The wet and blustery, autumnal start to the day this morning notwithstanding, we are still blessed with glorious, sunny weather and tomato season continues unabated. Sure, the great tomato harvest of 2013 in my own garden has now finished, other than now gathering the mass of green tomatoes which I know are not going to ripen - more of this amazing Green Tomato Cake coming up this weekend I think, and probably some pickled green tomatoes, which I will no doubt share with you. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you this Tomato Basil Jam I made a few weeks ago using my own tomatoes, but tomatoes are still plentiful and cheap at the farmers market for those of you who want to try this before the season finishes.
This is another recipe I adapted from the book A Passion for Preserves by Frederica Langeland, which I told you about a couple of weeks ago.
Tomato Basil Jam
Adapted from recipe by Frederica Langeland from
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
3 kilos (6 pounds) tomatoes
2x generous handfuls of basil leaves
3 cups sugar
Remove skins from the tomatoes - cut a small cross in the base of each tomato, put into a large bowl and cover with boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove and plunge into cold water. The skins will slip off easily.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Set a strainer over a bowl and then, working over the strainer, scoop the seeds and juice out of the tomatoes into the strainer. Put the tomato flesh directly into a large pot or preserving pan. Using a wooden spoon press any of the pulp through the strainer, extracting as much juice and pulp as you can. Discard the seeds that are left behind in the strainer, and add the extracted juice and pulp to the tomatoes in the pan.
Slowly bring the contents of the pan to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the volume has been reduced to about half.
Add the sugar to the pan, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved, then increase heat and boil fairly rapidly for about 10 minutes, until thick and "jam like".
Meanwhile, cut the lemons into quarters and flick out any pips. Put the lemon quarters into a food processor, skins and all, along with the basil leaves, and blitz to a puree.
Now add half of the lemon-basil puree to the pan, stir to combine well, and then taste. Then add more of the remaining lemon-basil puree, a little at a time, according to your own taste.
Spoon the hot jam into sterilised jars, until filled to about 3mm (1/8 in) from the top. Seal with a sterilised screw lid. Once opened, store in the fridge.
This makes a delicious accompaniment to an antipasto platter, to cold or grilled meats, slathered in a sandwich, wrap or burger, or anywhere that you might otherwise use something like chilli jam or sweet chilli sauce. You could also use this on a pizza as an alternative to a traditional tomato sauce.
I love it on these simple tomato tarts. Now, much as I love to make things from scratch, I did not make my own pastry and, in the immortal words of Jamie Oliver, I can think of no circumstance in which I would make my own flaky pastry. That said, if you feel up to the challenge - then knock yourself out. You can find a great recipe for making flaky pastry on this post from the lovely Alli at Pease Pudding, which post incidentally inspired these tarts.
Tomato, Feta & Basil Tart
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
Quantities are not critical here - this is really more of a method than a precise recipe
For each person, you will need:
1x square ready-made flaky pastry
generous dollop or two of Tomato Basil Jam (recipe above)
or substitute with a tomato pasta sauce or similar
fresh tomatoes, thickly sliced
feta cheese, approx 75g (2-3 oz)
fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Use a bowl or plate to cut a circle from the square of flaky pastry. Place pastry circle on a sheet of non-stick baking paper, and set on a baking sheet. Without cutting all the way through, lightly score a second circle in the pastry, approximately 1cm (1/2 inch) in from the edge. Using a fork prick the inner circle of the pastry all over.
Smear a generous dollop or two of the tomato basil jam all over the inner circle of pastry. Now arrange tomato slices decoratively on top of the jam. Crumble the feta and sprinkle over the top, and strew with torn up basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden and puffed up around the edges.
Of course this is delicious straight out of the oven, but personally I like it served at room temperature. If not serving immediately, slide the pastry off the baking paper and cool on a wire rack.