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29 April 2011
Alright, admit it. Who got up early to watch the royal wedding? Even though it was brutally early on the west coast (3 am), I set my alarm and watched live. I'm not afraid to fess up. :-) It was very formal, and not at all a tear jerker, but how happy do Wills and Kate look? And seriously, I could look at Kate all day. Such a stunningly gorgeous woman.
Mark is out of town skiing, so to celebrate appropriately with my party of one, I decided to make the occasion at least a little special by making some homemade jam yesterday that would be perfect with tea and crumpets (or English muffins, which I actually had on hand). I bought four pounds of strawberries last week which I really needed to use up, so it worked out perfectly.
Of course, this being the "wedding of the century," any old strawberry jam would not do. Instead, taking some inspiration from my favorite cocktail, the "Red Lady" at the Hotel Palomar in Westwood, I decided to do a strawberry and elderflower jam. Not having actual elderflowers at my disposal, I turned to Ikea's elderflower juice concentrate, but you could use St. Germain liqueur as well.
Sitting there in the pre-dawn darkness with my English muffin and jam, and a spot of tea, it was all so perfect.
Here's the recipe:
Royal Wedding Jam (adapted from Joy of Cooking)
3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries, cut up as you like
1/3 of a granny smith or golden delicious apple, cut into 1/4" or smaller cubes
2 cups of sugar or sugar/Splenda blend (I used the blend, for less sugar)
3 T. of elderflower concentrate or St. Germain liqueur
juice of 1/2 a lemon or 2 T. bottled lemon juice
Put the strawberries and apple chunks in a heavy saucepan that has plenty of extra room.
Pour on the sugar or sweetener blend and carefully stir it up. Heat the saucepan to low until the fruits to start to get juicy and completely wet the sugar. After it has juiced up, add the elderflower concentrate or liqueur.
Then turn up the heat to medium until it becomes a big boiling mass.
Do not stir anymore at this point. Set the timer for 15 minutes and stay close so that it doesn't boil over. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat to let the bubbles die down, and then gently tilt the pan to make sure that the juices at the bottom of the pan look somewhat viscous or sticky. This indicates that the pectin has cooked out of the apples to thicken the jam. If you don't sense any bit of viscosity, cook it at most another 5 minutes. Let the jam cool in the pan until it reaches nearly room temperature and then stir in the lemon juice gently. Transfer to a glass jar or bowl to cool the rest of the way.
As it cools, it will get clear and beautifully red, thanks in part to the lemon juice. Refrigerate for a few hours to help it finish setting, and then enjoy with your favorite English accroutrements!
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