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.
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.
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
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)
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