It was inevitable that with all the tomatoes my husband plants every year, I would come around to tomato jam. I could stick to making only sauce or roasted tomatoes for the freezer, because we always run out before the next growing season comes around, but I wanted to add something new to our tomato arsenal. Plus, we are fond of homemade condiments that dress up plain old traditional foods like burgers, so this glorified ketchup seemed like a good idea. In honor of the occasion, I added a condiments category to the site menu.
My jam is not preserved—because I don’t know how to do that and don’t have canning equipment. Plus, I must admit that I am a little afraid of home-canned foods. So this fresh jam can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or frozen for longer storage.
Maple Tomato Jam
- 4 lbs tomatoes, cored and chopped (not seeded)—mine were half San Marzano roma and half Early Girl globe tomatoes
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried hot pepper—mine were California chiles
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy stockpot.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium to keep the jam at a low boil for 2 hours. Stir occasionally, and a little more often during the last 20 minutes.*
- Fill your jars and cool slightly before sealing with lids. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze. If freezing in plastic bags, cool before filling and sealing.
*I have a gas stove, but you will have to choose the temperatures that you know work on yours. Basically, you want to see bubbling throughout the cooking time—without using a lid. If your temperature is too low, it will take a lot longer for the moisture to evaporate. Mine was thick and ready at 2 hours and 10 minutes. But don’t try to hurry the jam, either, and risk scorching it. Let the flavors develop over the 2 hours at a low and visible boil. Follow the rule of dragging your wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, waiting for the point when liquid doesn’t run into the path. You think it will never reach that stage, and then the magic just happens.
Whatever you call it, the muffin tin makes it easy to construct, and provides a neat and kind of glamorous result. I have been thinking about hand pies lately, trying to come up with a simple method of making the packet without cracks and burnt edges and leaky fillings. If I’m going to make pie crust, though, I’d just as soon make a regular pie. So I turned to puff pastry for something just a little different, yet not your typical turnover.
I made the apple pie filling yesterday, so all I have to do is the construction and baking today, while dinner cooks in the slow cooker. While my apple pies are almost always made with raw apples, I didn’t think these would bake long enough today to cook the apples, so a precooked filling seemed like a better idea. I used this one from the New York Times, because it doesn’t add any liquids, other than a splash of apple cider vinegar, and comes out very thick, so it will be less likely to bubble over or make the pastry soggy. The apples in this filling—I used Granny Smiths, my favorite for pies—are not overcooked and mushy, so they will withstand more cooking inside the pastry. I diced rather than sliced them to fit in the round cups better.
I needed six 6″ squares of puff pastry for my jumbo muffin cups, so I had to roll out the two pastry sheets in the package to 12″ x 12″; that left me with two extra squares, which I cut up and made into Parmesan twists. Each lined muffin cup held about 3/4-1 cup of filling.
Baked apple puffs
- 1 recipe cooked pie filling (about 6-8 cups); good one from NY Times
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2.5 pounds apples, peeled and diced (I used 5 large Granny Smiths)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, each rolled into 12″ x 12″
- egg wash—1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water
- decorating sugar
- Cook pie filling ahead of time so it can cool. I made it the day before, then brought it back to room temperature before filling the pastry-lined cups.
- Preheat oven to 400°; butter 6 jumbo muffin cups.
- Let pastry sheets thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, so it’s workable, but still cold. Roll each sheet into 12″ x 12″ square. cut each into 4 squares of 6″ x 6″—puff pastry will puff up in the oven, so perfection of the shape is not necessary.
- Line each muffin cup with one square, letting the corners hang over the sides.
- Fill each cup with cooled filling to the top of each cup.
- Fold over the pastry corners to the center of each cup. If your pastry has gotten too warm, put the filled cups in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before finishing, so the pastry is chilled when it goes into the oven.
- Brush the tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with decorating sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine were done at about 22 minutes.