eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: jam

Chunky Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

For my breakfast toast I like my jam chunky and fruity, thick, with skin, seeds and everything. I’ve never been a big fan of jellies, it’s like something is missing, I need to feel those crunchy bites. Even blackberries, red or black currants, I always cook the whole fruit. When it comes to my favourite spread, sweet strawberries, I cut the fruit in half, it makes a very chunky jam, you can still taste and feel the berries.

In my family, we have always used  jam sugar (also known as gelling or jelly sugar) when we make strawberry jam. It contains pectin made of apples and citrus fruits and you can also choose between three different types, either 3:1, 2:1 or 1:1. The numbers stand for the ratio between fruit and sugar,  I prefer 2:1 which allows a less sweet jam, you only need 1 pound of sugar for 2 pounds of berries. I cook mine for 4 minutes to turn it into a concentrated fruit spread, I don’t even need to test for the setting point. It works perfectly!

Since I was a child, I’ve always loved to cook jams. It was exciting, all those fruits to prepare, my mother would bring out her special tall jam pot and the long wooden spoon, both only came to use when it was jam time! The process of sterilizing the jars in boiling water and spirit felt like a science project to me. From my mother I also learnt to cover the jam in the jar with a circle cut out from thick plastic foil dunked in alcohol. It prevents the jam from molding and keeps it fresh for years!

Strawberry Jam

 

Strawberry Jam

 Strawberry Jam

When you cook jam you should always use a tall pot to prevent the jam from boiling over. The fruits will be two to three times as high when they’ve reached boiling point! My pot is 24cm / 9.5″ high and 20cm / 8″ wide.

 

For 8 medium sized jars you need

strawberries, rinsed and cut in half (you can quarter the big ones), 2kg / 4 1/2 pounds
jam sugar (gelling or jelly sugar), 2:1 or 1:1, 1kg / 2 1/4 pound

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for 5 minutes. Dunk the rims of the jars in spirit and wash out the lids and the ladle (you will use to fill the jars) with the alcohol. If you can get a thick foil (thicker than cling film), cut out 8 circles roughly the size of the jars and put into the spirit as well.

Put the fruits and sugar in a pot and bring to the boil, stirring with a long wooden spoon every now and then. When the boiling point is reached (you should see quite a few bubbles coming up), let the jam boil for 4 minutes, carefully stirring a couple times (without burning your hand, hence the long spoon!).

Take the pot of the heat and fill the prepared jars with the sterilized ladle almost to the top. Cover with the circles of foil and close tightly immediately. Let the jam sit for 1 day before you spread it on your first morning toast and store the jars in your pantry.

Strawberry Jam

 

Strawberry Jam

A Sweet Berliner – Our Family Feast

Berliner

A long time ago, my family started a beautiful tradition. All my sisters, their children and friends of the family meet at my mother’s house in the countryside to celebrate carnival. We listen to silly carnival music, the children dress up in funny costumes and we make huge amounts of a special traditional carnival pastry – the famous “Berliner”. When the sweets are done, we fill them in my mother’s large white bowls from Tuscany, place them on her long table and enjoy the fruits of our work, which usually goes on for hours. In general, I can’t say that I’m too fond of the 5th season (the name given to carnival time in Germany) but the mood and the food at my mother’s home makes me love it!

The sweet speciality we make looks a bit like a doughnut without a hole, it’s made of yeast dough, filled with jam and deep fried in vegetable shortening. It has different names in different regions but where I come from, which is the center of carnival in West Germany, they are called “Berliners”. Funnily enough, they are called “Pfannkuchen” in Berlin, which means pancakes. In the Swabian area in the South of Germany where my step father comes from, people call them “Fastnachtskuechle”. I could continue endlessly with even more names “Krapfen”, “Kreppel”, seemingly every region wanted to give them a name of their own.

So we all gather in my mother’s kitchen and each of us has a specific job to do in the making of our “Berliners” – which never changes. For years now, my job is to watch the sweets together with my step father while we fry them in a large cast iron pot. We have to turn them and dust them with sugar when they are done. My mother and sisters, on the other side of the kitchen, take care of the dough and filling the “Berliners”. On my photos you can also see some free shaped sweets which are the bits and pieces of dough that are left after cutting out circles.

