But first I have to address this: Oh My Goodness! The end of the Can Jam! I remember way back in November of last year, peeking in Tigress' site and noticing the announcement, and I sent a shy little e-mail, piping up that I'd like to join, please! And twelve months later I feel like I've been part of something big, and met so many wonderful people, and learned so many amazing things. Well, gosh, all I've got to say is that I'm awfully thankful. To all of my fellow jammers, but most of all to Tigress, for bringing this vibrant community together. What fun it's been!!
Because it's been such a special time, I'd love to send one of these jars out into the universe. Please leave me a comment about your favorite holiday treat, and next week I will pick a winner. You have until Wednesday, December 15 by 12 midnight, EST. Make sure you leave me your e-mail address or where you can be reached!! If I can't contact the winner in three days, I'll draw a new number. Many thanks for participating, following along, or just showing up now for the Tigress' Can Jam!
So, now that we have discussed that: back to the jam. This is what it's all about. I riffed, as usual, and did my own thing for this jam. The recipe I poached from is truly stunning, and the book is well worth it just for inspiration. It contained dried pear slices soaked in quince juice, and nuts, too. I left those out. What I put in was super tart tangerine juice and zest, and as mentioned before, a big assortment of dried fruit. It came out very soft and syrupy, which is I think is keeping in the Ferber style. I think I could have took it a few degrees higher, but I didn't want to err on the side of a too hard gel. There's too much in here that spreading would ruin. This is a jam that wants to drape on top of things.
Next time, I might add some vanilla and rum, to add a warmer bottom line. The tangerine juice kept it light, and mixed nicely with the floral notes of the quince. This could be off the hook with a baked brie, or on top of vanilla ice cream. Or on a nice pork loin. Or potato pancakes. Hmmm...
adapted from Christine Ferber's Christmas Jam
3 pounds of quinces (should yield about 2 to 2.5 cups of quince juice)
Quarter the quinces, removing the blossom end. Put in a pot, add water to just cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for about an hour. Let it sit for about an hour. Sieve and collect juice in a bowl. (Use the rest for membrillo, or a fruit butter. Or simply put it all through a food mill, add some sugar and spices to taste. Like applesauce, but so special!)
Put the juice in your jamming pot, and add:
2 cups of sugar
juice of two tangerines (about a 1/2 cup)
zest of one tangerine (do this before you juice!)
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup of julienned dried apricots
1/4 cup sultana raisins
1/4 cup dried currants (which aren't really currants, you know that, right?)
1/3 cup of chopped prunes
1/2 cup of chopped dried figs
1/4 cup of candied ginger, chopped finely
pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg
one cardamom pod, opened, seeds only
tiniest bit of star anise (tiny!)
(Note on the spices: I questioned using so little, but in the end, I recommend it. The flavoring is subtle, and lets the fruit shine. But, don't let me stop you, if you beg to differ.)
Mix to combine and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 to twenty minutes. I use a thermometer for guidance, but don't rely on it. I pulled this at 216 degrees. It was doing the double drip, and it was incredibly viscous. I'm not sure if it would have jelled much more firmly. But, in the end, I'd rather have a softer set than a firmer one, in the case of this lovely, packed full of goodies, jam.
Ladle into hot half-pint jars. Process for ten minutes. Joyeux Nöel!