Monday, July 30, 2012

ManyBerry Jam (Toast Topper #7!)

I'm the type of person who just suddenly stops in the middle of a task to pick up a new one. Call it a type of "shiny" or "Dory" complex, but at least that way the potential of getting several things done at once is there! Plus, if I can start a task and have it auto-pilot itself more or less to completion, I'm technically still working on it, right? That's probably why I like to bake so much - especially yeast breads - because after a few minutes of mixing and kneading I can just walk away for an hour or two and let it do it's thing, then work for a few more minutes and walk away again before finally getting around to the whole "baking" actuality (I actually read a funny translation of "letting bread rise" this morning - you have to "let the bread grow up"!). The summer is a bit of a slow one for me, "paying-job" wise, so I'm passing time by finally getting around to cooking from and reviewing the awesome stack of books Thomas Allen and Beth Cook PR have trusted me with. I have so many of the sweet and savoury delights I've found to share - if I can just stay focused long enough to write about them!

One of the books I recently reviewed was fellow Canadian Grace Massa Langlois' Grace's Sweet Life: Homemade Italian Desserts from Cannoli, Biscotti, and Tiramisu to Torte, Tartufi, and Struffoli. Full of rich and fairly complicated to pass off during the week recipes, I couldn't readily make a full-out dessert from the book. However, like I wrote in my review, because the fare is that complex, there's tons of easily achievable mini-recipes to try out! I have a couple of those to share with you too - the first one being this dead simple, yet so incredibly brilliant, method for making jam. Grace's method bakes the berries with the sugar and lemon juice instead of being cooked down on the stove - which may be an old trick to some but it was a complete novelty to me! Jam isn't all that difficult to make anyway, but since there's no pectin or boiling times to fuss with this version is essentially foolproof, not to mention easily scalable (I made a small batch that my mom can eat within a few weeks, since it isn't canned). Even the amount of sugar isn't set in stone, I reduced it with no effect whatsoever, and the zest of a lemon helps to "brighten up" the mixture too.We have a little countertop convection oven at home, so I used that to keep the house cool, and because I'm far too lazy to clean my food mill and my food processor I skipped the "de-seeding" part of the recipe.  Honest food with simple ingredients is like that - open to interpretation, substitution and modification because there is simply nothing fiddly in it to worry about!

Almost any "soft" fruit will work in this - berries, peaches, plums, groundcherries, fresh figs... even mango and papaya! Regardless of which fruit you choose to roast for this jam, keep in mind that it's flavour is getting concentrated through roasting and there isn't a ton of sugar to hide poor quality fruit behind. For us in the summer, that means we're going local and in season all the way - I used strawberries, blueberries and cherries from the farmer's market that were all grown nearby, and without a doubt they were the reason why this jam tastes so good!


ManyBerry Jam
Makes about 1 cup
1/3 cup halved strawberries
1 1/4 cup pitted cherries
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
zest of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a rectangular baking dish with parchment.
  2. Spread the berries out in one layer on the parchment and sprinkle with the sugar and half the lemon juice. Stir to coat.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the berries are reduced and the mixture is thick and sticky.
  4. Scrape into a blender with the remaining lemon juice and lemon zest and puree until smooth.
  5. If desired, pass through a food mill or sieve to remove seeds (I didn't bother).
  6. Chill before serving.
  7. This will last up to 3 weeks in a tightly covered container in the fridge.
Amount Per (2-tbsp) Serving
Calories: 50.0
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 0.3 g

1 comment :

FamilySpice said...

Great idea! I've seen her cookbook and love her blog! Never roasted the fruit for jam, though. Love it!