This reduced sugar French Apricot and Lavender Jam is beautifully versatile. It’s not just for spreading on baguettes, brioche or crêpes; serve warmed as a sauce on ice cream or as a filling for macarons.
Imagine my surprise back from holidays, seeing this crate of blushing apricots just waiting to be pounced on. I thought the apricot season was over but here they were, blushing up at me at our farmers’ market.
They came with a sign announcing, ‘Abricots – Confiture‘: specifically jam apricots, as smaller and riper. It didn’t take much convincing to make a batch of my all-time favourite French apricot jam with a touch of lavender.
What is Lavender Good For?
That French touch of lavender just gives this apricot jam a buzz of Provençal lavender fields. Our garden lavender isn’t quite the same thing but the heady aromas are a constant reminder of summer in Provence. My parents-in-law live on a hill overlooking a lavender distillery on the road to Apt and during summer, the fragrances waft from its chimney after the lavender harvest, ready to add to perfumes and oils on sale at the market.
Lavender oil is good for its calming properties but ask my girls, and they have another heady reminder of the scent. Every rentrée return to school in September, we would be braced for outbreaks of nits (les poux). Rather than buy expensive sprays and lotions at the Pharmacie, rub a drop of lavender oil behind the ears. It works!
I much prefer to infuse some dried lavender flowers to add a special French touch to this apricot jam. It’s a real winter treat to open up a jar of golden sunshine and smother it on slices of brioche, croissants, fresh baguette, thin crêpes or even Scotch pancakes for breakfast.
Reduced Sugar Apricot Jam
As I prefer to use half the sugar of a classic apricot jam recipe, the jam doesn’t last as long. It’s best to consume reduced sugar apricot jam within the year.
In our house, this is never a problem as it’s is consumed pretty quickly on crêpes, waffles, warmed as a sauce on Plombieres (Candied Fruit) Ice Cream or simply eaten by the spoon with a croissant!
The addition of butter is my both my Mum and Mother-in-law’s little secret to avoid too much scum floating to the top during the jam-making process.
Use Jam as a Filling to Make Apricot & Lavender Macarons
Plus it goes without saying (ça va sans dire – love that phrase!) that you could fill orange (or purple) shells to make apricot and lavender macarons. The beauty with macarons is that you can make any flavour of your imagination.
Be inspired from the recipes in the Mad About Macarons book and add your own personal touch. Here, I used the white chocolate ganache filling recipe on page 74 for the liquorice macarons, replacing the 30g of liquorice for the jam. Otherwise, just use the jam on its own.
French Apricot and Lavender Jam Recipe
French Apricot and Lavender Jam
- 1 kg (2.5 lb) apricots washed and cut in 2 (stones removed)
- 500 g (1 lb) granulated sugar with added pectin jam-making sugar
- juice of a lemon
- 2 fresh lavender flowers or 2 tsps dried lavender in a tea infuser
- 1 knob of butter
- Mix together the above ingredients (except the butter) in a large bowl and leave to macerate and infuse with the lavender overnight or about 4 hours.
- Remove the full lavender flowers or the tea strainer with the dried lavender.
- In a heavy high-sided pot (as I use induction heat, but traditionally - if you can - use a copper pot), bring the ingredients to a slow boil over a moderate heat for at least 45 minutes. Stir occasionally using a wooden spoon and add the knob of butter.
- Meanwhile, chill a saucer in the fridge to quicken the setting process.
- Turn down the heat and leave to simmer for another 15 minutes until thickened. Test the jam on the chilled saucer. If it wrinkles, it's set. If not, then continue to boil the jam and try again.
- Pour into warmed, sterilised jars. Cover with a disc of waxed paper - or parchment paper - and when cooled, tightly close the lids.