Tag Archives: jam

The Gentleman’s Marmalade

 

The Gentleman Caller’s Orange Marmalade

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ahhh, the annual tradition of harvesting the oranges and turning them into sweet, sweet marmalade. It’s become something I do every single year, and seemingly can never make enough to get the family and friends in supply until the next harvest.

Now, marmalade wasn’t something I ate as a kid, but once I discovered it as an adult, the fire was ablaze. Citrus has such a different tang than most other fruits, and with crusty bread and a dollop of good butter, you simply can’t beat it.

So here is The Gentleman Caller’s Magical Marmalade.

What you need:

  • 5 high quality oranges
  • 2 high quality lemons
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 – 1.75 ounce boxes of fruit pectin (I use Sure Jell)
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 oz Cointreau or other good orange liqueur
  • 8 – 1 cup jars with unused rubber ring lids and the rings

Fill a stock pot with water. Immerse jars and bring to a boil. Boil for several minutes to sterilize. Remove and allow to cool on a clean towel. Keep the water in the pot on the stove.

Using a sturdy vegetable peeler, take the outer skin off of the fruit. Chop into thin ribbons, no more than 1/16th inch wide by 1 inch long. It will look similar to a chiffonade.

Put 2 1/2 cups water into a sizable saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Add the chopped peels, 1/8 tsp baking soda and cover. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

While the peels simmer, use a serrated knife to remove the white under skin from the fruit. Then segment and chop the fruit into 1 inch pieces, reserving juice that may escape.

When the 20 minutes has elapsed, add the butter and the chopped fruit and juice to  the cooked peels. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add the pectin. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.

Once rolling boil is attained, add the sugar.

Bring once again to a full rolling boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat. Add liqueur. The mixture will give a sizzle when this is added.

Heat the water in the stock pot. Add the rings and lids to the hot water so the rubber can get warm and create the seal on the jar.

Fill the jars carefully to not burn yourself! Wipe any spilled liquid off the rims. Allow a 1/2 inch reserve at the top of the jar. Swiftly affix a lid and screw a ring tightly on top.

Place lidded jars into the stockpot of boiling water.

Process for 10 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool. The liquid will thicken as the mixture cools. Do not invert the jars in this process or there will be marmalade on the inside of the lid (unsightly).

You will hear a  little pop when the seal takes.

Enjoy!

That’s all for now.

The Gentleman Caller

Clickable PDF here: TGCMarmalade

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The Gentleman Caller’s Linzer Cookie

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Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Welcome back, you crazy carolers!

Alright, I am outing myself here. I am a cookie monster. I have been known to take a cookie to bed with me, and that’s not a euphemism. I could eat a cookie every day. During Trip of Love, given it’s proximity to Schmackary’s, NYC’s most renowned cookie purveyor, I DID eat a cookie almost every day.

My family has a long tradition of making several varieties of holiday cookie, some more notorious than others. There’s this one particular variety that are green butter cookie Christmas trees that – well, let’s just say there is a lot of green food dye in them and you might have a surprise the next morning.

While we’ve always made cookies, we didn’t do the Linzer traditionally. However, I have always thought them pretty and elegant. And perfectly seasonal. So I did a little development and here I present The Gentleman’s Linzer cookie.

What you need:

  • 2 sticks of butter – 16 tablespoons, softened OR 1 stick – 16 tablespoons of butter flavor Crisco + 6 tablespoons water**
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • strawberry (or your favorite red colored) jam (http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentlemans-momma-end-of-summer-strawberry-jam-video/)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

**I know I sound like a Crisco salesman, and yes, it is not good for you, but it makes a flakier cookie.

Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and sugar to cream, about 4 minutes. While creaming, sift flour and salt together. To the mixer add the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer off. Spoon in the flour and salt mixture and stir to combine. This dough is stiff. If it’s especially dry in your house from radiant heat, or you live in Las Vegas or something, you might need a tablespoon of water. Humidity makes a difference in a stiff cookie.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take about a 2 cup ball of dough and roll it out on the parchment to 1/8 of an inch. Thin is your friend. Use a biscuit cutter to stamp out circles. Remove excess dough and reuse in the next batch you roll out. Use a smaller cookie cutter (or soda bottle cap or something else like that) to stamp out a relief in the middle. Reuse that dough as well. Not everyone has all these shapes and cutters. Be resourceful, you just need two shapes, one bigger than the other.

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Bake for 7 minutes. Check them. They should not get brown, only barely gold-ish. Watch them fastidiously.

