LEMON VANILLA JAM
From Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros
Makes about 5 cups
6 thin-skinned lemons, rinsed well
6 cups superfine sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
You must use good lemons here—I like the thin-skinned, bright ones that don’t have much white pith. This is delicious spread on toast, brioche, or pancakes. I love it spooned into tiny sweet pastry cases and served as part of a lemon platter. You could also serve a little dish of this and a dish of mascarpone cheese next to a simple sponge cake for afternoon tea. Use the jam immediately or seal it in jars where it should keep, unopened, for many months. It is best to use a lot of smaller jars because, once opened, the jam should be eaten fairly quickly.
Cut the ends off the lemons, then slice them thinly. Remove all seeds and then quarter the slices. Put them in a large, tall, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lemons are soft (this may take longer if you don’t have a heavy-bottomed pan). Make sure you cook on low heat as the water tends to splash up a bit and threaten to boil over. Watch it carefully toward the end and stir often. Add the sugar and vanilla bean and simmer, uncovered, for another 45 minutes to 1 hour (you can add more water if it seems necessary). To test if the jam is ready, spoon a little onto a plate and tilt it. It should slide down with resistance and not just run down. If necessary, cook for longer.
If you are storing this, pour the warm jam into your sterilized jars (use a wide-necked funnel if you have one). Close the lids and turn the jars upside down, then cover them with a dish towel. Let cool completely before turning them upright. A vacuum should have formed on the lid. Store in a cool place and keep in fridge once opened.