Sunday Treats

Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than when I get a new recipe right on the first try. And not much else makes me happier than getting to use up fresh farmer’s market ingredients in delicious new ways. Case in point: my last foray into jam making involved lots of pectin and lots of cut up strawberries, and tubs full of a too sugary substance that, for all the pectin dumped in, ran like water, instead of jelling up. I don’t remember what I ended up using it for (cake and cake filling I think), but it was a pretty disappointing experience. So, the last time we were in Idaho Falls, we picked up (along with some farm fresh eggs, homemade dog treats, homemade flour tortillas) a paper sack-ful of beautiful cherries. Since I’m still trying to look decent in a bridesmaids dress, I didn’t want to make (and subsequently consume mass quantities of) cherry pie, I was delighted to see this post over on one of my favorite food and photography blogs. I’ve been feeling brave lately, so I decided to give jam making one more try. I’m glad I did because I ended up with one large and one medium sized jar full of beeeyoootiful cherry jam (well i call it jam, erik says they’re more like preserves) but either way, delicious on morning toast and I need morning deliciousness in my life. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it set up and without the use of pectin, too. The lemons in the recipe cut into the sugar so it’s not overwhelmingly sweet. Homemade jam is an all-around lovely experience and I hope if you find yourself with a surplus of some kind of fruit, you’ll try it and bring some of the sunny deliciousness into your life.

Cherry Jam
recipe adapted from Honey and Jam

To make the one large jar and one medium sized jar full, you need:

3 cups of cherries, pitted and chopped
2 cups sugar
juice and zest of 2 large lemons

Dump your cherries, lemon juice, and zest into a large pot. Cook on medium, stirring constantly, until the cherries are softened. It took about 10-15 minutes for mine to get to that stage. Stir in the sugar and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to thicken up, making sure you’re stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot. To test it, the recipe asks you to place a small plate or bowl in the freezer while the jam is cooking. As soon as the cherries are starting to look thickened, remove a little from the pot and place a smear on the plate/bowl. Put it back in the freezer for a couple of minutes and if, when you take it out and poke it, it’s wrinkly and just looks like something you’d like to spread on your toast, it’s done. If not, continue cooking and stirring, but keep testing, because you don’t want to burn it. When it’s done, let it cool down a bit and then put it in jars. Screw the lid on and keep it in the refrigerator. It’s supposed to keep in the fridge for a long time.

holy breakfast deliciousness, batman

And, because I’m self indulgent, and because I really don’t like dieting that much, wedding photos be damned, I made good on my promise to get some homemade coffee ice cream into my grubby paws. And man, am I ever glad I did. I don’t know who this David Lebovitz dude is, but I think I will never, ever use anyone else’s recipes for ice creams. That super rich and delicious chocolate I made a couple weeks ago and now this coffee ice cream were made from variations on his recipes found on other people’s blogs. They make me make sex noises while I’m eating the ice cream. ‘Nuff said.

Coffee Ice Cream
recipe found on Simply Recipes

You need:

1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2% because that’s what I keep in my fridge and the ice creams turned out just fine)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (I used a French Roast that I buy in bulk at Sam’s Club)
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground coffee

In a pot, heat the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup cream until hot and steamy (not boiling). Remove from the heat, cover, and let it steep for an hour. Place the 1 cup of remaining cream into a bowl (I used a medium sized stainless steel one), set it in a larger bowl full of ice, and set a strainer on top of it. Reheat the coffee mixture until steamy again (not boiling). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Carefully (carefully!), gently and slowly stream some of the hot coffee mixture into the egg yolks. Temper them, in other words. But do it slowly because if you’re not careful you’ll scramble your egg yolks and I don’t know about you, but scrambled egg ice cream doesn’t sound like a good time. Once the eggs are tempered and warmed up sufficiently, stir them back into the pot with the rest of the milk-coffee mixture. Cook this on medium heat, until the custard thickens and coats the back of your spatula. Pour this mixture through the strainer and into that cup of cream in the bowl. Press on your coffee beans to make sure you get all of that custardy goodness into the bowl. Discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and the ground coffee. Stir it altogether. Cover it, then place just the bowl with the custard into the fridge. You can get rid of the bowl with the ice in it (I mean dump the ice and wash your bowl, don’t throw it away. Unless you’re wasteful like that. Then do whatever you want. It’s your damn bowl.) I chilled the custard mixture overnight, and the next morning, gave it another stir. I recovered the bowl with plastic wrap and foil, then set it in the freezer. I let it freeze for a few hours while I went outside and puttered around in my garden, then came back in, and with an electric handmixer, broke up the ice crystals and beat it up pretty well. Recover, put it back in the freezer, let it freeze a few more hours. Repeat with the mixing. Cover and keep repeating the freeze-mix step until it gets to the right thickened consistency. The set of directions for making ice cream without a machine says it should be soft-serve consistency. Then spoon it all into a largeish plastic container and let it harden overnight in the freezer.

on an episode of Top Chef (or maybe it was Top Chef Masters, I don’t recall) Gail Simmons told one of the chefs that some part of their dish made her want to smear it all over a loved one. kinky. eating this ice cream is like that. you find yourself privy to a certain giddyness that feels almost wrong (but so, so right at the same time)…

Cooking Music: The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow

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8 Comments

Filed under Sweet Tooth, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Sunday Treats

  1. amanda

    dude, i JUST made cherry jam last week! like, i was eating it on a piece of toast AS I READ THIS ENTRY!

    i’m glad you found a better jam recipe and were successful with it. you’re in yummy cherry country, too; you might consider stocking up;) my great-grandmother taught my parents (yes, both of them) to make jam like this. just a bit of lemon, and equal parts fruit and sugar (you have to pack in the fruit to get the ratio right, though). it always feels like you’re going to cook the stuff to death, but it works with cherries, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries.

  2. rebekah

    ::gasp:: blueberries? i can do this with blueberries too? ::dies::

    yessss fresh idaho cherries and utah ones too are mighty tasty. i might consider letting Utah continue to exist as a legitimate state in my mind as long as i can have the cherries … next on my list to try is marmalade …

    • amanda

      dude, you can do this with ANY BERRIES! it’s all about cooking out the water to get the right consistency.

      you have me in the mood to start canning shit now. i’ll have to talk emily into visiting so we can make a few big batches of peach jam, since that’s the only fruit texas seems to be good for. i promise to send you some πŸ˜‰

  3. Joy

    Dearest Rebekah,
    I love your blog. And I love you. I now want to go home and make cherry jam and coffee ice cream. Especially the ice cream after trying a bite of my friend Janet’s coffee ice cream when we went to Amy’s ice cream on Sunday night. Also, I will be more than happy to be your guinea pig if you make marmalade πŸ™‚

    Love,
    Joy

  4. rebekah

    Coffee ice cream is the world’s greatest creation. True story.

    You people may not get a choice in the guinea pig thing because all the recipes for marmalade i’ve come across make multiple batches. we’ll see how it goes when oranges go on sale. πŸ™‚

  5. coffee ice cream, oh I could go for a huge bowl right now…it’s freaking hot here!!

    I would love to make cherry jam, but the girls keep eating all my cherries as soon as I pull them out of the bag!!

    sweetlife

    • rebekah

      i hope you can steal some fruit away to make some jam/preserves. this being my only batch of anything jam-like that turned out well has me thinking i can make all sorts of them now. and i think i will. i wish i could send you some of the ice cream! my dad (who still lives in texas) has been telling me it’s been hot there for months now. i don’t miss that kind of weather (well, in the dead of winter here sometimes i do) but i feel awful bad for you guys who have to endure the worst of it!

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