Crostata di Marmellata di Fichi

It all started with a jar of jam. A beautiful, urn-like, Costco-sized jug really, filled with sparkling fig jam. Fig is my favorite, next to apricot, and the best brand is Tuna’s (which Caravan stopped carrying!) I was so sad until that moment in Costco. That is, until I got home.
Because, you see, this gorgeous golden Greek jug of hope held a horrible, horrible secret that only revealed itself when you took your first bite. Vanilla. They put FUCKING VANILLA in the jam. It tasted like my father’s pipe tobacco smelled. So, great. Now I had a Costco-sized jug of inedible fig jam taking up precious refrigerator space. And it stayed there for several months while I decided what to do. Then it occurred to me: crostata di mamellata!! Of course. Found a nice nonna recipe on The YouTube. It used oil and eggs in the crust – intriguing! I tried it and took it in to the office. It was lovely, and consumed with glee.

But overall the feedback was that it was too sweet – I’d made the layer of jam too thick. Everyone loved the vanilla now that it was in a tarte. I thought the crust needed a pinch of salt, and would taste better with butter than oil. General consensus was that it tasted like a giant fig newton. I’m cool with that. And realized essentially this is like those stained glass cookies you make for the winter holidays.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, time to try those adaptations. This time the dough mixed in the food processor, and I used melted butter instead of the oil. I thought this was a good idea. Oh, lawdee lawdee lawd. Do not ever do this. Ever. For reals. Learn from my pain. What an awful, greasy glob it made. I hoped by putting it back in the fridge for an hour, it would become useable. It was. Whew, dodged that bullet.

For the sweetness, the second batch which (THANK GAWD) finally ends that damn jar of fig jam, I stirred in the juice of one lemon. That did the trick, and balanced out the sweetness nicely. If I could do dairy, a dollop of mascarpone or plain Greek yogurt would be absolute heaven on this puppy.

The next time I make this, I will use either apricot or bosenberry jam. And I shall feast, betches!

Let’s make this – and I hope you check out the nonna video – I love the Italian technique, whether it is pasta for noodles or for pastry you beat that egg then slowly add in the flour. With your damn hand, dammit. Because centuries of practice going back to the Roman Empire cannot be wrong.

Crostata di marmellata
2 eggs, beaten
½ c. butter, cool-ish
½ c. sugar
1 tsp bkp pwd
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp. salt
2 c. AP Flour
sparkle sugar
Filling: a jar of jam (about 1.5-2c)

Set aside 2Tbsp. of the egg. Preheat your oven to 350*. In the bowl of your food processor, put the dry ingredients and briefly pulse to combine them. Add the butter, pulse til it looks like fine crumbs. Add the liquid, and pulse again to combine.
You will wind up with a crumbly mass. Turn it out on your floured board and gently knead a few times. Cut off 1/3 and set it aside. Roll out the larger piece to fit the bottom and sides of your pan(s). Fit it in the pan and trim the edges. Roll out the remaining dough to the same thickness (about 1/4″) in a big rectangle-ish shape and using a swirly-edged pasta cutter, slice it in to ½” wide strips. place these in the lattice style of your choice on top of the jam, and pinch them in to the dough at the edge. You’ll have many strips left. When that is done, smoosh down the dough at the sides of the pan with your finger, it should be about ¼” higher than the jam. Take the remaining strips and place them around the circumference. Gently brush all the dough with the reserved beaten egg, and sprinkle with the sparkle (or normal, or turbinado) sugar.
Bake 350* for 40m. Cool completely before slicing. Then have with your afternoon caffe with the neighbors.

Cake for Breakfast, Bitches

Mmmmmm. Cake. I LOVE cake. Nothing in this world tops a plain yellow cake. Except maybe a yellow cake with my Meme’s fluffy frosting. (Snort. Nothing tops a cake…. ok ok.) Don’t get me wrong, chocolate cake is delicious. But yellow cake is sublime.

So, what if I told you that you could have cake for breakfast and that it would be slightly healthier than pancakes? As in, it has less sugar (unless you’re some kind of weirdo who eats pancakes without syrup.) Silliness aside, the ingredients for pancakes or this yellow cake are practically interchangeable. Add some low-sugar jam, and we’re done.

We picked this jam up at Costco, and it’s quite tasty. It is not very sweet, though – so if you like a really sweet jam, this is not for you. But for a cake filling, it is spot on.

Shall we?

Cake:
2 c. AP flour
1 ¼ c. sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350*. Get out two 8” or three 6” round pans.
Alrighty, y’all know I love me the creaming method of cake creation – so here it is:
In the Kitchenaide, with the paddle attachment, put all the dry ingredients. Give a couple spins to combine, then toss in the stick of butter (Cold from the fridge is fine). Run on medium for a couple of minutes, until the mixture looks like a bowl full of fine crumbs.
While that’s going, line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment, then grease and flour the pans. No, this is not overkill. You could parchment the sides, as well, if you want a super-smooth side. I didn’t – I’m lazy.
Back at the mixer, when the mix looks like crumbs, pour in the three liquid ingredients, bring up to medium high then high for about three minutes – until the mixture looks fluffy and is a lighter color than when you started.
Evenly divide between the pans. Give each a good whack, and bake for 30-35 minutes (start testing at 25 for the six inchers.) And, I weigh mine when it’s by three because otherwise I have vastly different sized layers. Eyeball it at your own risk.

When they test clean with a toothpick, cool on a rack for ten minutes (they’ll still be warm), then remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely. Layer with your compote or jam, sprinkle with powdered sugar and you are good to go.
Bon apétit

What about Meme’s frosting? I will try and fit that in to a post here soon. The interwebs knows about it, especially because the Pioneer Woman extolled its wonder a while back – check it out if you can’t wait!

