There are no photos of the cooking process, of course. There never are, but only because I invariably move into the Jam Zone and then forget to take any. Also, I tend to cook jam in the middle of the night (I have no idea why - maybe because there are a minimum of distractions at that time and I can give it my full attention).
I used a recipe from the Lovely Stephanie as a starting point, but then discovered I had no allspice, so I made up my own.
The result, I have to say, was pretty good.
I had 4kg of fresh figs, which I cleaned, destalked, and cut in half. To that I added one cup of very strong black chai (Byron and/or Rainbow, if you're wondering), the zest of 3 blood oranges, a nice big knob of fresh ginger (probably a piece about the size to comfortably sit in you hand), finely chopped, and 3 1/2 kg of white sugar.
I steeped the figs in the chai, zest and ginger, pouring the sugar over the top and left it to rest for several hours.
Just before cooking, I added the grated flesh of 4 peeled granny smith apples. This doesn't actually affect the flavour of the jam particularly. But figs are low in both acid and pectin, and the apples will make sure the jam sets. If you're ever worried about your jam setting, add cooking apples at the ratio of about one apple to one kg fruit (this is one of my Trade Secrets - don't say I don't love you). Jamsetter is for sillies.
You bring it to the boil, not too fast, making sure that all the sugar has dissolved, and then boil rapidly, stirring often, until it passes the gel test*. This could take anything up to two hours. You know you're getting close when the jam changes consistency and starts looking like jam, rather than stewed fruit. You need the water to evaporate out for this to happen. Keep a close eye on it, stir it often to stop the heat building up underneath (this will burn your jam). You'll find yourself turning the heat down bit by bit over the cooking process, as the temperature of the syrup increases, but you want it boiling reasonably hard without actually burning or boiling over. Stir often, and NEVER leave unattended (a quick whizz to the loo is as much as you'll ever want to risk). Jam is an unpredictable and dangerous creature, capable of boiling up unexpectedly and burning your house down. At the very least, it can make a mess awful enough to break your heart and ensure that you'll never try jam-making again. Jam sets at around 160 degrees celsius (320F). It's like lava, and requires handling with great care and respect. Having said that, it's dead easy and enormously rewarding.
When set, pour** into warmed, clean jars, let sit until they've stopped steaming, and then seal, tipping upside down for a little while to sterilise the lids.
My batch made about a dozen 300ml jars.
* To perform a gel test: Place a spoonful of jam on chilled plate, and return to freezer. Wait 1 to 2 minutes; remove plate from freezer, and gently push your fingertip through the jam; it should wrinkle slightly.
** I do this by ladelling the jam into a heatproof jug, and then carefully, and with the aid of a teaspoon, pour from the jug into the jars. Saves on the clean up afterwards - the less jam you spill the less messy and sticky it will all be at the end.