I am an unashamed baker. No, not the type that make extravagant cakes with showing their impressive skills but the type that makes homely things you would go to eat with your Grandma. Which means when I am invited to something no one’s jaw drops open at my amazing plate of food, but, will happily sit next to me with the plate of biscuits or cake for a chat. I am very happy about this as these are my people! When we set out to develop a set of recipes that can help us understand how to use and become more comfortable in using native Australian ingredients I immediately thought of Thumbprint Biscuits. Some call them Jam Drops but these need a whole thumb print with a generous serving of this Plum and Cinnamon Myrtle Jam. I have to say I think I like these more than the classic type of biscuit as they are more fragrant and have a delicious earthy and nutty flavour.
About the ingredients
Cinnamon myrtle: The cinnamon myrtle is found in the tropical rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales.Cinnamon myrtle is from a small tree whose leaves have a spicy, cinnamon-like fragrance. Both Indigenous Australians and early settlers used its leaves for cooking and for medicinal purposes, and the tree’s wood for tools. This native spice has a subtle, spicy, cinnamon-like flavour.
Lemon myrtle: probably one of the most versatile and easy-to-use native herb commercially available at the moment, as its essentially "lemon in a leaf". Its slightly more herby than using traditional lemon, but has been found to have more citral (what gives the lemon flavour) than any other plant in the world, so its unmistakably lemon. This is also a great antimicrobial and antifungal, and can help against the spoilage of food, as well as being a strong antioxidant substance. The leaves can be dried and used whole, or ground, or can be used fresh to infuse in to liquids during cooking. An absolute must-have for the backyard herb garden.
- 125g butter
- 1 1/2 cup SR Flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3/4 tsp lemon myrtle
- 1 pinch salt
- Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup plum and cinnamon myrtle jam
Plum and Cinnamon Myrtle Jam:
- 1 kg blood plums
- 1 kg sugar
- 1 lemon
- 2 tsp cinnamon myrtle
Steps and Method - Biscuits
- Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a large baking tray.
- Beat butter and sugar until creamy, light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat again until blended well.
- Beat in sifted flour, lemon myrtle and salt. Place in the refrigerator for 30mins before rolling into balls the size of a walnut and place on the tray, allowing 5cms between to spread.
- Make an indentation in the centre of each ball with your thumb and place a small quantity of jam in each.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until biscuits are light golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool on tray for 10 mins and allow to cool on a rack.
Steps and Method - Jam
- Wash the plums, halve them and remove the seeds. Weigh the fruit and make sure you have exactly the same amount of sugar as fruit.
- Place the plums and sugar in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the lemon zest, juice and cinnamon myrtle. Heat on low, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a light rolling boil and allow to simmer for 1 hour, or until the mixture has slightly thickened.
- Test the mixture by putting a small saucer in the freezer for 1 minute. Remove from the freezer and put 1 teaspoon of jam on to the saucer. Leave for 1 minute, run your finger through the centre of the jam and if it wrinkles it’s set.
- Once set, pour the jam into 4 x 250 ml sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark place.