Elena and Ana – authors of the Hermanas Arcë blog – I have here this morning as my ‚sugar in the morning‘ guests. I’m so pleased to share a morning with these talented, enthusiastic and particular kind ladies!
I feel a little restless and uprooted at the moment and would much rather pack three small travel bags for us all to spend a year traveling, exploring people and countries, working in bakeries, drinking good coffee, wandering in soothing landscapes and swimming in the refreshing sea. And I would especially like to visit the interesting people who I’ve met in my virtual travels. Madrid with its sisters Ana and Elena would be at the top of my itinerary. They were once told by their grandparents „You should always stay together“ – which they took to heart and now share their lives and their love for Madrid and good food. If you read their stories and see their pictures you’ll feel a profound connection between them, something only found amongst those who share rare, life-long friendships. I love their way of simple yet exciting cooking and how they experiment with local ingredients. I’d just love to stand or sit next to them in the picture and just have a chat in this calming atmosphere. Come, have a seat – enjoy this sunny autumn breakfast in Madrid and try the delicious recipe with your fruit choice. So lovely that Ana and Elena sharing my fruity jam passion too.
Your perfect breakfast? We have breakfast at work during the week, so any weekend breakfast is perfect breakfast. We are big toast people, so we usually have toast with butter and honey or jam. Every once in a while we make pancakes, waffles or even a kond of brunch, but most days it’s just coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and toast.
Where do you buy the best bread/buns in your city? The best bread in Madrid definitely comes from Panic. There is such a big difference with the rest of the bakeries out there that even if it’s not in the neighborhood we alway go there to buy our bread. You can alway slice it, freeze it and put it in the toaster in the morning.
Do you have a special morning ritual? Not especially, but we do have breakfst as soon as possible to be in a good mood
Breakfast with tea or coffee? Coffee!
1 kg strawberries
juice of 1-1.5 lemons
1. Place a saucer with five metal spoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the jam later.
2. Mix the strawberries, the sugar and the juice of 1 lemon in a non-reactive pan with some depth so that the mixture will not splatter the whole kitchen. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. After a few minutes, as the juice starts to run and the mixture begins foaming a little around the edges, raise the heat to high, stirring often.
3. Boil the mixture hard for 20 to 30 mins, gently scraping the bottom of the pan every few minutes, gently scraping the bottom of the pan every few minutes with your spatula to be sure the jam is not sticking. If it does begin to stick, decrease the heat slightly, being sure the jam continues to cook at a rapid boil. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping the bottom frequently, until the foam subsides, the mixture acquires a darker, shinier look, and the berries appear softened and saturated with liquid, about 25 mins total.
4. Continue to cook the jam. After 3-5 more mins, it should again look glossy and dark. At this point remove the jam from the heat and test for doneness, suing a stainless steel spoon to carefully scrape all the white foam from the top of the mixture while you test. Do not stir. To test for doneness, carefully transfer a small representative half-spoonful of jam to one of your frozen spoons. Replace the spoon in the freezer for 3-4 mins, then remove and carefully feel the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return to the freezer for a moment. Tilt the spoon vertically to see how quickly the jam runs; if it runs slowly, and if it has thickened to a gloomy consistency, it is done. If it runs very quickly or appears watery, cook it for another couple of mins, stirring and test again as needed. At this point you can taste the jam and see if it needs more lemon juice. Adding the lemon juice in this second step can give your jam a brightness that adding it at the start will not provide.
5. When the jam is ready, skim the foam from its surface, then stir well to be sure the berries and liquid are evenly distributed. Pour the jam into jars and process according to the manufacturer´s instructions. I usually just fill the jars to the brim, put the lid on and turn them upside down.
In this case we used strawberries (we made this some time ago), but you can use other fruits. Right now plums would be a good option. You can vary both the amount of sugar and lemon depending on how sweet your fruit is, and depending on how long you want the jam to last: you can either make a compote with less sugar which will have to be kept in the fridge and will keep for less time or a jam with more sugar which will keep for longer.