Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Forging Fromage - Cherry Conserve & Dutch Baby

This month's Forging Fromage challenge isn't forging a fromage at all. As part of the wider brief of exploring preserving, this month there are a couple of conserves to try.


Apparently a conserve is a jam that involves both fresh and dried fruit. And sometimes booze and spice. You learn something new every day.

I thought prune and cardamom conserve sounded good, but as fresh, beautiful English cherries had just hit the stores, I had to give the Brandied Red Cherry Conserve a try.

I made a half quantity (because those beautiful English cherries are bloody expensive, and we just don't eat that much jam), and I omitted the currants. I wanted to be able to taste the cherries, which I thought was already at risk with 1/4lb chopped candied peel involved, and I didn't want to buy a package of currants for just 1oz of them. And I used kirch instead of slivovitz because that's what we keep on hand.

I really liked the technique of making a puree of half of the fruit, and then adding the rest in.

Because I was making a smaller quantity, it didn't take anything like 20 minutes of cooking before it reached set point, but I was expecting that so it didn't candy or burn.

My final variation to the written recipe was not to bother canning/heat processing it any further after I bottled it. American recipe writers to seem to be very paranoid about jam. I poured the hot jam into a hot, sterilised glass jar, topped it with a drop more of the kirsch and put on the lid. As it cooled the "pop up" button bit depressed, as a vacuum was formed, so I feel pretty OK about eating it.

To sample the conserve, I made Heather's Dutch Baby. Which is basically a Yorkshire pudding.

The Dutch Baby itself was delicious - light, puffy and eggy. The conserve... was a disappointment. Tooth-achingly sweet, no discernible clove flavour, little discernible cherry flavour.

I think it will be nice served with sharp cheese, or in a sauce for duck or game, but as a jam it really isn't to my taste at all. I am very glad I only made half the quantity!

20 comments:

Suelle said...

That Dutch baby is definitely a Yorkshire Pudding! My mother used to bake apple slices into YP batter for a dessert.

Shame about the jam. I've never heard that conserves should contain dried fruit - I thought they just had a higher fruit content and didn't keep as long because the added sugar was consequently much less than basic jam. Who knows?

Rachel said...

I know what you mean about the American passion for boiling the bejeezus out of your jams and pickles after you pour them into hot, sterilized containers. It does seem that every canning recipe requires laboratory methods for sealing them, when European cooks seem much more relaxed about just snapping on lids or turning jars upside down to create a vacuum. Maybe there was some sort of huge botulism epidemic in our history that has led to this.

grace said...

it was a good idea, this cherry conserve with cloves--i'm sorry you were disappointed! i personally like things so sweet that they make my teeth ache a bit, but that's just masochistic lil' ol' me. :)

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I was thinking cherry conserve sounded scrumptious - too bad it was disappointing. At least the Dutch Baby (what a cute name!) tasted good!

Foodycat said...

Suelle - it certainly felt like a Yorkie batter.

Rachel - that must be it. For someone who has been making jam my whole adult life it seems very strange!

Grace - I prefer a little zing.

Leafy - the Dutch Baby will get another run!

Indie.Tea said...

Ooo, I didn't know that about conserves (dried and fresh fruit combined). I guess my 'conserves' with fresh cranberries and marmalade aren't conserves at all.
Well, your cherry conserve and the dutch baby sounds great.

Simona said...

I store my jams the way you do. I think jam is different from other preserves. I also use a lot less sugar (20% of fruit, weighed after being cleaned). The Dutch Baby looks really nice!

ARLENE said...

Drooling here! Love Dutch babies and love knowing what a conserve is.

Foodycat said...

Indie.Tea - no, those are preserves!

Simona - I would love to know where all the American recipes came from.

Arlene - I have to say the Dutch Baby was a revelation!

kat said...

Yes, people here are totally freaked out about canning & killing someone from not doing it right. It's like seriously folks, chill

mscrankypants said...

Cherries. I miss cherries.

Foodycat said...

Kat - as far as I can make out there are about 150 deaths from botulism in the US a year, and 10% of those are from food. I am going to continue to eat home made jam!

Cranky - not long to Christmas and the lovely Australian cherry season!

Angie's Recipes said...

wow I love that Dutch baby!!! So SEXY!

Choclette said...

That's a real shame because cherry jam can be so good - not that I've tasted it for years. Like Suelle I've never heard that conserves should contain dried fruit before - seems a strange one! I thought it was to do with the size of the fruit and the amount of sugar. Conserves often seem to have alcohol in them too. The pudding sounds good.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

It looks good! I read your advice first and did mine with more lemon to balance the sweet. And I put the cardamom (in the plum one) in at the beginning. Seems she's shy about the additives!
It's fun, this expanding of our DIY experience. Next month we are doing savoury condiments. Let us know if you have ideas for other months too!
Cheers,
Natashya

Foodycat said...

Angie - it really is light, puffy and lovely!

Choclette - could be the American term, I suppose?

Natashya - I am much better at savoury condiments!

tasteofbeirut said...

Love cherry jam and I was thinking of making some; great idea to serve this with the Dutch baby. Have to make it!

girlichef said...

That Dutch Baby is gorgeous! And it looks beautiful w/ the conserve...what a bummer that it was so sweet :( But I do think it sounds like a perfect match for sharp cheddar...mmmm...

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love a good Dutch Baby and it looks so pretty with the conserve too. Sorry it was so sweet. ;-(

Foodycat said...

Joumana - I love Middle Eastern jams with the mastic in them. Yum!

Heather - yeah, sharp cheddar or goats cheese.

Deb - apparently everyone but me knew about Dutch Baby!

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