Sunday, May 22, 2005

Cherry Jam

Last summer I dried some black cherries because at the time I didn’t have enough sugar to make jam and I didn’t want them to go to waste. This week I took them out and set them to soak in some cherry leaf wine, vin de feuilles de cerise, that I had also made last summer from some wild cherry trees along the river bank. Elise chose jelled for this month’s Is My Blog Burning?, so now it was time to make jam.

Into my copper preserving kettle went my reconstituted cherries and their weight in sugar. I also added the soaking juices and wine. After they came to a simmer and the sugar had all dissolved, I added more fire and brought the mixture to a rolling boil. I continued cooking the jam for longer than I normally would because I have decided to use this jam to make a filling for some chocolate-cherry truffles. You will notice from the sides of the pan, that I have caused a lot of moisture to evaporate and the cooking in the copper pan has made my mixture jell without the use of pectin (which hasn’t been invented in the 18thC) or added apple jelly to achieve a set. If I were just making jam, I would not cook the cherries so long, but would have tested the set by putting a little onto a cold plate and tilting it to see if the jam stayed put and didn’t run. Sometimes I can tell it is set by allowing a curtain of jam or jelly to sheet off the edge of the spoon. It’s just one of those things you learn by practicing.

And here is my beautiful cherry jam filling to use in my truffles. The taste is an exploding taste of intense cherry flavor and the tiniest hint of almond from the leaves and pits used to make the wine. When the truffles are done and I bite into one, I am in for a wonderful treat.

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