Recently I’ve been following The Great British Bake Off series on TV and have been trying to attempt some of the baking challenges myself. I love the programme and have been caught up in all the baking excitement along with so many others. Sadly the series ended last week but the bakers were brilliant and Nancy became the Bake Off champion. Her calm and collected approach along with her experience and baking talent just gave her the edge in a tightly fought Final.
Back in my kitchen, reality has meant that I can’t keep up with all the baking challenges as I would like to. For one thing we just can’t eat all the cakes produced quickly enough. (I know that’s shocking – who can’t eat cake?)So last week, despite dreaming of Entremets and Baklava bakes, I’ve had a slight detour.
I’ve often wanted to pick Rosehips and make a syrup or jelly. They are like ripe red jewels covering rose bushes once resplendent in blooming roses. You can find them in hedge rows and often unwanted in friends and neighbours gardens as I did, as well as in your own garden. Rosehips are overlooked but are very rich in vitamin C and the syrup was often used as a tonic in years gone by. It was surprisingly easy to make a delicious jelly and so that I didn’t feel too bad about slipping behind with my Great British Bake Off challenges I attempted a Fig and Toasted Hazelnut Wholemeal Loaf. The recipe was taken from ‘The Great British Bake Off – Big Book of Baking’. I’m past caring what Paul Hollywood would think of my bread-making attempts – this recipe should be tried at home as it was scrumptious with a selection of cheeses. The Rosehip jelly went rather well with it toasted. :)
To make Rosehip jelly I ‘topped and tailed’ the rosehips (just cutting off the stalk and tip) and soaked them in cold water, then washed them well. I put them in a large pan along with two whole lemons roughly chopped (include pips).
I then added 1 litre of water, brought the pan to the boil then simmered gently for about two hours until all the fruit was soft. I then removed the pan from the heat and mashed down all the fruit to a pulp using a potato masher, then left the mixture in the pan, covered overnight. It’s difficult to give exact quantities when making something like this as you don’t know how many Rosehips you are likely to collect. I only had a small amount so 1 litre of water was plenty to cook the fruit in adequately but more can be added after the fruit is mashed down if necessary.
The next day the fruit needs to be sieved so that you end up with just liquid and no pulp. You can squeeze it through a muslin cloth or push it through a sieve – try to get out all the juice. You will need to measure the resulting liquid.
I added the equivalent grams in granulated sugar as there were mls of liquid and put this all in the large pan. It needs to be heated gently at first, stirring to dissolve all the sugar and then boiled. The mixture needs to be boiled until setting to a jelly. Mine took about 20 minutes, rapidly boiling without stirring. To test when it might be ready I put a saucer in the freezer to cool, then drop a little of the mixture onto it – you can see if its setting by pushing it with your finger, When it is setting, take the pan off the heat and pour the jelly into sterilised jars. It should set well as although Rosehips contain very little pectin the lemons (especially the pips) will have added enough.