"But until pie replaces pancakes, I'll have to make do with this jam."
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In his book James Beard's American Cookery, James Beard writes:
In early America and well up into the nineteenth century, pie was a standard breakfast dish. Since the men of rural families rose early and had an hour or more of outside chores before breakfast, there was time to make such treats.
Too bad times have changed! I love pie, and if I wasn't afraid people would look at me strangely, I would probably eat it at my desk most mornings. Also, can you imagine the weekend "brunch pie" possibilities? I would be in double crust, crumb topped, fluffy meringue heaven.
But until pie replaces pancakes, I'll have to make do with this jam. Filled with tart Granny Smith apples, juicy raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a healthy shot of dark rum, it tastes exactly like my favorite holiday apple pie. It's insanely good on cornbread and pretty darn delicious on plain old toast, too.
I adapted my recipe from one for "apple pie in a jar" from The Complete Book of Home Preserving. The original version is much chunkier. I cooked my apples longer then mashed them into applesauce for a smoother, more spreadable jam. Because I'm a firm believer that dark rum makes just about everything better, I reduced the apple juice from 1 cup to 3/4 cup and made up the difference with Goslings rum. Finally, I skimped a bit on the nutmeg (1/4 instead of 1/2 a teaspoon) and added a pinch of ground ginger.
At first, I turned up my nose at the instructions to pulse the raisins in the food processor. It seemed like a fussy extra step. But don't skip it! Chopping the raisins exposes their sticky sweet insides. When you add them to the pot, they sort of melt and infuse the jam with luscious raisiny flavor. If you're not a raisin person (I don't understand those people, but that's a separate conversation), swap them for dried cranberries or dried figs.
This recipe makes enough jam to fill seven 8-ounce (250 mL) jars, plus a little leftover. Store the extra in an airtight container in your fridge—a bonus for the cook. I've provided instructions for processing the jam in a hot water bath, which makes it shelf-stable. If you don't want to go to the trouble, just refrigerate your jars of jam once they cool. When (and if) you give them away, make sure to tell the recipient to store them in the fridge as well. This jam would make a perfect Thanksgiving hostess gift or Christmas stocking stuffer.
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