Baking - General, Ingredient Insights

Homemade Seedless Raspberry Jam

I can’t get over how much I like making jam and jelly now. It always seemed like such a daunting task, but now I can get a whole batch done in no time. Well, that’s not entirely true, it depends on the kind I’m making. What I really like about most of the jams and jellies I’ve been making is that they are totally from scratch, with no added pectin, and consequently way less sugar. Quince, grape, apple-quince-grape, and now raspberry.

I love the taste of raspberries, but I really don’t like the seeds. So when I decided to try this latest batch of jam with our stock of frozen berries, I wanted to go seedless. I thawed the berries and squished them through a sieve, making sure to use about a cup more berries than the recipe called for to compensate for the bulk of the seeds that would be missing. After a long time of squishing and straining I ended up with about two cups of seedless raspberry pulp.

Then I needed to make the pectin. The recipe used apples and lemon, cutting them all up, keeping the cores and peels, and boiling for about 20 minutes until the fruit was mushy. That also got squished through the sieve, and made four cups of apple sauce. The recipe only called for two, so the rest has been frozen to use for another batch.

The recipe I used called for five cups of sugar for the four cups of fruit pulp, as opposed to another recipe in the book for straight raspberry jam, which calls for four cups of raspberries and six and a half cups of sugar with a package of liquid pectin. You might wonder if the flavour of the raspberries in my batch was muted by the use of apple, but it really wasn’t. As it cooked I only smelled raspberries, and you can hardly taste apple at all in the jam. You have to keep in mind that although there were only two cups of raspberry pulp, it took about five cups of raspberries to make it.

I’m very happy with how it came out. Although it is a lot more work to make the jams and jellies without added pectin it is totally worth it, for a couple reasons. 1) It’s cheaper. The five apples I used basically replaced the equivalent of two packs of liquid pectin, and used less sugar, both of which saved some money. And 2) because there is less sugar used, it makes the natural flavour of the fruit stronger, and makes the jam that much more delicious!

Baking - Desserts, Ingredient Insights

Turkish Delight: A Comparison

Turkish delight was never something I really enjoyed as a child. There was something about the texture and the perfumey rosewater flavour that just didn’t appeal. But over the years I have acquired a taste for it, if it’s done right. I’ve had some that are more like ju-jubes, but if it has delicately firm texture, and a slightly less perfumey taste, it can become a bit addictive.

A few weeks ago I was looking through our Joy of Cooking cookbook and found two recipes for turkish delight. One suggested using jelly, such as quince, for flavouring, and given my recent quince jelly endeavour, I thought it might be fun to give it a try.

Pectin based delight sitting out to dry. Notice the blotchy icing sugar being absorbed.

The first recipe used pectin and corn syrup as the gelling agents, and the second used gelatin. I made the pectin one first, which requires you to boil and stir two pots simultaneously before mixing them together and pouring into a pan to cool. I followed the directions very carefully, timing everything as it said. It only took a couple hours to gel at room temperature. Then I cut them into pieces, tossed them in icing sugar and set them out to dry overnight. In the morning I discovered that all the candies had absorbed the icing sugar, and started dripping syrup all over the counter below. I tried to re-coat them several times, but they just kept dissolving and dripping. The taste was good, and the texture was okay; not  like the best turkish delight I’ve ever had, but still a nice sweet treat, despite the syrup goo.

I decided to also try the second gelatin based recipe to see if it would be any different. Unlike the first recipe, there was only one pot to boil, and I needed to use a thermometer to measure the temperature. It took a lot longer to gel in the pan, but was definitely less moist; one coating of icing sugar did the trick. Unfortunately the texture was disappointing; more like a ju-jube, or very firm jello. And with the gelatin they’re not vegetarian friendly.

Some recipes that I found online don’t use pectin or gelatin, they use corn starch. I liked the pectin recipe for the most part, but wonder if it would have been better to boil the pots a bit longer, or actually measure the temperature, even though that’s not what the recipe called for. If anyone has a good recipe for turkish delight they can recommend, I’d love to try it. Until then, we’ll make the best of our little jelly chews.