Makes around 8 scones and 1 500g jar beetroot jam
This is not as bizarre as it sounds. Beetroot makes a surprisingly lovely jam which goes really well with chocolate as well as cheese. I’ve used a hard ewe’s milk cheese here but a mature, hard goat’s cheese like Cerney or Sussex Yeoman from Nut Knowle Farm would also work well.
- A bunch of beetroot (around 500-600g in weight)
- Up to 300g jam sugar
- Juice of ½ – 1 lemon (depending on final quantity of beetroot pulp)
- 225g self raising flour
- Pinch of Cayenne
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 50g unsalted butter
- 125g mature ewe’s milk cheese such as Lord of the Hundreds or Pecorino
- 6 wild garlic leaves, thoroughly washed and finely chopped or 1 tbsp snipped chives
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 – 4 tbsp buttermilk
- Crème fraîche to serve
- To make the jam: Remove the leaves from the washed but unpeeled beetroot and cover with cold water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender. This will take anywhere from 40 – 80 minutes depending on the size of the roots. They must be really tender! I allow them to cool in their cooking liquor so you could do this the day before you want to make the jam.
- Peel the cooled beetroot and chop into large pieces. Place in a food processor and blitz until you have a fairly smooth purée. Weigh the purée then place in a large, deep saucepan with jam sugar equal to 60% of the purée weight (so if you have 500g of purée you will need 300g of jam sugar). Add the juice of a lemon. If you have much less than 500g of purée (say 250-300g) then only use the juice of half a lemon.
- Slowly bring the purée to the boil ensuring the sugar has completely dissolved. Gently boil for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the jam into warm, sterilised jars and allow to cool. You will need to keep this jam in the fridge as it has a lower sugar content than most jams. However, it will keep for several months if stored in this way.
- To make the scones: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Sieve the flour, cayenne and salt into a roomy bowl. Rut the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir in 100g of the cheese and the wild garlic or chives then gradually add the beaten egg followed by enough buttermilk to form a firm, unsticky dough.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured board and gently roll out until it is 2 – 2.5cm thick. Using either a 5cm square or round cutter, cut out the scones and place on a greased baking sheet. Don’t twist the cutter otherwise your scones will be lopsided. Gather up the remnants of the dough and repeat this process until all of the dough has been used.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving with the jam and some crème fraîche.