Sunday, September 26, 2010

SMS: Plum Raspberry Preserves

I am delighted to be hosting Sweet Melissa Sundays today; the recipe I selected is Plum Raspberry Preserves. I typically don’t get around to writing my post until about 10 PM on Sunday night (often because I haven’t baked the recipe until that day), but since this is my week to host, I thought I’d try to demonstrate a modicum of organization and have my post in order for others to link the recipe. It also doesn’t hurt that I made the recipe several weeks ago and that I selected preserves last time I hosted, so most of the recipe is already typed up.

I always think it’s fun to read about how people come to a decision when presented with the overwhelming task of selecting a recipe. I was actually a little worried about choosing a recipe with summer fruit when the posting date was at the end of September, but I like making preserves (and most things with fruit). There were still four preserve recipes left and we won’t make it to summer again before we’re done baking through the book, so I figured I’d go with it. The preserve recipe in The Sweet Melissa Baking Book is trouble-free – you really just have to chop up some fruit and let it cook. There is no pectin in this preserve recipe, just apples, and I felt like I had to mash the apples a bit (and therefore the rest of the fruit) in order to not have big chunks of apples. I think the consistency of the preserves was fine, though, and they tasted excellent.

I canned six jars of the preserves, plus there was a Tupperware container left over. One of the things I enjoyed about choosing preserves last year was seeing how everyone used them. People definitely thought beyond toast. So far I have given some away and made bar cookies. I used the preserves in my favorite raspberries bars (recipe here) when I first made the preserves, then I made Back-to-School Raspberry Granola Bars from The Craft of Baking a couple days ago, which are the bars pictured in this post. Though they do contain oats and nuts, I really think they show greater resemblance to a cookie than a granola bar, don’t you? Whichever, they are fantastic, very easy to put together, and would be excellent with most any jam or preserves you happen to have on hand. Since I didn’t have to type the preserve recipe, I am also including the one for the bars.

The preserves rated an 8 for Deliciousness and a 2 for Effort, for an EDR of 4. Thanks to all the Sweet Melissa members who preserved along with me this week. Be sure to stop by the Sweet Melissa site to see how the others used the preserves.

Master Preserve Recipe, from page 165 - 166 of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
Printable Recipe

8 cups peel and sliced ripe fresh fruit of your choice (2 dry quarts)
2 cups peeled and cubed Granny Smith apples (2 to 3 apples cut into ¼ to ½ inch pieces)
2 cups sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon and/or orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated citrus zest

In an 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the fruit, apples, sugar, juice, and zest. Cook, until the mixture reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer, stirring often to prevent scorching. You may mash the fruit slightly with a potato masher, if necessary. Once the preserves have reached 212 degrees, continue to cook for 30 minutes more, stirring often, until thick. You can check the consistency by placing a dollop on a plate and setting it in the freezer until just cool. If it is runny, continue cooking; if it is thick, you’re good to go.

Can the fruit in clean canning jars as directed by the manufacturer, or cool to room temperature, tightly cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 6 months.

Plum Raspberry Preserves
Use 1 ½ quarts (six cups) unpeeled sliced plums and 2 cups raspberries. Use lemon juice and orange zest.

Back-to-School Raspberry Granola Bars, from The Craft of Baking
Printable Recipe

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raspberry preserves (or plum raspberry)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden and fragrant, about five minutes. Cool the sheet completely on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and pecans. Pour in the melted butter, and using a wooden spoon, mix together until well combined. Transfer about two thirds of the dough to the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan, forming a firmly packed layer.

Using an offset or rubber spatula, spread the preserves over the dough. Evenly sprinkle the remaining dough over the preserves. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top is golden brown and fragrant, about forty minutes (mine took more like forty-five minutes). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Then cut into two-inch squares.

The bars can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.


Lisa said...

What a delicious sounding recipe and your preserves look lovely. I love preserves and just made a batch of peach preserves on my blog. Homemade is definitely better than store-bought any day.

Megan said...

Just the sight of the canning pot made me nervous - I've never canned anything in my life and wouldn't know how to start!

Excellent choice (even though I don't belong to the group) - there's nothing better than homemade preserves! Especially when they're added to cookies!

Chats the Comfy Cook said...

Thanks for hosting. You are going to love those jars, when you take them out, in the future.

Leslie said...

Your jars of jam look great (I especially like your labels)! Reading your post, I just realized I made the recipe wrong, omitting the apples because she didn't mention them, but it still was fantastic and a definite repeat. Thanks for hosting this week!

Mrs. G said...

Thanks for hosting! I love your labels. I'm going to try your granola bars this week.

Anonymous said...

Your preserves look super yummy! I am a huge fan of preserves and am sorry I couldn't join you this week.

JoAnn Freda said...

The picture of the plums and raspberries is gorgeous. I love the way the crumble topping on the bars looks just like the delicious crumb topping you always see on bakery goods but I thought couldn't be reproduced at home. This is a pretty high E to D rating, you must be getting to be a pretty accomplished jammer and canner.

Anonymous said...

Wow, homemade jam in those bars sounds truly delicious! I've only made freezer jam, but I think next summer I need to get going and make some preserved jam.

margot said...

@JoAnn: The rating is just for making the preserves since that is the recipe in the book; the canning puts it up a bit but it really isn't that difficult.

Gloria - The Ginger Snap Girl said...

Thanks for choosing this recipe Margot! It was yet another SMS recipe to push me out of my comfort zone. I loved making the preserves and then incorporating them into a crumble bar. Yum. I am inspired by your canning as well. Thanks for sharing that photo. I will definitely give it a go next time I make preserves. Great labels by the way!

rebecca @ beurrista said...

What a wonderful idea for raspberry bars! I love Karen DeMasco's recipes and haven't tried this one out yet. I'm so glad you picked this recipe; I would never have done a jam otherwise.

Shandy said...

I LOVED your choice of recipe! Beautiful color and perfect time of year for fresh fruit. Your bar recipe looks perfect too and I am definitely going to be baking the bars this coming week. Your pictures really show off both recipes.

Tessa said...

I haven't been around a place I could do too much cooking lately, and I have regrettably missed your recipe. It is unfortunate because this recipe looks amazing! We actually use quite a bit of preserves as my hubby and I do PB&J quite often for lunch =)

Thanks for hosting and giving me the nudge that I think I needed to try making this as soon as I get back to my kitchen!

Tiff said...

Your preserves just look beautiful! Homemade preserves are the best!

Julie said...

Great recipe for this week. Thanks for hosting! Love the labels, such a great addition.

spike. said...

It was a great pick and everyone will be appreciating it as the work their way through the preserves all fall!

Hanaâ said...

Thanks for hosting this week. Your recipe pick was a big hit in my book! I can honestly say I have no need to buy preserves at the store. Melissa's master recipe is all I need. I love both bars you made with the preserves.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little behind on this recipe but I managed to make this last night (at the same time that I was prepping a french loaf, baking sugar cookies and making spaghetti for dinner) so needless to say that i fudged it a bit but it still tastes amazing!! No beautiful glass jars here so tupperware it is! But it won't last that long ;) THanks for the great choice!!

I'll be posting this as either an addition to the frosting or a rewind this Sunday :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting this week Margot! I love that you chose the preserves as I was short on time but really wanted to bake along for your pick. I shared my preserves with my mom and stepdad and they definitely loved them!

The labels on your little jars are so cute! What wonderful gifts. I really need to learn how to can...

Mimi said...

Your preserves look luscious. Looks like you picked a winning recipe.