Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Jam - The Final Tigress Can Jam of 2010

For the finale of the Tigress' Can Jam 2010, I decided I needed to jam. No, not to jelly, but to jam. And no, I did not jam econo. I jammed hardcore deluxe. I made a Ferber-inspired Christmas Jam loaded with dried fruits, Tigress' pick for December. I've been eyeing this recipe for a while. Something about so many dried fruits sounded so rich and luxurious, I'm glad I finally had a reason to do it. And of course, it's the holidays, so it's perfect.

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...

Christmas Jam
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
1/3 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!

Our new cat is on the windowsill in the background. She tried to pull this jam off the table it's on. She wanted to eat it! Needless to say, she's in the right house.


  1. Go, kitty! I can taste this jam. I mean, I have been playing with so many of these same exquisite ingredients this fall and winter that I can almost truly, literally taste it. And of course I want it. It's a stunner!

  2. This jam is totally decadent and sumptuous. Fitting to end on a Ferber note. We've been adoring her and slagging her off in equal measure all year.

  3. Oh, I would really love a jar of this jam. It looks delicious! My favorite holiday treat is candy canes. I love them all year, but Christmas time is the best!

  4. Oh, I must make this !!! Right now I'm waiting for organic meyer lemons to make Shae's Lemon Marmalade....meanwhile I'm making fruitcake with some of that dried fruit. Then on to your recipe. Yummy. I'd have to say that fruitcake is my favorite holiday treat. I'm strange like that.

  5. ooh I need this!! I would make an enormous batch but quinces are $2-3 apiece here ;_;

    My favorite holiday treat is pie. Oh, I love pie. I cannot get enough. And a holiday where it's okay to eat lots of pie, that just makes me happy. This year I am going to make an apple, pear and mincemeat pie for our family Christmas.

  6. This jam would be the perfect Christmas treat!

  7. Oh Julia! That is seriously decadent looking! Dried fruit fabulousness!

    My favorite treat? I made alton brown's fruitcake last year (after saying I'd never eat it) and have been thinking of it all year long to make and devour some more.
    Or my mom's ginger cookies dunked in milk =)

  8. Mmm, your jam looks luscious. I like the pork loin idea.

    My favorite holiday treat for as long as I can remember has been the Latvian pirag (also spelled piragi). This recipe looks pretty close to the little buns I grew up eating.

    It would be an interesting experiment to fill some of the pirags with your fabulous jam versus the usual savory filling, or somehow combine sweet and savory. Oh, I'm getting hungry...

  9. Julia, You jam looks so nice. My quince never took on that pretty color. Don't know what I did.

    My favorite thing at the holiday is more of a memory of the treats that were sent to us from my mothers home land. Now that she isn't with me. It's fond memories for this time of year.

    Oh I do like eating anything that is good and even better if someone made it for me.

  10. wow! this looks lovely, i would probably eat the jar in one sitting! one holiday treat that i love is what i grew up calling 'poppy seed rolls, and nut rolls'- recipes straight from my slovakian great-grandmother. i really need to get on learning how to make them!

  11. Your Christmas jam looks fabulous and I'm with Gloria; it does seem fitting to round up the year with Mme Ferber, for all the love & hate she's inspired all year.

    My favorite Christmas treat? Cranberry nut bread & eggnog on Christmas morning. We always open presents for a LONG time (taking turns, saving paper & ribbons, telling stories about each gift) so we need fortifications throughout the day. It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

  12. OMG, yum!

    My favorite holiday treat is my grandmother Joy's Lane Cake recipe or bourbon-soaked 30 day fruitcake.

  13. The eggnog recipe as a cranky mood tamer? can't wait to try it!

  14. Oh, no! I forgot to say my treat and I don't want to be disqualified. It's so hard to pick, but I have to say that it's the old fashioned Kraft Fantasy Fudge that I've been making with my mom since I was two years old. I don't even care that it almost makes your teeth fall out on contact because it's so sweet.

    Gloria's comment about Ferber made me laugh. It's so true. :-)

  15. Usually my favorite holiday treat (and anytime treat) is chocolate ... at this moment, cayenne/chile chocolate. But, I recently acquired a jar of Shae's Meyer Lemon Marmalade ... and I know you'll believe me when I tell you that I've been bypassing the chocolate bar armed with a spoon, which I dip straight into that jar. Divine!

  16. I have a beautiful friend that is turning me on to the exquisite diversity of beautiful jams. I should've known there were people out there with a passion for turning fruit into something decadent.

    My favorite Christmas treats are eggnog (especially homemade with non-homogenized milk), Italian panettone (I'm helpless), and old fashioned sugar cookies with the red crystals of sugar on top.

  17. have to find me!
    (828) 776-4183

  18. The wintertime treat that every went nuts over from Ferber was the Orange and Chocolate Jam. I've been jamming for a couple of years now. Mes Confitures is a great book, but it doesn't do marmalade. A few years ago, the New York Times Magazine published June Taylor's Grapefruit and Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe, which is my ultimate marmalade.

  19. Yum! I'd do just about anything to get a jar of the jam....

    Christmas wouldn't be the same without homemade doughnuts. Each year my mom would shoo us all out of the kitchen so she could heat up a big pot of boiling fat (Crisco, I think) for doughnuts. We were allowed to shake them in cinnamon & sugar when they had drained a bit. Now I help my mom with the process, and I love to carefully plop each little ball of dough into the pot, and watch it get golden and start nearly spinning around. Oh, how I love these doughnuts, especially the irregular, crispy edges.

    Yorkshire pudding is a close second.... but I've written too much already!

  20. I love eggnog smoothies! I do add stuff though but the eggnog still comes through.
    My favorite Christmas treat is Cognac laced persimmon bread with eggnog laced with cognac. We have this on Christmas morning while opening gifts in front of our fireplace.

  21. Oh yum! Quince is hard to find in my neck of the woods. I found some last month but had to pay the price...$3.00 per pound. Hopefully next year I will find a better source.

    My favorite holiday treat is cookies. Every holiday season I bake numerous different kinds of cookies for my cookie collection. This year I will be using some of my homemade jams/jelly.

  22. Oh brother do I want this!!! Looks DELICIOUS!

  23. Now that is one sexy lookin' jam!

    My favorite holiday treat is "Aunt Bee's Balls". A secret family recipe for a cookie ball that is full of candied fruit and nuts. Yum!

  24. Thank you and Tigress for inspiring me to learn more about canning in general. I finished my third batch in two months today, just a simple apple juice and two types of apple jelly...thank you both again for inspiring me to move forward with this.
    hatchetgirl At hotmail Dot com

  25. I think you need to set up a can jam Jam Cam next year so we can all follow along. "Will it set? Let's find out."

    My favorite X-mas treat is egg nog spiked with Baileys Irish Cream. Usually used to wash down the fresh-baked Toll House cookies left out for Santa.

  26. My favorite treat from October to January is Pumpkin Squares! Mmm...I might have to go make a batch now!!

  27. that jam sounds great! have to leave a comment to get a chance for a jar.... my favorite holiday treat is my mom's fruitcake. It's SO GOOD and sticky and full of delicious fruits and nuts, when people would make jokes about "eeew not another fruitcake" i never would understand what they were talking about. i would take 1000 of them! (i realize now, other fruitcakes are gross and not like my mom's...)

  28. My favorite holiday treat is a chocolate pie that my grandmother use to make. We always try to have it at Christmastime.

  29. The Giveaway is closed! Meg won!