For the Jam
- The first step as always is sterilizing the jars. Wash the jars and lids with hot soapy water then place onto a roasting tray and place into an oven heated to 180C for about 15 mins. Just before you start making the jam, pop a plate into the freezer.
- Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and set onto the hob set over medium/low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium/high and bring the jam to a rolling boil and cook for about 10 minutes.
- To test if the jam is fully cooked there are a few simple ways you can check. The first is the flake test. Lift the wooden spoon above the pan and allow the jam to drip back into the pan, if some drips cling to the spoon rather than running off back into the pan you're good. My preferred way of testing the jam though is to take the plate out of the freezer and spoon on a little of the jam. Pop the plate aside for a minute or so before pushing the jam with your finger, if it wrinkles it will set, if it is still liquid cook it for a little longer.
- Once the jam has finished cooking turn off the heat and leave for a minute or so to let it settle. If there is any foam on top carefully skim that off and discard (there is nothing wrong with the foam, you could happily stir it back into the jam if you are feeling lazy, but technically the foam is full of air and can make the jam spoil a little quicker, also it just looks ugly so skim away). Remove the jars from the oven and carefully divide the jam between the jars sealing immediately.
For the Bakewell Brioche Buns
1. For the brioche, place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl and mix together. Add the eggs and milk and mix to form a rough shaggy dough. Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook knead this mixture on medium/low speed for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. With the mixer still running add in the butter a little at a time.
2. Once all the butter has been incorporated, knead for a further 10-15 minutes or until the dough is elastic and no longer sticking to the side of the bowl. Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film, then pop the bowl in the fridge overnight.
3. In the morning, pull the dough from the fridge and divide into 8 equal pieces and form into balls. Roll into flat discs, about 10-12cm wide and place onto parchment lined baking trays and lightly cover with cling film, setting aside for about 45 minutes or until risen and puffy. Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan).
4. Whilst the dough is rising make the frangipane by beating together the butter, sugar and almonds until light and smooth. Add the flour and stir to combine.
5. When ready to assemble the buns, use your fingers to gently form a depression in the middle of each round of dough, leaving a rough 2cm border. Fill the depression with a couple teaspoons of your delicious jam and top with the frangipane, carefully spreading to the edge.
6. Slice each pear half into thin slices and place gently on top of the frangipane, pressing in just a little bit. Brush the brioche border with a beaten egg and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake the buns in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and serve whilst still a little warm. These are best on the day they are made but can be gently rewarmed in the oven the day after baking if you don't eat them all in the first sitting.