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Recipe: Stained Glass Jam from “Montreal Cooks”

Stained Glass Jam

from Preservation Society

The creamy white chunks of pear suspended behind glass in vibrant red cranberry jelly inspired the name of this jam. It pays homage to Montreal’s beautiful fall fruits as well as to the magnificent churches full of stained glass that awed chef Camilla Wynne when she first moved to Montreal. This jam can be used to fill tarts, but it’s equally good with scones, on top of a panna cotta or stirred into yogurt.

Makes six 1/2-pint (1 cup) jars

  • 2 1/4 lbs peeled, diced Flemish Beauty pears (about 8 whole)
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 3/4 cups (26 1/2 oz/750 g) white sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 lemons

In a large pot or preserving pan, combine the pears, cranberries, sugar and star anise. Wash and dry the lemons, then remove the peel in long strips using a vegetable peeler. Stack the strips on a cutting board to slice them crosswise into thin strips. Juice the lemons and add to the pear mixture along with the julienned lemon zest. Allow to stand briefly to macerate.

In the meantime, have ready six 1/2-pint (1 cup) glass jars with sealable lids, and wash them well with soapy water. Place a wire rack or a tea towel in the bottom of a large pot or boiling water canner, fill it with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Using tongs, place the jars into the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the jars to sit in the hot water until ready to use.

Bring the pear mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil hard, stirring often, until the setting point is reached (to test this, dip a teaspoon into the jam, and place it on a cold plate in the freezer for 2 minutes; if it wrinkles like a silk shirt when pushed gently with a finger, it is ready). Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the star anise pods.

Remove the jars from the water and drain, and bring the water back up to a boil. Ladle the jam into the hot sterilized jars, filling them to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Run a plastic spatula or a wooden chopstick around the edges of the jars to remove any air bubbles, and wipe the rims. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until they are fingertip-tight.

Process the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Using a jar lifter, transfer the jars to a dish rack or to a tea towel placed on the counter and allow to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, check the seal (you should be able to remove the screw band and turn the jar upside down without the lid falling off!). If the jar has not sealed properly, refrigerate it and consume the contents over the next few months. Try to wait at least 3 weeks before opening properly sealed jars—you will be rewarded with a far more balanced flavour. Sealed jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

This recipe and many others from Montreal’s leading chefs can be found in Montreal Cooks by Jonathan Cheung and Tays Spencer – out now!


February 22, 2016
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