Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Sting and the Burn

I am too exhausted for words, but relief is in sight.

Lemon Jelly with Honey and Cinnamon

From Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures

Although I was suspicious of this combination of flavors in a jelly at first, my fears were unfounded. The combination of flavors is reminiscent of the cold-soothing honey lemon tea we drink around here when we don't feel good, but it is amped up with cinnamon and turned into an elegant, barely set, crystalline jelly with freshly rendered apple pectin. It is perfect to spread on a toasted, buttered English muffin or on nubby, nutty wheat toast. I made mine with Meyer lemons, because that is what I had available, but I think Eurekas or other lemons will work well here as well, and may give you a brighter color.

Ferber's book, from which the recipe came, is notoriously poorly translated from French, but if you have made jam before it is worth a read, if only to be inspired to play with flavors. While the book offers both metric and English measurements, I listed only the metric here because too many numbers on a pages sets my mind areelin'. Also, I rearranged the ingredient list to the order of use, and tried my best to clarify the instructions.

You will need on the first day:

750 grams Granny Smith or other tart green apples

750 grams water

You will need on the second day:

3 lemons scrubbed very clean

200 grams water

200 grams and 800 grams of sugar, separated

500 grams freshly squeezed lemon juice, seeds reserved from squeezing the juice and tied up in a little cheesecloth bag

200 grams honey

1 cinnamon stick

To make the jelly:

Wash the apples well and quarter them. Place them, peel, seeds, and all, in a large pot and pour 750 grams of water over them. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and simmer for a half an hour. Let the apple mixture cool enough to handle, then strain and collect the liquid in a bowl. Press gently on the fruit as you collect the liquid so you get as much juice as possible. Next, strain the collected juice through cheesecloth to get the clearest liquid possible. When I did this, I ended up with a milky colored juice that was free of sediment. Cover the juice and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, thinly slice the lemons, removing their seeds as you go along, and place them in a heavy, large pan. Add 200 grams of sugar and 200 grams of water, bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat. Allow the lemon slices to cook in the syrup until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add all the reserved apple juice, the remaining sugar, the lemon seeds, the honey, and the cinnamon stick, and cook at medium-high heat. Skim mucky bright yellow foam off if any forms. Cook until the temperature reaches 105 degrees Celsius or 222 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carefully ladle into sterilized jars, doling the lemon rounds out evenly among the jars and reserving the cinnamon stick. Once all the jars are filled, split the cinnamon stick into the number of pieces of jars that you are using, and seal the jars according to USDA's guidelines for food preservation.

This recipe makes about 5 pints of jelly.


GS said...

An amazing labour of love. Good on you. Beautiful looking jam/jelly.

Julia said...

Gorgeous jelly! I love Mes Confitures, and think your take on it is spot on. The yield is high! I often find that a pint of jelly is quite a bit; I like half-pints better. But that's me, who often has more than four or five jelly jars open in the fridge at any one time...

Christina said...

AOS: Thank you!

Julia: Thank you! The jar pictured is a half-pint. This makes 10 half-pints. I make most of my jam in half-pints too, but I give so much of it away that I don't mind large yields. I hear you about the multiple jars open at once--the same is true here too.