Cherries are my mom's favorite fruit, so this past Mother's day I decided to make her sour cherry jam. Growing up, we had a big sour cherry tree in our backyard. Once we fought past the birds we would pick buckets of cherries during the height of the season. Then off to the kitchen we went for the messy task of pitting the cherries. Covered in cherry juice we would spend the next hour wiping down ourselves and sometimes the kitchen walls. They were juicy.
The following recipe yields a sweet tart jam with a hint of complexity due to (I think) the vanilla and sourness of the cherries. The jam is lovely sandwiched between salty almond cookies (recipe follows).
Sour Cherry Vanilla Jam from Madelaine Bullwinkel's Gourmet Preserves
2 pounds pitted sour cherries
1 pound granny smith apples (2 ½ cups peeled and chopped)
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 ¼ cups sugar
Place the cherries in a good processor and pulse for 15 seconds to chop them medium fine. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Chop them to a medium-fine texture in the processor. Combine the cherries and apples in a 5 quart pan.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add the seeds and pod to the fruit. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce the juices, stirring regularly. The mixture will thicken, but should not stick.
Stir in the lemon juice, and then add the sugar in 4 equal batches, waiting for the liquid to return to the simmer before adding more. Stir frequently. Let the jam actively cook 10 minutes more. It will noticeably thicken and reach a temperature of 210 to 212 F.
Pour the jam into a heat resistant 1-quart measure. Remove the vanilla pod. Fill hot, sterilized jars to within ¼" of lips. Wipe the rims clean; attach new lids and screw caps on tightly. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Salty Almond Cookies (or JV Snacks-Croq-Télé) from Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets
These cookies are extremely easy to make if you have a food processor. Once the dough was made, I tried 3 different shape cookies. The first as described by Dorie was the easiest, but a little too rustic for me. I formed the rest of the dough into logs and tried to make slice and bake cookies with the dough. It worked, but not very well. The last method I tried was I shaped tiny cookies by pressing the dough into my ¼ tsp and slid them out. They were extremely cute, but time consuming.
¾ cup (100g) blanched almonds
½ cup (100g) sugar
¼ tsp to ¾ tsp salt (I used ¾ tsp of Kosher salt)
1 cup (140g) AP Flour
7 tablespoons (100g) cold unsalted butter cut in 7 pieces
Preheat oven to 350.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the sugar, nuts and salt till finely ground. Make sure to scrape the bowl frequently. Once processed turn the mixture out of the bowl.
Put the flour in the food processor and with the motor running drop in the cold butter pieces. As soon as the butter is in; switch to pulse mode. Pulse till the mixture looks sandy. Add the sugar-nut mixture and pulse until the dough forms small clumps and curds. Scrape the dough out onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.
To shape the cookies take small pieces (about the size of a cherry) in your hand and form irregular sized chunks. Place the pieces on a lined baking sheet leaving ½" space between them. Bake for 9-11 minutes rotating the pans after 5 minutes. You want the baked cookie to set, but not brown.