Carnival is still a month away (and I’m also not at my mother’s house at the moment) but there is a reason I made my own “Berliners” at my home now. I was asked to participate in a blog tour with 13 other blogs from America and Australia and write about “Hearts At Home”. My heart is always where good food is and that’s at my home most of the time but also at carnival at my mother’s together with my family. Our tradition, to meet at this time and to make this special food means a lot to me. I look forward to seeing my loved ones and spend a few wonderful, silly days together with them. That’s where my heart is and that’s home to me. Making “Berliners” without my family was still a fun experience. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t manage on my own but I did, and even more so it was surprisingly easy which makes me think about having this adventure more than just once a year! Below you can find all the other great blogs who wrote about their own personal view on “Hearts At Home”.

Berliner

 

Berliner

Blueberry Jam Filled Berliner

I made 12 jam filled “Berliners” plus several free shaped sweets (without filling), all in all of 500g / 1 pound of flour. I melted 1kg / 2 pounds of vegetable shortening for deep frying in a large pot, enough to allow the sweets to float freely. My mother uses a much bigger pot and 3kg / 6 pounds of shortening but she starts off with 3kg / 6 pounds of flour as she has to feed more hungry people than I did.

plain flour 500g / 1 pound
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
sugar 3 tablespoons
vanilla sugar 1 package
salt scant 1 teaspoon
milk, lukewarm, 250ml
butter, melted and cooled down, 80g / 3 ounces
blueberry jam, around 200g / 7 ounces for filling
egg white, mixed with a fork, 1-2 to stick the discs of dough together
vegetable shortening 1kg / 2 pounds for frying

For dusting
50g / 2 ounces of icing sugar sieved together  with 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine the dry ingredients, add the milk and butter and mix with your dough hooks for 5 minutes. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven (top / bottom heat) for about an hour.

When the dough has doubled in size, take it out, punch it down and knead with your hands for 2 minutes. On a floured working surface, roll the dough out in batches and cut out 10cm / 4″ circles (I used an old tea cup from my grandmother). Put the bits and pieces of dough which are between the circles aside as you will fry them as well (without filling).

Heat the shortening in a large pot on highest temperature.

Take one disc of dough, drop a teaspoon of jam in the middle and brush the edge with egg white. Put a second disc on top, sealing well by pushing with your fingers along the outline twice to make sure that they won’t open in the hot fat.

To check the temperature of the fat, put a piece of dough inside, carefully as it’s very hot! Turn it with wooden spatulas or spoons, it should be done within a few seconds. The “Berliners” might take a few seconds longer. They will become a bit dark, that’s normal, but they shouldn’t burn, so adjust the temperature if necessary. Keep in mind that if it’s too low the inside won’t cook through. I always cut the first “Berliner” in half when I think it’s done to see if I have to change the setting.

When you take them out, let them cool for a few seconds before you dust them with your cinnamon icing sugar.

Berliner

The “Hearts At Home” Blog Tour

Shabby Art Boutique
At The Picket Fence
My Soulful Home
Town & Country Living
Bright Bold & Beautiful
Vintage Farmhouse
White Lace Cottage
Stone Gable
On Sutton Place
Lilacs & Longhorns
French Country Cottage
Eat In My Kitchen
Top This Top That
Emily A. Clark 

Berliner

 

Berliner

 

Berliner

 

Berliner

Sunset in a Jar – Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood Orange Marmalade

This red is just stunning. It’s like the brightest red sunset caught in a jar! I’m hooked on blood oranges, I have them all the time, as a snack or as fresh juice. They are so sweet and juicy at the moment that I much prefer them to normal oranges or tangerines even. I buy huge bags of the Italian ones, now that they are in season, organic with thin skin, and I think I could live off them (for now).

All good but I want to bring some variety in, therefore I decide to put them in a jar and made some blood orange marmalade. I’ve never made it before but so far my marmalade recipe worked very well with Seville oranges and tangerines, so why not with blood oranges (I wrote about my tangerine marmalade in December)? It worked, and more than that, the result is amazing! This marmalade is so sweet, yet slightly bitter, it’s just right! I spread it on a slice of white English bread, impatiently, it just finished cooking, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood Orange Marmalade

For 3-4 medium sized jam jars you need

organic blood oranges, rinsed, 1200g / 2 1/2 pounds
sugar 600g / 1 1/4 pounds
juice and seeds of 2 lemons
spirit to sterilise the rims of the jars

Sterilise the 4 jam jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.

Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Cook the oranges for 25 minutes or until soft (mine needed 25 minutes but they were small with thin skin). Take them out and keep some of the water.

