This is a story of family and food and love. My father’s mother, my grandma Julia, had five sisters; my great aunts Jenny, Anna, Helen, Mimi, and Lulu. My Dad learned to cook, bake and preserve from the wonderful women in his family and from my grandfather, who was a butcher.
As a very young girl, I spent the early mornings while my mom and brother slept, with my daddy. In this quiet time he shared the secrets of the kitchen; separating eggs, mixing the lightest batter, transforming ordinary berries into glistening preserves and syrups, or stuffing a sausage and corning a beef brisket. I was enchanted and have never wanted to leave this magical world.
Dad told me that my Aunt Jenny taught herself to make pickles because my Uncle Bill hated garlic and all of the pickles at the market had garlic. Also Jenny made an amazing spread that everyone loved from simple ingredients of dried and canned fruit.
At some point years later we noticed that Dad’s hand began to shake. I remember the awful day when my mom and dad told me that dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. We all spoke of treatments and how we were sure that it would all be OK. However over time this cruel disease robbed dad of his joys of working in my parents antique business, roller blading, photography, and cooking.
As dad’s health declined, we spent a lot of time talking about family stories and recipes. There was something very calming and familiar for him to talk about things like his mother’s huckleberry pie (it was so good that it made him come home early from vacation when he heard she was baking one) and my Aunt Jenny’s delicious apricot and pineapple jam. When I asked him for the recipe for the jam he was not sure how to make it but said he would know it when he tasted it.
Experimentation and tidbits of information; “they must be California sun dried apricots” he remembered her saying, helped us recreate the recipe. I made a few jars and dad took one bite and declared it a success. We recruited my cousins, Aunt Jenny’s children as taste testers and got a rousing approval.
My Dad, Sidney Cohen, was taken from us a little over a year ago and I miss him terribly. He was not the sort for a big fuss and would not have liked any kind of grand celebration or some award done in his name but I wanted honor his memory.
We have made a special vintage recipe version of our Aunt Jenny’s Jam for sale online and at our markets. I will be contributing 10% of the total sales for this jam for the rest of the year to Parkinson’s research. I hope this bright sunny spread will be a delight for my family to share with yours and the money raised with help in some small part to reduce suffering and lead to a cure.
Purchase Aunt Jenny’s Jam
The mid Winter jam kitchen crew is juicing, peeling, zesting, and simmering as fast as we can. The season for Seville oranges is a special time that is over in the blink of an eye. Even though we were making a traditional style marmalade, we had to add our own New England twist by blending in dried cranberries.
Once all of those bitter oranges and tart cranberries were cooked into tangy/sweet marmalade and poured into jars, it was time for a reward. It would seem to some that after weeks of making marmalade, we would be sick of it but instead we were longing to delight in the fruits of our labors. A cup of Earl Grey tea (yes even more citrus) and a slice of sticky marmalade cake was just the thing to enjoy during a break from all that hard work.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup marmalade (we used our Garnets in the Grove-orange cranberry)
4 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup marmalade
2 Tablespoons orange juice
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a round 8″ glass pie dish or square pan generously. Toss the dry ingredients (except sugar)
and orange zest together in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar by hand or in a mixer. Add eggs, juice, marmalade and milk and blend well. Stir in the dry ingredients and blend until combined but not over mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes. When the cake is done, stir 2 Tablespoons of orange juice into 1/3 cup marmalade and warm in a small saucepan or in microwave. Pour over cake and enjoy warm or room temp with ice cream, yogurt, or traditional custard.
I adore holidays; gathering with family and friends, the table overflowing with food, the cheerful decorations. This year we have a once in a lifetime chance to take two of my favorite holidays and bring them together in one mashuganah mash up being called Thanksgivukkah. As readers of my blog know, I have cooked up some crazy dishes for holidays so this new holiday hybrid was irresistible. So I share with you the Squash Sufganiyot filled with Cape Escape Cranberry Chocolate Jam. So much Chanukah and Thanksgiving deliciousness in one little bite! Happy Holidays x2!
Squash Sufganiyot with Cape Escape Cranberry Chocolate Jam
3 cups flour
8 ounces peeled and cubed butternut squash
3/4 cup apple cider
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
oil for frying
cinnamon & sugar mixture for outside of donuts
Filling: Doves and Figs Cape Escape jam or other cranberry jam
Heat oven to 450 degrees
Roast squash for about 35 minutes in a shallow dish until very tender
Heat several inches of oil in a heavy bottom pan
Process squash with apple cider in a food processor or blender
Beat eggs into squash
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in a large bowl
Pour squash mixture into the flour mixture and stir until well combined but do not over mix.
Let rest for a few minutes
Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough into hot oil.
Fry until golden and cooked in the center (test one little donut to make sure you have a good cooking time).
Drain and cool on paper towels
Roll warm sufganiyot in cinnamon sugar
Fill donuts with chocolate cranberry jam
Eat, eat it’s Thanksgivukkah!!
Posted in Baking & Desserts, Chanukah, Holiday, Sauces, Jams, and Preserves
Tagged Chanukah, cranberry, donuts, doves and figs, jams, sufganiyot, Thanksgivikah
I started this blog to share recipes from my kitchen and mostly that is what I will still be doing here. Once in a while I will share news about my little jam company, Doves and Figs and perhaps a few other places and products that I love. Our website is www.dovesandfigs.com and I would love to have you visit anytime but it will be even more exciting in a month or so when we add our online shop! We have been getting wonderful notices in the press most recently from the Arlington Advocate and the Improper Bostonian. In the meantime, you can order jam by emailing or calling us and check out our Jam Nest for prices, flavors, and contact info.
This June we will be exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show in NYC for the first time. I attended this huge food business show last year and so I know what we are in for and will be bringing plenty of delicious jams for buyers to sample.
In July it will be just two years since we sold our first jar of jam at the Winchester Farmers Market. I made a big stack of 12-jar cases (much more jam then I had ever made at one time before) and hoped to sell them over the course of the summer at Winchester and Arlington markets. I remember saying to my hubby that I hoped to sell a least 6 jars at that first market. He advised me to bring every single jar I had made; I advised him that he was nuts. We did not bring any jars home!
A great market season led to getting a wholesale license and selling in wonderful stores from cheese and gourmet shops to produce shops to boutiques and gift stores with more exciting places coming on all the time.
I would love to know any ideas you have for places that should carry our jam, flavors that we should make, or recipes you have made with our jam that you would like to share. Please leave us a comment here or on Twitter @dovesandfigs or on our facebook page. Thanks and keeping on spreading the local jam love!
We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging from my kitchen for more recipes…