Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for June, 2012

Apricot Jam

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 9, 2012

I don’t know how other people feel, but apricots were meant to be cooked, because, unlike any other fruit, they taste better after cooking than before.  An apricot jam is a great thing to have in your coffers because you can do so many things with it. In addition to its usual spot on top of a bread product, a couple teaspoons of it can brighten up a pie or cobbler and it is great in Chinese food mixed with a little Sriracha.  And its wonderful on a jam tart. mmmmm….  This recipe was taken from David Lebowitz’ website.  I halved the recipe and took out the kirsch.  As the recipe suggested,  I cracked the apricot pits and stuck them in a bit of cheese cloth in the jam as it was cooking.  I expected a faint almond undertone the the jam, but tasted none.  If this appeals to you,  you could just add a half teaspoon of almond extract.

Ingredients:

4.5 cups apricots

1/4 cup water

3 cups sugar

1/2 tbs.  lemon/lime juice

Method:

1. Slice up the apricots (size does not matter,  you could cut it into halves if you want) and extract the pits.  The apricots do not need to be peeled.

2. Place the apricots in a large pot, and add the water. Cover the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the apricots are tender and cooked through.  This takes less than 10 min.

3. Put a small plate in the freezer.

4. Add the sugar to the apricots and cook, uncovered on a low flame, stirring frequently.

5. When the jam looks thick and slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the nudge test: If the jam mounds and wrinkles, it’s done. This will take about 30 min (on a low flame).  The finished jam should be about 220ºF/ 104ºC on a candy thermometer according to Lebowitz.

6. Stir in the lemon juice ladle the jam into clean jars and cover. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

7.  I got about 2 cups of jam from this recipe.  I put in the fridge for immediate use and other in the freezer.  I have no idea how one cans jams and don’t plan to learn.  Putting the jam in the freezer and taking out aliquots works just fine for me, although I do not recommend this for fear of poisoning you.

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Almond Shortbread

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 2, 2012

Have you ever used almond paste?  It is basically marzipan, except that it has a little less sugar.  But if you like the flavor of almonds, this could be the ingredient that jazzes up your desserts.  I previously posted an almond cake on this blog that uses almond paste: it is one of my favorite cakes in the whole world.  I was rooting around for a recipe to use up a log of almond paste when I came across this recipe on the manufacturer’s (Odense) website.  I tinkered some with it and liked the results.  I swirled in some strawberry jam into the batter, it looked pretty, but the shortbread is really lovely without it.  Either way, this is a quick and wonderful recipe to have in your repertoire.

Ingredients:

1-7 oz log Odense Almond Paste, grated (I cut it into small pieces, this worked fine, but next time I will blend it with the butter and sugar in the food processor)

1 cup sugar

2 sticks salted butter, room temp (the butter does need to be at room temp).

2 egg yolks

1tsp almond essence  (this is not in the original recipe, but I wanted a more intense almond flavor)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1 substituted 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup ground almond powder)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2-21/2 tbs.  jam (strawberry or raspberry),  optional

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish.

3. Add the almond paste, sugar and butter to a mixing bowl. Mix

on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for

three minutes, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl.

4. Add the almond essence and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well between each yolk.

Beat on high speed for three minutes, until light in color and

texture.

5. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to batter. Mix on

low speed, until just incorporated.Do not over-mix!

6. Lightly press the dough into the greased baking dish and  smooth the surface.

7.  Warm up the jam for a few seconds in the microwave, till it is runny.  Using a butter knife or a fork, swirl in the jam so that it forms a pretty pattern (I am no good at this, but the shortbread will go down the hatch pretty easily, pretty or not).

8. Bake 22-29 minutes or until lightly golden.  Mine needed 29 min, may be because I added the almond flour and the jam.

9. Cool pan on wire rack. Don’t cut until cool.

10. Store in an airtight container.

Posted in baked, Dessert, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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