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    Damson And Blackberry Cheese

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    Damson And Blackberry Cheese

    A fruit cheese is cooked long enough to set to a firm consistency, so that it can be cut and sliced, rather than spread. Although this one is fine on toast, it really shines when served with classy British cheeses, the hard kind like a fine traditional Cheddar, or crumbling Lancashire. I serve it with game too – with roast pheasant, for example

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 80 minutes to 140 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 40 minutes

    Makes: 1.5kg

    Ingredients

    • 750g damsons
    • 750g blackberries
    • 600g granulated or caster sugar
    • Vegetable or sunflower oil

    Method

    1. Brush 5 or 6 x 250ml glass or china moulds – ramekins will do – with oil. Be sure to choose moulds with sides that are either dead straight and vertical, or that slope outwards towards the rim, so that you will be able to turn the cheeses out when needed.
    2. Pick over the fruit and discard any that are damaged or overripe. Put damsons and blackberries into a large pan and add enough water to cover. Bring up to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the fruit is extremely soft. Skim out the damson stones with a slotted spoon.
    3. Strain the fruit through a nylon sieve. Measure the sieved fruit, then return to the pan, adding 300g sugar for every 500g cooked fruit. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat and boil gently for 1–2 hours depending on the amount of liquid. At first it will only need to be stirred every 3 or 4 minutes, but as the mixture thickens, you will have to stir more and more often to prevent it catching on the base. Stir more or less constantly for the last 5–10 minutes. The cheese is done when a wooden spoon leaves a distinct view of the base when dragged across the bottom of the pan; think 'parting of the red sea' and you will be on the right lines.
    4. Take off the heat and spoon into the moulds. Leave to cool, cover with clingfilm or jam pot covers, then pack away somewhere cool and dark. Though you can eat immediately, they are best ignored for a month or two before turning out.

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