While making muffins the other morning, I found myself musing on the word jammy – no doubt because I was baking with jam. Yet, jammy has nothing to do with jam nor does it have anything to do jammies (that is, pajamas, which I was wearing at the time). Jammy is an adjective in British slang that describes something that is very lucky. I suppose I was feeling lucky when I thought up this novel way to use my plum jam.

For some inexplicable reason, I always seem to have an over abundance of plum jam. This is quite possibly due to:

  1. a prolific damson tree in my garden that always provides me with a great many of those tiny dark purple plums
  2. the fact that on occasion I’ve found bags of red dessert plums on my doorstep, deposited there in the wee hours of the morning by a friend with a plum tree on her way to the gym
  3. my inability to resist those smooth red, purple and yellow juicy fruits at my greengrocer or in the supermarket
  4. all of the above

Other than on toast or dolloped on oatmeal, plum jam is one of my favorite fillings for a jam crostata (see my post on The Sophisticated Fig Newton) – which is also makes a good breakfast treat. But, after seeing a recipe in Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson for jam cake, I thought this might be another possibility to highlight my plum jam. The jam cake, a tradition from the American South, actually has the jam incorporated into the batter, although Julie Richardson suggests berry-based or apricot jams, not plum.

Coincidentally, another British slang meaning for jammy is desirable – a word that certainly describes these muffins.

Plum Jam Breakfast Muffins
I applied the principle of jam in the batter for these muffins and combined it with my favorite topping for plum or damson crumble based on one from Nigel Slater. I used damson jam, but any plum jam will work well.

Makes about 2 dozen muffins

  • 4 oz. (1stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups damson or plum jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour

Crumble topping:

  • 2 oz. (4 Tablespoons) cold butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal (rolled oats)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your muffin tins by inserting paper muffin moulds.

Make the crumble topping by cutting the cold butter in small pieces into a medium-sized bowl. Add the flour, oatmeal and sugar. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a crumbly mixture. Set this aside.

Make the muffin batter by creaming butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add in one egg at a time and once these have been incorporated, add the jam, milk and vanilla. Mix well before adding the dry ingredients. When the dry ingredients are mixed in, the batter will begin to produce air bubbles as the baking soda begins to react to the acid of the jam.

Fill your muffin cups with batter 1/2 to 3/4 full. Spoon on the crumble mixture, distributing evenly (about a heaping tablespoon each). Bake for 20 minutes until the crumble topping is light brown. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes, remove and cool on rack. Store in. an air tight container. They are even better the second day.




    • My husband who is British reminded me of the slang meaning of the word. I had to look it up and then thought it might be amusing to work a post around it. Yes, the muffins are great!


    • I had to look it up to make sure I got it right. My British husband likes to tease me with these strange British slang words. But, I also remember hearing it on a TV program – one of the Auf Wiedersehen Pet movies where a British workmen from Newcastle who was working at the British embassy in Cuba is trying to explain the term Jammy to a group of young Chinese men and women who are enamored of the football team, Manchester United. Once explained, they then proceed to use it in every sentence – a real clash of cultures!


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