Adios, Adieu, Goodbye for Now, “Pear, Blueberry Jam with St. Germain”

DSC_1633

September crept in right on top of the last days of August…it has been tropical…. rainy and humid and hot, windy with bouts of unusually cool days scattered in between. Most of the local fruit is gone…the peaches, berries…plums and now my pears….adieu, adios and goodbye until next year sweet ones.

In the early dark days of fall and winter I will have my consolations on a shelf in my kitchen. A few jars of preserves…peach and plum. Jars of jam…pear and blueberry with a splash of St. Germain will be there, ready to comfort me.

photo 1

Ripe and Ready.

photo 1

The evening before I made this jam I cored, peeled and roughly chopped the pears and tossed them in a bowl with some raw sugar and lemon juice, covered the bowl and refrigerated the fruit overnight.  The sugar and lemon juice help to pull some of the juices from the fruit, breaking the fruit down naturally which shortens the cooking process.

DSC_1327

Do you know about “Pomona’s Universal Pectin”? I like to use this brand as the recipes for  jams, jellies & preserves can be made with less sugar. I do not like cloying sweet preserved fruit so this pectin is just right. The instructions are easy to follow and there are plenty of recipes inside the package. It is preservative free, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and non-gmo. I usually buy it a Whole Foods, but it is available online at their site as well. DSC_1363

I had la few cartons of fresh blueberries left over from a photo shoot so I tossed them in with the peeled and chunked pears. The blueberries gave the finished jam a lovely soft color. A generous splash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur added another layer of goodness.

DSC_1339

You always want to “test” your jam or jelly after cooking to make sure it “sets up”. I do this by spooning some of the mixture out onto a chilled plate. Leave it to sit a few minutes and then check the consistency. This batch “jammed” to perfection.

DSC_1334

Every time I begin to can I feel like a novice….no matter how many times I have done it. This is where I am my most careful-self in the kitchen. I read the instructions, reread and double-check before starting. I gather all my canning supplies, pans, jars, ladles before hand and get everything cleaned, sterilized & all lined up ready to go. My best advice is just do what the recipe & canning instructions say…verbatim…all will be well.

DSC_1343

DSC_1353

DSC_1638

Pears, Blueberries Jam with St. Germain

  • Servings: 6-8 half pints
  • Print

photo 1DSC_1334DSC_1638

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cored, peeled & chopped pears
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups raw/turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup Elderflower Liqueur/St. Germain
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • Pkg of Pomona’s Universal Pectin (or other pectin if you prefer, most have easy, simple canning instructions inside the box. I used the directions for canning pears.
  • Equipment: clean 1/2 pint glass canning jars & lids, canning equipment (or if you prefer you can do this jam for the freezer…no hot water bath canning processing required.)

Directions:

  1. The night before you plan to can, mix the pears, sugar & lemon juice in a mixing bowl, cover & refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day put the pear mixture in a large saucepan. Add 1 cup of water. Bring to a low boil. Add the pectin according to the package directions, turn stove to low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes stirring often.
  3. The last 10 minutes of cook time add the blueberries & St. Germain. Stir gently.
  4. While fruit is cooking, wash & rinse canning jars in hot water. Set aside to drain on a very clean dish towel. Use new lids & rings. Put these in a pan of hot water until ready to use on low heat. There are many, many methods for hot water bath canning  so use one that works for you.
  5. When jam is almost finished cooking test the jell by spooning some jam mixture onto a chilled saucer, refrigerate for a few minutes. Test to see if the jam is the consistency you prefer. If not continue cooking another 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  6. Fill glass jars with hot jam mixture to within 1/4 inch from the top of the glass rim for hot water bath canning process, 1/2 inch for freezer jam. Wipe each jar rim clean before adding lids. When all jars are filled & wiped clean, top with lid and ring.
  7. For hot water bath place filled jars into your canner rack, lower into the canning pan, cover jars with warm water covering by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, process for 10-15 minutes. Turn heat off. Raise jar rack out of the water bath & place jars on a cooling rack. As jam cools you should hear a soft “pop” as each jar seals. If some jars do not seal then refrigerate to use immediately.
  8. For freezer jam after #6 let jars cool down completely & store in the freezer until ready to eat. Remove jars from freezer a few hours before using.

“Pear-Blueberry Clafoutis Southern-Style”

pear

DSC_0798

I am quite smitten with my pears this summer. I have spent some time gazing at them and even more time posing them, turning them this way and that, looking at how they catch the light at different hours of the day.  They are very willing models…silent, accommodating and seductively gorgeous.

This is not Food on Fifth’s first “pear rodeo” so to speak. In years past I have posted “A Series of Coincidences Involving Pears”,  “Pear Infused Vodka” and “A Seasonal and Southern Red Bartlett Pear-Almond Cake”. Soon a pear jam will appear on these pages…not today, but soon.

A Clafoutis (lovely to say aloud softly and be sure to keep the “s”),  and very French…a perfect pairing with my Southern twist…cornbread mix from “Southern City Flavors”, which you can buy at Whole Foods Markets or online,  and blueberries….a very oooh la la morning moment.

pear clafouti

This recipe is my adaptation of the classic French clafoutis which is pretty hard to trump. I was working on a photo shoot with Mike Weeks, proprietor of “Southern City Flavors” recently and he gave me a couple of bags of his cornmeal mix. Familiar with this product via Batch Nashville, I knew it would be a good fit with my Southern-style clafoutis.

DSC_0824

Quick and so easy, a warm, just out of the oven clafoutis with local berries & pears, light and custardy, just a hint of cornmeal crunch….powdered sugar or not…is what Sunday’s are made for. Oui? Oui!

DSC_0826

DSC_0847

Sans a dusting of powdered sugar……..with a dusting of powdered sugar.

DSC_0852

Pear-Blueberry Clafoutis, Southern-Style

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

clafoutis

Ingredients:

  • 6 small ripe, but firm pears, halved & cores removed
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 TBSP softened butter
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 generous TBSP vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup white cornbread mix
  • powdered sugar if desired

Directions for Cooking:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter an 8 to 10 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the buttered dish with 2 TBSP of the raw sugar. Arrange halved & cored pears cut side down in the bottom of the dish. Scatter the blueberries over the pears. Set aside.
  3. In a blender or with a hand mixer, blend the milk, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt & cornbread mix together.
  4. Pour batter over the pears & blueberries gently tapping the dish on the kitchen counter to get out any air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown on top.
  6. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.

Borrowed from the British “A Summer Fruit Pudding” for the Fourth of July

summer fruit pudding

“A Summer Fruit Pudding”

This classic British dessert is just the thing to make for the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend. I do hope the irony of this is not lost on you.

All you need is some fresh berries….blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries…any combination of these summer berries and a loaf of day old bread. There is no baking so no heating up the kitchen. It is easy to make, a beauty when finished and the taste is like biting into “summer”…very refreshing, not overly sweet and served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream or whipped mascarpone cheese.

The most important part is allowing the fresh berries to macerate with sugar for about 30 minutes ahead of time.

summer berries with fruitsugared berries

Choose a bread with some body that is a day or two old and just a bit dried out. I used a Brioche but a loaf of plain old white bread works just as well, as does Angel Food Cake.

DSC_8127

After the berries have macerated they are slowing boiled for a few minutes with some water until the berries release most of their juice and get a bit softened. This takes about 5-8 minutes on a low boil.

DSC_8129DSC_8138

I used a glass mixing bowl lined with plastic wrap for the mold, but a metal bowl or plastic will be fine. Later when the pudding is chilled it will be easy to turn it upside down on a serving platter.

DSC_8136DSC_8140

While I am slicing the bread (you can make with or without the crust), and lining the bowl I let the berries drain very well so there is about 3 cups of berry juice to about 4 to six cups of softened sugared fruit.

DSC_8131DSC_8144

Dipping the slices of bread and lining the bowl comes next.

DSC_8147

DSC_8149

Don’t you just love that color? The berries are then scraped into the center of the bread, topped with a couple of more soaked bread slices and covered with a sheet of plastic.

DSC_8150DSC_8157

The pudding needs to have pressure on it so that the bread and the berries become “one”. I do this first with my hands and then place a plate  with a heavy can sitting on top while the pudding is chilling for at least 12 hours or overnight.

DSC_8160

Here is the turned out, chilled, a firm “pudding” (what the British pretty call dessert for the most part….as in “What’s for pudding?”)  topped with additional berries and superfine sugar (caster sugar). I served this with a dollop of whipped mascarpone.

DSC_8368

For a dinner party I recently made this again but this time I used an Angel Food Cake instead of bread. As the cake was already sweet I used less sugar on the berries. This version may be my new favorite. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream.  Another variation on the theme. Maybe next time I will try pound cake?

DSC_8506

Traditionally this “pudding” was served as a healthy alternative to heavy sugary desserts at health spas in England. If you give this a try let me know how your version turns out.

Summer Berry Pudding

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print

summer fruit pudding

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of mixed summer berries, rinsed & drained + 1/2 cup mixed for garnishing
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar) + extra for garnishing
  • 1 loaf of day old bread (White, Brioche or you can use an Angel Food Cake)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Toss 6 cups of berries  with 1/2 cup sugar. Leave to sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add berries & juice to a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Turn to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile cut bread into approximately 1″ slices. You can remove the crust or not.
  4. Line a glass, metal or plastic round mixing bowl (about a 2 qt bowl) with plastic wrap allowing it to hang over the edges of the bowl completely covering the inside.
  5. Pour berries & juice through a strainer sitting over a bowl. Let drain for 10 minutes.
  6. You will need about 3-4 cups of juice. Add more water if need be.
  7. Gently dip each slice of bread into the juice lining the bowl completely with the soaked bread. Place one piece of bread in the bottom of the bowl to cover the center.
  8. Dump the berries in the middle of the bowl & cover them with 2 more slices of juice soaked bread. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, pressing down with your hands to make sure all the bread is soaked.
  9. Place a saucer or small plate over the plastic wrap and top with a heavy can to press the mixture together over night in the refrigerator.
  10. When ready to serve, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap & turn the bowl upside down onto a serving plate. Remove the bowl & plastic wrap from the summer pudding.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh berries and a generous dusting of sugar.
  12. Use a spoon to scoop out servings and add a scoop of ice cream or whipped mascarpone if desired. Whipped cream would be good as well.

Notes: You can make this with sliced Angel Food Cake as well for an interesting twist. Try adding some peaches to the berries or plums.                                                                  Tip: If you do not have caster sugar…which is just a finer granulated sugar..you can make quickly by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Very easy to do.

recipe and photos by Teresa Blackburn      foodonfifth.com     teresablackburnfoodstyling.com  

Film Strip Father’s Day – Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread

“The Film Strip”

One of my many early food memories is of my Dad eating a glass of icy thick cold, golden-flecked buttermilk with some of my Mother’s warm cornbread crumbled into it. I am pretty sure this combination is mostly a Southern thing.

My Dad was a rounder to say the least. On this eve of Father’s Day I think of him and can still see him sitting in our linoleum floored West Tennessee kitchen. Bare-bulb ceiling light casting harsh shadows, the back screen door keeping out the moths and letting in a summer breeze, sitting, alone in the summer night heat, the beginnings of a hangover about to take hold, quietly eating his buttermilk and cornbread, looking up, seeing me standing in the doorway…a cocked smile on his face, offering me a bite.

Most of my food memories have mental film strips attached to them. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are quietly poignant, others from my raucous youth and a few bitter-sweet. I keep them all and they have all helped me as an adult in so many ways. So, on this Father’s Day, while thinking of Dads in general and my own in particular, I came up with a new way to combine buttermilk and cornmeal with a dash of sweet.

“Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread”

(For this recipe I used local, just picked blueberries from the Sylvan Park/West Nashville Farmer’s market and fresh buttermilk from J.D’s Dairy in Russellville, Ky from the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market.)

Ingredients:

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups fresh buttermilk

1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal

2 Tbsp cream

2 tbsp softened butter

1/2  cup raw sugar

3 eggs, separated

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

First things first: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a saucepan bring the buttermilk & raw sugar to a low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of the pan slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Stir with the whisk for about 8 minutes with heat on low. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

2. Beat egg whites with the salt until stiff. Set aside.

3. Whisk butter  & vanilla into the slightly cooled cornmeal mixture.

4. Add egg yolks to mixture & whisk until well blended. Stir in cream with whisk.

5. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a buttered  baking dish &  top with 1/2 of the blueberries. Spread the remainder of the cornmeal mixture over the blueberries.  Top with a scattering of the remaining blueberries.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown, firm but wobbly in the center. This spoon bread will be somewhat like a souffle in puffiness. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with a dusting of powdered sugar. This Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread is really good at room temp or chilled as well.

Father’s Day June 19, 2011

Most Sunday mornings my friend Terry Martin and I work (or don’t work)  the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle. It is our long-standing tradition and unless one of us is out-of-town we honor this custom without fail. Terry has been a bit dismayed that she has so far missed out on my “Blog Food”. This Father’s Day morning (both of our Father’s are long-dead) I made this  “Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread” especially for her. We worked the puzzle, we ate the warm, powdered sugar dusted Spoon Bread, we worked the puzzle, we ate some more…….

finito!

"Darling" cup from the flea market. I think it might have been a child's drinking cup, but found it holds exactly 1/2 cup so it has become my favorite 1/2 measure cup.