Raspberry Fennel Jam
I recently attended an amazing dinner with big name chefs and crazy one off dishes. Everything was fantastic…spring vegetables, halibut, lamb, all superb. For dessert, a warm Madeleine and Queso Fresco Sorbet was served along with this fabulous Raspberry Fennel Jam. The idea was to scoop a little jam onto a little sorbet or dip the madeleine into it. I loved it so much, I figured I try to make a version for myself.
Let me just say making jam is stupid simple. Mix acid, sugar and fruit then boil hard until it sets on a cold plate. Commercial pectin is often used to help set jams and jellies but I have to tell you, it really isn’t necessary. I’ve been using Granny Smith apples to provide both a flavor punch and help with setting with great success. I don’t like a thick jam anyway, I want one that feels like fruit with just enough body to spread nicely.
- 1 Pound Raspberries
- 1 Pound Sugar
- 1-2 Fennel Bulbs, fine dice
- 1 Large Granny Smith apple, grated
- juice of 3-4 lemons
You’ll also need to prepare some canning jars for receiving the hot jam. I boil the jars for 10 minutes and leave them in the hot water until they’re ready to be filled. Also, put the lids in a pot of hot water kept just below simmering. For more info on canning basics, check out the Ball website.
I wanted to make sure the fennel was cooked down to a very soft texture. After giving them a medium dice I placed them in a large pot that I would later make the jam in. Add about 1 cup of water to help them cook down and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally. After the water has cooked off, check the fennel for doneness. They should be soft and starting to melt together.
Next put a couple of small plates in the freezer. These will be used later to check for the right consistency. Rinse the raspberries and make sure no leaves or stems are present. Add the raspberries and remaining ingredients to the fennel mixture and boil hard for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure to skim the foam off of the top during this time, as this will cloud the jam after it sets.
This is the tricky part: determining when the fruit has set enough to be jam and not sauce. A good rule of thumb for when the mixture is done is when you feel the fruit starting to grab at the bottom of the pot as it’s cooking. Take a plate from the freezer and place a dollop on the plate. Drag your finger through it, if the jam holds it’s shape and doesn’t run back over the path your finger made, you’re good to start canning.
Fill each jar with the jam up until about 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe any excess jam off of the rim or the jar won’t seal correctly. There’s a stick with a magnet on the end that comes with the original canning kit that you use to snag the lids out the hot water. Pull a lid out of the water and place on the jar, then put a ring on and hand tighten. Turn the jar upside down and place on a towel and let cool completely. The heat from the jam will create the seal. Now you’re good to go!
I plan on making brie en croute with this jam on top. Or on ice cream, panna cotta, cream cheese…hell PB&J with this red goodness should rock.