Tomato spoon sweet are whole candied tomatoes in sugar syrup and are a very traditional treat on the Greek island of Kos. Taking it a step further – tomato jam, or marmalade as it is known, is also a local favourite and as strange as it may sound, it is a fantastic accompaniment to Greek yogurt. So much so, that is has replaced our usual Greek honey with walnuts as our favourite topping.
Last trip to Greece we savoured and rationed the jar we brought home until, alas it was gone. So I took to the internet to try and find recipes to make it. After experimenting, including one failure along the way, I think I’ve come up with a pretty good rendition.
The marmalade is also excellent on toast, rusks etc. Try it topped with a little ricotta or my new favourite cheese – fresh Manouri (which is creamy and like a slightly salted firm ricotta).
A couple of points to consider … Firstly I prefer to use Roma tomatoes and secondly this must be made when tomatoes are at their peak and most flavoursome.
Don’t be tempted to grate the lemon rind, it tastes better when you have little tangible pieces as they candy and add a great flavour. Use a veggie peeler to take off thin slices of rind and then finely chop.
1 kg Roma tomatoes
500g castor sugar
Rind of one lemon cut into tiny dice (see above)
1 vanilla bean chopped in half (or 1 tsp vanilla paste)
1. Remove the skin from all the tomatoes. Do this by making a cross incision (with a knife) to tips of the tomatoes and pour over boiling water, leaving submerged for 20-30 seconds. Remove tomatoes from water and peel, the skin should slide off easily.
2. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze to remove the seeds from 3/4 of the tomatoes and discard seeds. Leave the other quarter intact. Chop roughly all the tomatoes into 1.5 cm pieces. I prefer a chunky marmelade. For a more smoother consistiency cut them smaller (to 1 cm).
3. Place the tomatoes and the juice into a glass or ceramic dish. Pour over the sugar, add vanilla bean or paste) and stir well. Leave to mascerate for about 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Place the tomato mix in a saucepan and add the chopped lemon rind. Bring to boil and simmer gently for around an hour.
5. Meanwhile sterilise your jars which ever method you prefer. I do mine in the dishwasher. Also put some small saucers in the freezer to use to test the jam for readiness later.
6. At 45mins – test the marmalade . Take a saucer from the freezer and place a teaspoon of mixture in the centre. After a thirty seconds run your finger through to see if it has thickened. Check again every 5mins until you can see the consistency has jellied and thickened – but is not solid. Remove from heat.
7. Leave to cool slightly for around 15mins, then carefully spoon into jars. Leave to cool completely in the jars before placing the lids on and sealing well. Will keep in the fridge for a year but trust me it won’t last long!
N.B. Don’t worry if it still looks like a lot of liquid when you test it … it will firm up when it cools. The first time I made this, big rookie error … I removed some of the liquid and ended up with jars of sticky toffee! Which while tasted delicious but it nearly bent all our spoons trying to remove the stuff from the jar!!!
Makes around 500-600mls