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Recipes for pear amaretto sauce, tangy beans, apple jelly spiked with garlic

06/22/2015 03:16 EDT | Updated 06/22/2016 05:59 EDT
When Amy Bronee was writing "The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes," she dreamed up a jam that combines juicy ripe pears and amaretto, an almond-flavoured Italian liqueur.

When she made it, she found the taste "out of this world."

But she couldn't get the mixture to set. Perhaps the alcohol was interfering with the pectin and affecting the gel set point.

She made it seven times.

"The seventh time I decided that the first batch was just so good. This is not a jam. This is a dessert sauce and I thought I just need to let it be what it is because it was so delicious."

Bronee's recipe for Pear Amaretto Sauce is below along with a few other sweet and savoury favourites from her new book, published earlier this month.

PEAR AMARETTO SAUCE

Amaretto liqueur lifts pear preserves from simple to sophisticated.

To get the best flavour from pears, allow them to ripen before using. A ripe pear should be juicy and soft instead of crunchy. To ripen hard pears, leave them at room temperature for a few days and check them again for a tender neck.

1.5 kg (3 lb) ripe pears

750 ml (3 cups) granulated sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) amaretto liqueur

Rinse pears under cool running water. Remove and discard peels, stems and cores. Coarsely chop pears, adding them to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Crush with a masher into a chunky consistency.

Stir in sugar. Bring to a full boil over highest heat, stirring frequently. Maintain a full boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until bits of pear are tender. Stir in amaretto. Return to a full boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Ladle into 5 clean 250-ml (1-cup) jars, leaving a 5-mm (1/4-inch) headspace.

Fill canner with water and place it over high heat at least 20 minutes before you need it so it will be boiling when jars are ready to be processed.

Follow manufacturer's instructions on packaging for preparing lids for processing. Position new flat lids over clean jar rims and secure in place by twisting on screw bands just until fingertip tight. Not too tight — some air will need to escape during processing.

Place jars in water bath canner, covered by at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) boiling water. Cover canner and process for 15 minutes. Start timing when water in canner returns to full boil. When processing time is up, turn off heat and remove lid. Leave jars in canner for 5 more minutes.

Remove processed jars from canner and leave to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten screw bands while jars are cooling. Once jars are fully cooled, press middle of each lid to check for a vacuum seal. If centre of lid is suctioned down, jar has fully sealed.

Makes 5 250-ml (1-cup) jars.

HOT-AND-SOUR PICKLED GREEN BEANS

Personalize your Caesar or Bloody Mary cocktail by sliding one of these spicy and tangy pickled green beans into the glass. They're also fantastic chopped in salads and added to pasta dishes and omelettes.

This is a simple canning project, ideal for first-time picklers.

Quality fresh green beans should make a satisfying snap sound when broken. To simplify packing, use wide-mouth instead of standard-mouth canning jars. For even hotter flavour, add peppercorns or some brown mustard seeds to your jars. For best flavour, wait two to three weeks before opening.

1.5 kg (3 lb) green beans

12 ml (2 1/2 tsp) dried chili flakes

5 garlic cloves, peeled

750 ml (3 cups) water

550 ml (2 1/4 cups) pickling vinegar (7 per cent acetic acid)

50 ml (1/4 cup) pickling salt

Rinse beans under cool running water. Trim off and discard tips at both ends. Line up 5 clean 500-ml (2-cup) jars. Put 2 ml (1/2 tsp) chili flakes and 1 garlic clove into each jar. Pack each jar with the green beans, ensuring they are at least 2 cm (3/4 inch) below jar rim.

Prepare brine by combining water, vinegar and salt in a large saucepan. Stir over high heat until salt dissolves completely and liquid turns from cloudy to clear.

Ladle hot brine into jars, leaving a 1-cm (1/2-inch) headspace. Poke a non-metallic utensil inside each jar a few times to remove any air bubbles, topping up brine if necessary.

Fill canner with water and place it over high heat at least 20 minutes before needed so it will be boiling when jars are ready to be processed.

Follow manufacturer's instructions on packaging for preparing lids for processing. Position new flat lids over clean jar rims and secure in place by twisting on the screw bands just until fingertip tight. Not too tight — some air will need to escape during processing.

Place jars in water bath canner, covered by at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) boiling water. Cover canner and process for 15 minutes. Start timing when water in canner returns to full boil. When processing time is up, turn off heat and remove lid. Leave jars in the canner for 5 more minutes.

