Bottle a classic with this jam from Sweet. Paying homage to the Escoffier peach melba, peach and raspberry preserves are layered on top of each other and sealed for, well, as long as you can keep your hands off them.
Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Peden and Munk.
- Yield:makes six 12-ounce jars
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:several hours, for setting and cooling (and more if canning)
- About 4 pounds yellow peaches (10 to 12), rinsed
- 3 1/2 cups (24.5 ounces) sugar, or more to taste
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
- 2 pints (about 1 pound) raspberries, rinsed
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Cut a small X in the bottom of each peach. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it close to the stove.
Plunge 2 peaches at a time into the boiling water and leave them in the water for 1 minute; you will see the skin start to pull away at the X marks. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to the ice water. When all the peaches have been blanched, drain and remove the skins; they should slip off easily.
Halve and pit the peaches and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges. Mix with 11/2 cups of the sugar in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla bean and seeds and cover the bowl. Combine the raspberries with the remaining 2 cups sugar in another bowl and cover the bowl. Set the fruit aside for 30 minutes, or macerate for as long as overnight in the refrigerator.
Sterilize six 12-ounce canning jars and lids: Heat the oven to 250°F.
Wash the canning jars with soap and warm water, or run them through a cycle in a dishwasher.
Set the jars right side up on a baking sheet and put them in the hot oven for 15 minutes to sterilize them.
Put four small ceramic plates in the freezer.
Pour the peaches and sugar into a large pot and set over high heat. Cook, stirring with a large wooden spoon or a heatproof silicone spatula, scraping the edges and bottom of the pot to prevent scorching, until the fruit comes to a boil. If the jam bubbles up too much, lower the heat to medium and continue stirring. Once the bubbling subsides, after about 10 minutes, the jam will begin to thicken.
Taste the jam for sweetness. If you want, add a little more sugar 1/4 cup at a time, taste, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Check the set of the jam by putting a small dollop of hot jam on one of the chilled plates. Run a finger through it: if your finger leaves a track, the jam is ready; if not, continue cooking for a few minutes and repeat the test. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Pour the raspberries and sugar into another pot and set over high heat. Cook, stirring with a large wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, scraping the edges and bottom of the pot to prevent scorching, until the mixture starts to thicken and the major bubbling has given way to smaller bubbles, 10 to 12 minutes.
Taste the jam for sweetness. If you want, add a little more sugar 1/4 cup at a time, taste, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The raspberry jam should taste tarter and brighter than the peach jam.
Check the set of the raspberry jam. When it is ready, remove from the heat.
Pour the peach jam into the sterilized jars, filling each one about halfway. Wearing a heatproof glove or an oven mitt, pick up each jar and carefully tap it on the work surface to remove any air bubbles in the jam. Caution—the contents and jars are very hot!
Then fill the jars with raspberry jam and seal with the warm lids. (It is not necessary to tap the jars with the second layer of jam.) Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or follow the canning instructions for long-term storage below.
Sterilizing and Canning: Prepare a boiling-water canner, or fill a large deep pot halfway with water and bring to a low boil.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a low boil, then remove it from the heat and drop in the sterilized jar lids (and bands). Heating the lids before canning will soften the wax seal and result in a tighter seal.
Remove the jars from the oven and set them on a stable work surface. When the jam is cooked, fill the jars one at a time using a funnel or sterilized heat-resistant pitcher, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Using a clean damp cloth, wipe the rims of the jars clean.
Carefully remove the lids from the small saucepan and seal the jars. If using lids and bands, put the lid on top of the jar and screw the band on until it is secure.
Using a jar lifter, carefully put the jars into the boiling-water canner (or large pot), making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch.
Place the lid on the canner (or pot) and bring the water to a full boil. Boil the jam for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Lay two large dish towels on a flat surface. Using the jar lifter, carefully remove the jars from the canner (or pot) and put on the towels. Leave the jars undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Check the seals; if they’re secure, store the jars in your larder. If any seal is loose, refrigerate the jar immediately and consume the contents within the appropriate timetable.
Jams can be stored in a cool area away from direct sunlight for up to 1 year; marmalades will keep for up to 1 1/2 years. Once they’ve been opened, store all preserves in the refrigerator. Jams keep well for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, marmalades for up to 2 months.