Sunday, September 20, 2009

#9 Peach Cranberry Jam

A long time ago, I used to work at Thyme and Again. I was the girl who made your coffee, packed your sweet treats and asked you to pay. It was a fun job, I did it to fill some time "in between" work. Mostly, all the people I worked with were wonderful. The thing I loved the most was the pride they all took in the foods they produced. The bakery bakes from scratch daily (the cheese biscuits are still wonderful). The cuisine kitchen is tiny and crowded, but the quality and quantity of food that emerges, continues to amaze. It's been quite a few years since I saw it from behind the scenes, and I can only imagine how much the production has increased, but the passion remians the same.

I am not a jam lover. I admit it. It's an extremely rare occasion that I will sit down and put jam on something. Occasionally a flaky, all-butter croissant with cross my lips with a smearing of handmade raspberry jam, and that's really about it.

Until now.

I was skeptical of a jar of jam making the "101 things to try before you die" list, but really, I think this will now become a staple in my pantry.

This jam from Thyme and Again on Wellington is really, really delicious. It's red (well, cranberry) in colour, but with such an aroma and taste of peach. The cranberries are whole, the peach slices are big, and it's sweet. It's lightly set, unlike a commercial jam which leaves a scoop impression each time you literally dig into it.

Jam, in my mind, goes with croissants, but really, I didn't have the time to make croissants from scratch, so scones were my next best bet. These scones are great, and even better the next day when heated up in the oven.

Cranberry Lemon Scones
adapted slightly from a recipe from King Arthur Flour
Makes 8 large scones

2 & 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 & 1/2 cups dried cranberries
zest from one lemon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (you might need a touch more depending on weather)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. I would normally use a food processor to "rub" in butter, but I thought I would do it the traditional way this time. However, if I were to use the food processor, I would put my cold butter cubes on the bottom, and then add the dry ingredients on top - it just mixes better that way.

Stir through the cranberries and lemon zest (you could use whatever combination you like - chocolate chips, dried blueberries, currants, nuts, baking spices etc etc).

In a smaller bowl, combine the eggs and the milk, and blend together.

Make a well in the flour mixture and gently mix through the liquids. If I were using the food processor, I would turn the dry mix into a bowl, and then mix in the fruit and wet ingredients by hand. You want the dough to come just together. It will be a little sticky, but whatever you do, don't mix too much.

You can shape your scones any way you want. I pulled off chunks of dough for a rustic looking scone. You could use a round cutter for a more refined look, you could roll your dough into a long rectangle and cut into triangles, or, you could roll your dough into a circle and then cut into wedges. Whatever you do, you obviously want the sizes to be similar so that they all bake at the same time.

Place scones onto a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. King Arthur says to do this for the best texture and the highest rise.

Pre-heat oven to 425F and bake for 20-25 minutes. The scone will be cooked when it is nicely golden all over, is not shiny, and it you can stand the heat, pick one up and make sure the bottom is golden too. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Serve warm - YUM!

One final thought, why is it, that whenever I visit a food shop to purchase ONE thing, I end up walking out with bags of goodies? My husband, I am sure, would also love to know the answer to that one.

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