Spicy Cherry Tomato Onion Jam, aka Grown Up Ketchup V2.0

 Cherry Tomato Jam

Our fabulous neighbors who market have struck again! This time with four pounds of cherry tomatoes from the Market on the Move.  But it’s December, so cooking them was the main option.  Ya’ll know I love me some cherry tomato jam, so I thought it’d be fun to mix it up a little this time around. Add some spice. Add half onion. I’d been reading about slow cooker jams, so I thought, “Hey! Let’s try it!”

Jam Montage
What could possibly go wrong?

 So, I got all the ingredients in the crockpot about midday, happily anticipating canning some jam after dinner. …. Fast forward to 6 pm. Yes, that would be six hours later. When suddenly I remember an essential element of jam making: evaporation. And an essential element of the slow cooker’s success: lack of evaporation. I had a soupy mess that looked almost exactly like it did six hours earlier. Sigh. So, I had to ice bath those puppies and started again the next morning. A couple hours on low in a stock pot on the cook top, and we were ready to rock and roll. 

Finally!
Finally!

This version is very tasty, but it can’t stand on its own as a jam like previous versions – say with a bacon or cheese scone. With a good strong cheese like asiago or Manchega and some crispy bread, though? We are talking seriously tasty.

Know any Ploughman looking for lunch?
Know any Ploughman looking for lunch?

 

Tangy, sweet, creamy, crunchy. That's the four food groups, right?
Tangy, sweet, creamy, crunchy. That’s the four food groups, right?

 Bon appétit!  Try it, and share how it goes!
Ingredients
3.75# grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
2# sugar
1 large white onion, grated
2 sm. White onions, in ¼” crescents
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smooshed
½ c. balsamic vinegar
3 dashes Worsteshire sauce
3 tsp. grated ginger (or 3 Dorot frozen ginger cubes)
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. pimenton dulce ahumado
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1/2 tsp. ground clove
Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Put everything in a big stock pot, cook on low until it is reduced to a good jam consistency. Put in sterile jars in the fridge or the freezer. If you’d like to can, I’ll put a link below with the directions.
For canning directions. These folks know their stuff
http://www.pickyourown.org/jam.htm

Not-So-Cherry Cherry Tomato Jam

CherTomFIN3

So, you know when you go to Costco and get that HUGE clamshell of cherry tomatoes, and you tell yourself – Oh! I’ll eat all of them. They look so good! I’ll have some every day!  
Only a week later they look like this?

CherryTomOLDOr, maybe you have a neighbor who went to Market on the Move and brought you four pints of them? (Because you have the best neighbors ever!)

CherTomSTILL2

 

What to do, what to do? Soooo many cherry tomatoes. Some a little on the sad side. Well at our house, that means cherry tomato jam.  

This stuff is like grown-up ketchup – it goes on everything.  On a sliced baquette with some goat cheese. On a pork chop. On a ham and cheese scone. On a bacon sandwich. Everything, I tells ya.

I make mine with the toms, some grated onion and sliced shallot, thyme, sugar, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire, garlic and olive oil.

All the bits...
All the bits…

 Since these were M-O-M cherry tomatoes, and most likely not organic, I gave them two good washes with soapy hot vinegar water.

IMGP2749Anybody with a split skin, I tossed.  (Hello? Hot soapy vinegar water?)  Next, slice the toms in half. These aren’t cranberries – they don’t automatically pop when they’re done. Trust me, I’ve tried.  You get stuck trying to mash them at the end and it’s a pain. Plus, this way you can inspect each one.

CherTomSLICE

Throw them in the pot and simmer on low for a couple hours. I actually wound up having to add some tomato paste to mine. It *is*January, they weren’t exactly chock full of tasty tomato-loids.

CherTomPOT

 

You can can it at this point. Or freeze it. Or just toss it in the fridge for up to a few weeks. I’ve been known to make a mini batch of these when I’ve got a partial pint mummifying on the counter.

I tried to use less sugar this time, and it did not set up – it’s like a thick tomato jam sauce type thing. But still *very* tasty. Just not as pretty. And, unfortunately, I’ve promised some to friends so hello, cooking shame. Haven’t seen you in like…a day.

So tasty!
So tasty!

Alright – moral of the story? Never throw away ageing cherry tomatoes again!

 

Cherry Tomato Jam, Not-So-Cherry
Serves 56
Sweet and tangy with thyme, vinegar and mild onion. Yum!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
42 calories
8 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
0 g
45 g
2 g
8 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
45g
Servings
56
Amount Per Serving
Calories 42
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
0%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 pints cherry tomatoes (about 1.25 #), superwashed and halved
  2. 2 c. sugar *
  3. 2 c. water
  4. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  5. 1/3 c. grated onion
  6. 1 medium shallot, sliced in to thin rings
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 c. (4 glugs) of good olive oil
  9. 1 Tbsp. wocestershire sauce (you know you can get anchovy-free vegetarian sauce, right?)
  10. 1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Wash and halve the toms.
  2. Throw everything in a large pot and simmer on low for two or so hours.
  3. Can it or freeze it.
Notes
  1. This made seven half-pints.
  2. You may want to add a touch more balsamic if you are freezing. Because I canned mine, I put two teaspoons of cider vinegar in each jar before filling it.
  3. You should double the sugar if you'd like a more jam-like consistency.
beta
calories
42
fat
1g
protein
0g
carbs
8g
more
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/