Keep baking in batches. Allow them to cool.

Spread the tops (the ones with the hole in the middle) on wax paper. Put the powdered sugar in your sifter and dust the tops gently.

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Spread the jam on the bottom halves. Squish the two together.

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OPTIONS:

  • Cut the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and use cherry jam instead of strawberry jam. Delicious.
  • To the dry ingredients, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom. Use orange marmalade instead of strawberry jam. Spicy.

These are very impressive on the plate and will impress people if you gift them. But good luck not eating them all yourself, says the self proclaimed cookie monster.

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S LINZER COOKIE

The Gentleman’s (+ Momma) End of Summer Strawberry Jam (video)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

If you, dear reader, haven’t noticed how much I enjoy all things strawberry, well, you need to spend more time on this website. It’s summer’s end and not the most traditional time to put up strawberry preserves, especially given that I am presently in Texas. But momma and I discovered some beautiful berries at the local grocery store on sale for a song. Since I sing for my supper, I couldn’t pass up the bargain.

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Momma, Sharon Jo Thompson Taylor, has a backyard resplendent with gifts from the ground. I must tell you I am quite responsible for much of that, but don’t tell her I took credit. Presently she has a sweet mint plant that has somehow been kept at bay and we decided to enhance our jam recipe with some mint and brighten it with lemon peel.

Now, these strawberries are glorious on their own and those enhancements are simply gilding the lily, but it’s kind of like gluing glitter on something and I am always going to do that.

So I give to you, The Gentleman Caller’s (and Momma’s) End of Summer Strawberry Jam.

Here’s what you need:

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  • Mason jars, rings and lids to accommodate about 5 pints of jam
  • 8 cups of cut up strawberries with the green cap removed
  • 7 cups (YES, SEVEN) of granulated white sugar
  • 1 box of Sure-Jell; fruit pectin
  • 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped mint
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • 1 pat approximately 1 tablespoon butter

Sterilize your jars , lids and rings by boiling them in a large stock pot for 10 minutes.

 

While killing germs in the above step, in another large stock pot or dutch oven start putting heat on the chopped berries. Take a potato masher and mash the berries to the consistency you like. I enjoy tangible pieces of berry in my jam so I try to achieve a nice ratio of mashed fruit to larger bits. This will give you a shoulder workout.

By this time the lids and rings should be sterile. Use tongs to remove them from the boiling water and place them on a CLEAN towel.

Add the box of pectin (Sure-Jell) to the mashed fruit with the pat of butter. This is going to keep the foam to a minimum.

Crank up the heat and get the berries to a rolling boil. A rolling boil is a boil that persists while stirring. Once that is achieved, add the sugar swiftly. I know this seems like a sh** ton of sugar – it is. If you don’t use this much it will not set up. Let me repeat, It Will Not Set Up. And you will have already gone to all this work!

Bring the mixture back to a full rolling boil for precisely one minute. Remove from heat. Skim any foam with a slotted spoon. Toss in the lemon zest and mint; stir.

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Ladle the boiling hot lava berry mix into the prepared jars. It is VERY hot! If you have silicon hot pads, use them. They rinse clean the most easily. I didn’t have a funnel on hand so I sliced a soda bottle in half, washed it up, and it did a  fine job. Plus I didn’t have to clean it up! Leave about ½  inch from the top when filling; wipe any jam off the lids if you spill.

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Tighten lids and bands on the jars.

Bring the water you used to sterilize the jars back to a simmer. If you have a rack to put on the bottom, great. If not, get some extra rings and put those on the bottom to keep the jars off the metal pot surface. Put the jars in and cover the tops with at least an inch of water. Bring to a solid boil.

Process your jam in the boiling water for 10 minutes. After that, remove them carefully from the cauldron of hot water and set them right side up on a towel. Allow to remain upright and cool for 24 hours. You’ll hear the lids give a cute little <pop> as they cool. That is a good thing! It means they’re sealed. If any don’t pop, store in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.

This jam is so good that my mom and stepdad kept getting into the leftover with their spoons and finally broke down and went to the store for a baguette!

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Finally, there’s an art to selecting the right jar. This is a special project and you should want to use special jars. Mom actually played a key role in this one; she selected very cute ½ pint jars and we decided they should definitely be labeled as well. The flourishes add to the deliciousness of the product, whether you realize it right away or not. Your friends will be impressed, so do it right!

Tell me how you do with this in the comments!

Out for now,

The Gentleman Caller