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Preserves for Christmas

November 8, 2008

This year I’m trying to make all my christmas presents and am planning to give my parents and my parents-in-law both hampers of homemade goodies. I wanted to make a really special preserve for the hampers and so, after flicking through a few recipe books, I plumped for ‘Melissa’s Chestnut Jam’ from the River Cottage Preserves book. However, as I shelled my sixtieth chestnut, I did start to wonder if any jam could really be worth all this effort!


I’m pleased to say that when I tasted the finished product, the doubts vanished from my mind. This is an exquisite preserve – decadent, sophisticated and perfect for christmas. Yes, it’s not the quickest or easiest jam to make but it really is worth the trouble. It’s also quite versatile and the author recommends adding it to chocolate mousse, spooning over ice-cream, using as a filling for chocolate cake or serving it dolloped in meringue nests with cream – something I’ll definitely be trying. Yum!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2008 1:25 am

    Great idea and what a gorgeous gift, it sounds absolutely delicious and I am quite sure they will be loved by all who receive them. I think homemade gifts mean a great deal more. I know its a lot more work for you to do but when you see those delighted faces at Christmas time it will be well worth all of your efforts. I much prefer giving than I do receiving.
    I recently tried this recipe using Chestnut Puree found on another blog called: –
    The Chocolate and Chestnut cake was absolutely delicious and when served cold with cream (as suggested by MrsL) it was out of this world.
    I must get in touch with MrsL of this blog and thank her for sharing this recipe.
    MrsL’s blog is lovely and well worth taking a look at… will really enjoy all the recipes, knitting etc……
    Anyway I digress… Think maybe I should put the River Cottage Preserves book on my Christmas list…..
    Have a lovely Sunday!
    Jane xxx

  2. silvercharmster permalink
    November 9, 2008 2:46 am

    That jam sounds wonderful! I can only imagine how good it tastes!

  3. November 9, 2008 10:34 am

    Thank you both.

    Jane – the chocolate and chestnut cake sounds lovely and I think it would probably work if I substituted the puree with the jam – I’ll have to give it a try! I love chestnuts – they make me feel all christmassy and chocolate is good at any time of the year! Oh and yes, the River Cottage Preserves book is wonderful – it’s quickly become one my favourite cookery books!

  4. November 9, 2008 3:53 pm

    Oh that sounds wonderful! Mmm I am sure they will LOVE to get a jar of this!

    I am off to forage in the next week hopefully ( if I haven’t left it too late) in a local chestnut wood, so if I get any chestnuts I will try this!

    I recommend the RC book…it is really good!

  5. November 10, 2008 10:06 am

    Lucky, lucky parents!
    These look so good … I’m imagining the smell and taste ..yum.
    I think the hampers are a fantastic idea. I’d love to do the same for my folks next year. I hope you post piccies of your finished hampers as I’d love to see them.

  6. November 10, 2008 10:31 am

    Compostwoman – Good luck with the foraging!

    Louise – thank you – I’m glad I made a few extra jars for myself. Yep, I’ll be sure to post pics of the finished hampers. I’m on the lookout for baskets for them at the moment. I originally thought I’d have a go at making them myself but seeing as I’ve only ever made one (rather wonky) basket I’ve decided that’s probably a bit too ambitious this time around!

  7. November 13, 2008 11:03 am

    What a wonderful idea, they look beautiul with their brown paper tops. We are using brown paper this year for Christmas presents, only 47 p at Asda’s for a 4 metre roll. Oh, and I am going to try the chestnut jam.

  8. November 13, 2008 1:12 pm

    Thank you Margaret. I think brown paper looks great for presents – especially if you tie it with some raffia or similar – lovely and rustic looking!

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