimes vary a little.

You can usually tell if the jam has reached setting point as it cools in the pan, as it will become more thick and viscous and the flecks of chilli will start to be suspended in the liquid if you stir it. If it still looks very thin then you could at this stage try boiling it again for a couple more minutes, though be very careful that the mixture doesn't catch and burn. It may help to use a jam thermometer or to use a cold plate test to see if the jam has set. Before you start making the jam put 2-3 heatproof and freezer proof plates in the freezer. When you think the jam has reached setting point take the pan off the heat and drop a teaspoonful of the jam onto the plate. Let it stand for a minute then see if the jam has set or not. If you push your finger through it then the jam should not flow back. The Chilli Jam is soft set rather than very firm. If it has not set boil for another 2 minutes and test again. You can use the thinner jam as an alternative to sweet chilli sauce and it will keep in the same way as a set jam.

PeachMelba Pavlova

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