Sunday, June 15, 2008

Better-Than-Apricot Apricot Jam

Blackberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, blueberries--no tayberries yet, but I'm looking.

Roving through the market this week, it's clear that summer produce is abundant. Admittedly, it was hard to select this week's victim. Of the concoctions I've concocted over the past year and some months, only two ran out more quickly than I'd like: apricot and fig.

Fig mostly because I made Marco's basic pizza dough with fig jam, rosemary and dolcelatte blue cheese--it's even better with the truffle salt Alison recommended. I saw a couple of early figs at one stand, but they were overly dear. Plus, in my new apartment I have a fig tree, and from the looks of things I'll have ready fruit in a few weeks.

And apricots? I don't even like them. (Record screech.) Yeah, I know. 90% of the time the texture is mealy, the flavor one note. But connect the fruit with sugar and a bit of lemon and you have something exceptional: a counterpoint to tart, creamy rugelach dough; the start of a marinade for fatty roast duck; a sauce for french toast that blows maple syrup out of the water.

So this year I'm setting more by, preparing for midwinter feasts, fresh-baked bread with a layer of butter and a spoonful of jam.

Better-than-apricot apricot jam
4 pounds apricots (makes about 2 1/4 c chopped fruit)
1 cup sugar
Juice from 2 lemons
  • Shock the skins off the fruit by dropping them into a pot of boiling water, quickly fishing them out, and pulling the loosened skin off.
  • Pit the skinless apricots and cut into quarters. Drop into a nonreactive pot with sugar and lemon juice.
  • Run at a low boil until the texture thickens and pulls together, about 30 minutes. Process in sterilized jars.

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