Saturday, January 18, 2014

Toast Topper #40: Peach - Almond Melba Jam

I love discovering international cultures through food. For instance, if you were to ask me back when I first started this blog what a "melba" was, I would have guessed somebody's aunt, maybe their great grandmother, but definitely not a dessert!

Peach-Almond Melba JamNow I know that a melba (specifically, a peach melba) is a dessert composed of peaches with a raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream, named after an opera singer and created by the infamous Escoffier. The versions I've been exposed to also include some sort of almond element, usually in the form of Amaretto mixed with the raspberries, although I don't know if that is the "true" form of the dessert. At any rate, it is a fantastic combination of flavours and textures, especially in mid Summer when the star fruits are at their peak and it's hot enough to want a cold dessert. 

Unfortunately, ice cream isn't really on the menu that much around here these days, what with my mom on her yearly "post-holiday" diet and my stepdad under close blood-sugar scrutiny. However, there is no separating mom from her daily toast and jam, so with flash-frozen Niagara peaches and raspberries in my freezer from the Summer begging to be used I decided to channel the great Escoffier and turn the grand finale into a morning delight. Things really got rolling quickly thanks to the jelling sugar I used instead of pectin and standard sugar, and for kicks (and a kick) I tossed in a half-shot of Amaretto along with the citric acid to perk up the flavours a bit. The merest hint of cardamom evoked the feelings of baking and desserts too, and added a nice note of exoticism to the jar. Authentic or not, it was definitely well received and I hear tell it makes a mean almond butter and jelly sandwich too!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Peach - Almond Melba Jam
Makes 4 cups, 32 (2 tbsp) servings
2 cups (about 10 ½ oz) peaches, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups (about 6 ½ oz) raspberries
½ tsp citric acid powder
¼ tsp cardamom
pinch salt
2 cups "jam sugar" with added pectin (I used Redpath's QuickSet for Jam)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp amaretto or ½ tsp pure almond extract
  1. Combine all the ingredients but the "jam sugar" in a heavy saucepot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring.
  3. Raise heat to a boil and add the sugar.
  4. Boil hard for 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the amaretto and vanilla.
  6. Ladle into jars and process 15 minutes in a water bath (if canning).
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 58.9
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.1 g