Perfect for your festive cheeseboard and little edible gifts, make a batch of my Damson Cheese to share with your family and friends this Christmas.
It’s not cheese of the dairy variety, but a sweet and fairly solid preserve, that you actually turn out onto the cheeseboard to slice up alongside the actual cheese. I think it goes beautifully with blue cheese and cured meats in a crusty bread sandwich. Tiz the season after all!
I needed to make some space in my freezer before the festive food arrived, so I cleared out the bags of Damsons that my friend’s mum had brought over from Cumbria. I’ve already got a bit of Damson Gin on the go in the cupboard that should hopefully be ready for New Year’s Eve. But I really fancied trying to make Damson Cheese for this year’s round of little pressies that I like to give my nearest and dearest.
You don’t need a lot of know-how to make this recipe, but you will need a few spare hours. I’d recommend putting on some festive tunes and closing the kitchen door and surrendering yourself to the process. That’s what I love about making jam, marmalade, jelly and chutney – the ancient art of preserving is the perfect excuse for some alone-time in the kitchen.
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is sieving the pulp of the damsons and then simmering it to the right consistency. For some reason I convinced myself I could just make a quick batch before the school run. So I didn’t quite get the liquid to the consistency stated in the recipe, however it still came up a treat.
My mum, the WI preserving legend that she is, provided the recipe from an old book and advised me that if it was being judged at a competition that it would also be assessed on whether it could be turned out of its container ready to be sliced. Zoinks!
So I used small, flat-sided Weck jars ordered from Amazon as they have straight sides. After sterilising them in hot soapy water and drying them in the oven, I lightly oiled the insides with vegetable oil. You can also use glycerine but I didn’t have any knocking about.
To turn them out you can sit the jar briefly in hot water, then run a knife around the edges and encourage it out onto a board. Mine was sticky, so once it hit the board it didn’t want much to move anywhere else! It sliced up fine though and I have to say I really enjoyed eating the spoils from this photoshoot for my lunch.
I look forward to sharing it with everyone over the holidays, when we seem to live on a diet of leftovers and Cheese & Biscuits. Picky teas at Christmas are the BEST. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas from everyone here in the Feeding Boys household! Blog posts will be intermittent at best over the next week or so, but normal service will resume in January! xxxx
A wonderful preserve that goes a treat with cheese and cold meats, Damson Cheese is a great edible gift
- 2.7 kg Damsons (6lbs)
- 285 ml Water
- Granulated Sugar 340-450g per 450g of sieved pulp
Put the damsons and water in a large preserving pan with a lid on and cook gently until tender.
Sieve the pulp - pressing it firmly through a sieve with a large metal spoon or ladle. Then return it to the pan and heat again until it has reduced and thickened.
Weigh the puree and add the appropriate amount of sugar and stir until dissolved.
Simmer and simmer and simmer until it's really thick. So thick when you draw a spoon across the bottom it leaves a clean line.
While the simmering is going on, sterilise your jars by washing in hot, soapy water, rinsing in hot water and then air drying in a warm oven. When you're ready to jar up the Damson Cheese quickly grease the inside of each jar with a little glycerine or vegetable oil so that you'll be able to turn the preserve out onto a cheeseboard when it comes to serving it up. Just miss this process out if you're not bothered.
Line up the prepared jars and pour the Damson cheese in right up to the brim and sealing immediately. Allow to cool and then wipe outside of jars clean and label up. They should keep in a dark place for up to a year. Once opened store in the fridge and eat within a few weeks.
To serve: Sit the jar in a little hot water for a minute, remove the lid and run a knife down the side and around the edges, turn upside down and turn out onto the cheeseboard. It should slice up - but it is sticky!
More preserves ideal for gifting this season:
- Plum & Mulled Wine Jam has all the best festive flavours for your morning toast
- Chilli Jam is jewel-bright and is a winner with sausages, cheese or mixed with cream cheese to make a fabulous dip
- Jac’s Cheeseboard Chutney with Onion, Apple & Red Pepper
- Cranberry Curd from Botanical Kitchen
- Kavey’s Apple, Date & Ginger Chutney
- Simple Fig Jam from Fab Food 4 All
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