Quarter the cooked oranges (don’t peel them, you use the whole orange!), take out their seeds and put them aside (you will need them). Cut the lemons in half and keep their seeds as well. In a small pan, heat up some of the blood orange cooking water (it should come up to 2cm / 3/4″), add the lemon seeds and orange seeds and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Shred the quartered oranges in a food processor for a few seconds. Put them in a large pan, add the sugar, the lemon juice and the water used to boil the seeds. Bring to the boil gently (the sugar has to dissolve first) and boil for 18-20 minutes.

Dip the rim of your jars in the spirit and wash out the lids of the jars with the alcohol as well. Fill your jars with the marmalade and close well immediately.

Blood Orange Marmalade

 

Blood Orange Marmalade

The Family Cookies

Sandwich Cookies

My mother started the tradition of these precious stacked Christmas cookies. They are little divas, very delicate, you have to be gentle with them as they are a bit fragile but they are worth all the effort – trust me! Apart from the fact that they look simply stunning, the buttery short crust of these cookies is one of the best I ever had. Just perfect, buttery but still light, flaky – they will melt in your mouth.

The dough isn’t much work at all. It needs to sit for half an hour and then you can start cutting out your cookies, baking and assembling them, with redcurrant jam or jelly in between. Some sugar dusting on top and they are done. You should just handle them with care and appreciate that you have something very precious and delicate between your fingers.

Sandwich Cookies

Sandwich Cookies – German Spitzbuben

For 60 sandwich cookies you need

flour 250g / 9 ounces
butter 150g / 5 ounces
egg yolks 2
sugar 2 tablespoons
a pinch of salt
cold water, 3 tablespoons
redcurrant jam or jelly
icing sugar for dusting

You need round cookie cutters in 2 or 3 different sizes (mine are 3.5cm / 1 1/2″ and 4.5cm / 1 3/4″).

Combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and quickly work the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and the water, continue mixing with the hook of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the dough out thinly (about 2-3mm) between cling film and cut out your cookies with a floured cookie cutter. If you want to have 2 different sizes cut out an equal amount of cookies with each cookie cutter. Place your cookies on a baking sheet and bake them for 8 minutes or until golden but not dark. Let them cool for a minute or two. Place 1/4 teaspoon of jam on a bigger cookie and put a smaller one on top. Press a little bit but not too much as they might break. Let them cool completely and dust with icing sugar.

Enjoy their beauty and – when you’re ready – pile them up carefully in a cookie box.

Sandwich Cookies

Sicilian Memories with my Tangerine Jam

Tangerine Jam

Last year I went to Sicily for the first time in my life. We stayed at a beautiful farm close to Noto located in soft hills between lemon, orange and tangerine trees. Every morning we got the most delicious breakfast served under pine trees with the old city of Noto in the distance. Freshly baked cakes, fruit, white bread fried in olive oil together with oregano (from the farm as well, the best oregano in the world!), it was heaven!

One of my many breakfast discoveries was a jam which looked like the golden sun and tasted so sweet and refreshing, with a hint of sourness and bitterness. Just divine!  This jam was made of tangerines and I think I must have emptied jars of it during our holiday. As soon as I got home and tangerines were available I made my own! This year, I have to refill my pantry with my Sicilian jam.

Tangerine Jam

 Sicilian Tangerine Jam

For 4 medium sized jam jars you need

organic tangerines, rinsed, 1200g / 2 1/2 pounds
sugar 600g / 1 1/4 pounds
juice and seeds of 2 lemons
spirit to sterilise the rims of the jars

Sterilise the 4 jam jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.

Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Put the tangerines in the water and let them boil for 20 minutes. Take the tangerines out and keep some of the water.

Quarter the cooked tangerines (don’t peel them, you use the whole tangerine!), take out their seeds and put them aside. Cut the lemons in half and keep their seeds as well. Heat up some of the tangerine cooking water in a small pan (it should come up to 2cm / 3/4″), add the lemon and tangerine seeds and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Shred the quartered tangerines in a food processor for a few seconds. Put them in a large pan, add the sugar, the lemon juice and the water used to boil the seeds. Bring to the boil gently (the sugar has to dissolve first) and boil everything for 18-20 minutes.

Dip the rim of your jars in the spirit and wash out the lids of the jars with the alcohol as well. Fill your jars with the jam and close well immediately.

Let the jars cool off and enjoy their amazing color – and the taste after a day or two as the jam has to sit a bit!

Tangerine Jam

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: