Thursday, August 6, 2009

In Among Raspberries

Like the peaches, the raspberries have their bodies, too, bodies that, when ripe, willingly slide into my palm as I coax them from their branches.  I've been doing a lot of standing in among those berries, lately, letting the scheming branches slide down my legs as I wade into the middle of the strip lining my dad's driveway.  I don't seem to care about the scratches as I have my eyes on a thick, round berry or a whole cluster of them, taunting me to come closer.  It's kind of a meditative time, really, only I always have a bit of a problem afterwards, if you want to call it that.  Tupperwares full of berries! 

What to do with all of these raspberries, I haven't quite yet figured out, but I've got some ideas going.  I've been freezing them like mad, eating them on cereal, and offering them to everyone around.  I made ice-cream topping and raspberry jam (doughnuts with raspberry jam, bread and jam, peanut butter and jam toasts, raspberry jam tartlets...) and even had to let a slew of the little things go last night that were sitting, wet and moldy, in the bottom of their container.  
Here are a few recipes for you so you can attempt to deal with your own raspberries before they overtake your summer existence (If you are lucky enough to have such a problem.  If not, I recommend buying some from a farmer's market or pick-your-own place and making the problem for yourself!  It's certainly not a bad one to have.)

Recipe 1.  Raspberry Jams, Please

I have only made shelf-stable jam once (with my mother-in-law, who is a pro) and usually do not feel qualified enough to do it by myself.  If you're like me, however, have no fear.  You can make small batches of jam and store it in your refrigerator.  Frozen berries would work just fine.  

This recipe from Epicurious, is, as it turns out, your basic jam recipe.  When I was making it I had my computer out on the kitchen table with the recipe in it and my dad came in from outside, paused long enough to laugh at me for following a recipe, and said, in his "I know EVERYTHING" voice, (he actually admitted to this "fact" once) that of course all you had to do was boil equal parts fruit and sugar. Duh. In any event, I followed the recipe anyway, which, as you can see, calls for equal parts jam and sugar.  It came out beautifully.  I measured the berries before crushing them, as it says to do, then threw in a few handfuls of extra berries and the jam came out just fine.  I tend to like things a little less sweet, so next time I might try crushing the berries before measuring them. You  could probably also skip the sugar-warming step and be fine.  

Therefore, I suppose that if you have a know-it-all father like mine who is an expert on EVERYTHING (and therefore on jam, of course) you could save yourself the trouble of having to listen to him laugh up your recipe by using the following easy to remember in your head recipe:  

Basic Fruit Jam
Measure equal parts fruit and sugar.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes or until gelled.  Ladle into glass jars (or use a wide-mouth funnel) and allow to cool.  Refrigerate until ready to use.   

Go ahead, give it a try.  Just be sure to memorize the recipe first.  

Dario, my Dad's kitchen mascot (he knows everything too), with my raspberry jam.

Here is the raspberry jam recipe I used from Epicurious.  If you would like to process the jam to shelf-stabilize it, you will need to click on the recipe title to take you to the link with the complete directions.

Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam

from (2001)

Taken from 

The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving

by Eleanor Topp and Margaret Howard

1. Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes. (Warm sugar dissolves better.)

2. Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Add warm sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel (see tips, below), about 5 minutes.

4. Ladle into sterilized jars and process as directed for Shorter Time Processing Procedure .

Recipe 2.  Easy Honey Doughnuts with Cinnamon-Sugar and Raspberry Jam 

It's best to fry these doughnuts while your eaters sit at the kitchen table waiting.  As they come out of the hot oil and get sugared, your eaters can fight over who is in line for each subsequent doughnut.  This recipe is from Martha Stewart, but I have changed the oil type (I just use canola).  To view the original recipe for "Cinnamon Honey Doughnuts with Raspberry Jam," click here.  You can also make the dough and refrigerate or freeze it before allowing it to rise.  To use, thaw and allow to rise before proceeding with frying instructions.  

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water, (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar, for dusting
  • 1 12 ounce jar seedless raspberry jam

  • In a medium bowl, combine yeast with warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in honey, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, egg, milk, and corn oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir in salt and flour. Mix until dough appears smooth.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and another one with paper towels; set aside.
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead four to five times. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or glass, cut dough into 2 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch circles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly cover with plastic; let rest in a warm place 20 minutes.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat canola oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 360 degrees. (Or, simply put some oil in the bottom of a large pot so it comes at least 1/4 inch up sides.  This is how I did it and it worked just fine.)  Working in batches of five or six, fry doughnuts until golden brown on both sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain BRIEFLY. Fry remaining doughnuts.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss the doughnuts lightly in cinnamon sugar quickly after coming out of the pot and draining on paper towels.  Doughnuts are best eaten immediately after coming out of the sizzling oil!
  • Immediately serve the doughnuts with a dollop of jam on each plate, or with a bowl of jam to pass (this is what I did).  
  • How-To In Pictures
    1.  Milk is mixed with eggs, yeast, and honey. 
    2.  Flour is added and mixed. 
    3.  The doughnut dough, ready to be set in a warm place to rise.  
    4.  Cut circles of doughnut dough, ready to be fried.
    5.  A lonely smidge of doughnut dough serving as my Is the Oil Hot Enough? test.
    6.  My three snack doughnuts frying.  
    7.  When it is golden brown, one of the doughnuts is lifted out of the pan with a slotted metal spoon.  It will then be dried on paper towels and rolled in cinnamon-sugar.  

    8.  The doughnuts, ready to feed me for my snack.

    Recipe 3.  Raspberry Jam Tartlets

    I made this quick tartlet with some leftover tart dough I had frozen.  A dough that is slightly sweet works best.  

    Tart dough
    Raspberry jam

    You will need 1 12-cup muffin tin, preferably one that has shallow cups or a mini-muffin pan.
    Roll your dough out to a 1/4 inch thick.  Using a glass or biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough that are slightly larger than each muffin cup.  Use dough scraps to cut out long strips of dough about a 1/4 inch wide or slightly narrower.  Fit each dough circle into a muffin cup and poke with a fork.  Pre-bake your shell (350 degrees) for about 12 minutes, or depending on tart dough directions.  Remove from oven and fill with raspberry jam.  Top with a criss-cross of the dough strips (cut to fit--see picture).  Finish baking (about another 12 minutes; jam should bubble slightly).  

    Recipe 4.  Hurricane Katrina Raspberry Ice-Cream Topping
    I started making fruit ice-cream toppings several years ago during Katrina (yes, as in the hurricane--I lived in Baton Rouge for a couple of years).  This was the scene:  my roommates and I (3 girls) had invited a house of our fellow teaching friends (3 boys--one of whom was to be my future husband) over for a couple of days to wait out the storm.  When our power went out we determined rather quickly that we had to start eating our way through the refrigerator and freezer, and one of the things we made was fruit topping with the frozen berries we had in our freezer for our melting ice-cream.  I have been making it with all different kinds of berries since, and it is quick and delicious.  My favorite combos:  strawberry or blueberry topping with vanilla ice-cream or raspberry topping with chocolate ice-cream.

    Berry Topping:
    In a small saucepan, mix together:
    Fresh or frozen berries (I've been using fresh raspberries lately)
    Freshly squeezed lemon juice (be careful with this and only add a little at first; otherwise, you will make the topping rather sour!)

    Simmer until berries are slightly thickened and the sauce has come together (they will not thicken up that much).

    My doughnut snack (yes, I ate three). 


    becca said...

    wow the donuts and jam look so delicious! not to mention the fresh raspberries! I always look forward to your new posts :)

    Almost Precious said...

    The donuts look mouth wateringly sumptuous.
    Have you tried to pipe some of the raspberries jam inside of them to make Bismarks ? Wow, bet that would be delicious. :)

    Brewfus said...

    It's been two weeks, and I'm still thinking about those donuts... Might be time to test the donut cutter?

    claire said...

    WHOA! this has nothing to do with raspberries but might be the most amazing cupcaker ever. hope your summer is wonderful