Remove processed jars from canner and leave to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten screw bands while the jars are cooling. Once jars are fully cooled, press middle of each lid to check for a vacuum seal. If centre of lid is suctioned down, jar has fully sealed.

Makes 5 500-ml (2-cup) jars.

GARLIC ROSEMARY APPLE JELLY

A jar of this dramatic jelly adds a special touch to a cheese and crackers platter or charcuterie board.

"It's got the sweetness from the apples, it's got the sourness from white vinegar, then it's got the rosemary and the garlic. You would use it anywhere you would use pepper jelly, and it's so good. That's a favourite of a lot of my neighbours. They all want a jar of that," says Bronee.

Use the freshest rosemary and garlic you can find. Your finished jelly is as good as the ingredients you add to it.

1.6 kg (3 1/2 lb) apples (any variety)

1.25 l (5 cups) water

875 ml (3 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

150 ml (2/3 cup) white vinegar

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh rosemary

15 ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic

Rinse apples under cool running water. Chop into chunks, including pectin-rich skins, cores and seeds, and place in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour in water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes, until mushy, stirring occasionally.

Scoop hot apple mixture into a jelly bag (or a colander lined with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth) suspended over a large bowl. Let it drip until you have 875 ml (3 1/2 cups) juice. (This can take a few hours.)

Pour juice into rinsed pot. Stir in sugar, vinegar, rosemary and garlic. Bring to a full boil over highest heat. Maintain a full foamy boil, stirring frequently, until it reaches the gel stage, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off any foamy scum.

Ladle into 3 clean 250-ml (1-cup) jars, leaving a 5-mm (1/4-inch) headspace.

Fill canner with water and place it over high heat at least 20 minutes before you need it so it will be boiling when jars are ready to be processed.

Follow manufacturer's instructions on the packaging for preparing lids for processing. Position new flat lids over clean jar rims and secure in place by twisting on screw bands just until fingertip tight. Not too tight — some air will need to escape during processing.

Place jars in water bath canner, covered by at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) boiling water. Cover canner and process for 15 minutes. Start timing when water in canner returns to full boil. When processing time is up, turn off the heat and remove lid. Leave jars in canner for 5 more minutes.

Remove processed jars from canner and leave to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten screw bands while jars are cooling. Once jars are fully cooled, press middle of each lid to check for a vacuum seal. If centre of lid is suctioned down, jar has fully sealed.

Makes 3 250-ml (1 cup) jars.

RASPBERRY COCOA JAM

Classic raspberry jam gets a sinful twist with pure cocoa powder in this unusual jam that's delicious on toast, brownie bites with whipped cream, ice cream, cheesecake, tarts and thumbprint cookies.

Milk products aren't safe for water bath canning, so it's important to use a pure cocoa powder that has no added milk solids. Look for one that lists only cocoa power in the ingredients.

1.125 kg (2 1/2 lb) raspberries

15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice

50 ml (1/4 cup) pure cocoa powder

1 pkg (57 g) regular pectin powder

1.5 l (6 cups) granulated sugar

Rinse raspberries under cool running water and drain well. Crush berries in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a masher (you should have just about 1.25 l/5 cups crushed berries).

Stir in lemon juice, cocoa powder and pectin powder. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in sugar. Return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Maintain a full boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off and discard any foamy scum.

Ladle into 7 clean 250-ml (1-cup) jars, leaving a 5 mm (1/4 inch) headspace.

Fill canner with water and place it over high heat at least 20 minutes before you need it so it will be boiling when jars are ready to be processed.

Follow manufacturer's instructions on packaging for preparing lids for processing. Position new flat lids over clean jar rims and secure in place by twisting on screw bands just until fingertip tight. Not too tight — some air will need to escape during processing.

Place jars in water bath canner, covered by at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) boiling water. Cover canner and process for 15 minutes. Start timing when water in canner returns to a full boil. When processing time is up, turn off heat and remove lid. Leave jars in canner for 5 more minutes.

Remove processed jars from canner and leave to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten screw bands while jars are cooling. Once jars are fully cooled, press middle of each lid to check for a vacuum seal. If centre of lid is suctioned down, jar has fully sealed.

Makes 7 250-ml (1-cup) jars.

Source: "The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes" by Amy Bronee (Penguin, 2015).

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