Thursday, December 15, 2011

Saskatoon Biscuits

Saskatoons are the target of my recipe testing this week, and let me tell you it's not a bad way to spend the week!  

Thanks to Mary and John Heard from Carman for supplying me with saskatoons and recipe ideas for this chapter of the book.  

So far Saskatoon Lemon Pound Cake, Saskatoon Biscuits, Saskatoon French Toast Strata, Saskatoon Berry Sauce, Saskatoon Pie, Dehydrated Saskatoons and three saskatoon preserves have made the cut.  But there are still more to come!

Here's the biscuits we had first thing this morning.  In less than half an hour (mixing and baking time) you too can have these delicious, hot, buttery biscuits.  

Saskatoon Biscuits
I love how quick and easy these no-fuss dropped biscuits are to make. 

Whole wheat flour            1 cup           250 ml
All-purpose flour               1 cup           250 ml
Baking powder                 1 Tbsp          15 ml
Baking soda                      ¼ tsp           1 ml
Sugar                               2 ½ Tbsp      37 ml
Cold butter, cubed            1/3 cup        80 ml
Saskatoons (fresh or frozen)1 cup           250 ml
Buttermilk*                       1 cup           250 ml
1.    Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
2.    Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and 2 Tbsp (30 ml) sugar.
3.    Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4.    Stir in saskatoons.
5.    Make a well in the flour mixture and add milk.
6.    Stir just until ingredients come together. 
7.    Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto lightly greased baking sheet.
8.    Sprinkle tops of biscuits with remaining ½ Tbsp (7 ml) of sugar.
9.    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

Makes: 9 biscuits

* Go gourmet by adding some lemon or orange zest along with the saskatoons.* Make a sour milk substitute.  Pour 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice in a measuring cup, add milk to the 1 cup mark.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grape Jelly

I am really enjoying making jams and jellies on cold, snowy days.  I'm also enjoying making small batches of jams and jellies.  It's fast, requires relatively small amounts of fruit and because they'll be eaten within the month, don't require a final water bath. Easy, delicious and warm - my favourite things.

This week I was working on grape recipes for the Prairie Fruit book.  I had some canned grape juice that allowed me to make two types of grape jelly.
Grapes have enough natural pectin to make grape jelly without the addition of any commercial pectin, so I tried one recipe with pectin and one without.

Grape Jelly, No Pectin
The first batch I made was 2 cups juice and 1 cup of sugar, heated until it reached the jelly stage (about 8 minutes). That's it!  While I was cooking the juice and sugar, I also sterilized 3 small jam jars.  (Boil jars in water for 10 minutes and heat lids in a pot of water).  I ended up with 2 and 1/2 jars of jelly that will stay in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  
Classic PB and J sandwich with grape jelly


Grape and Lemon Jelly
The second batch (my favourite of the two) uses No Sugar Pectin.  Using this type of pectin allows you to add as much or as little sweetener as you’d like.  The result is an intense fruity flavour that is not as sweet as typical jellies.  Here's the full recipe, but it can easily be cut in half.

Grape Juice                     4 cups          1 L
Lemon Tea, brewed strong ½ cup          125 ml
Lemon Juice                     1 Tbsp          15 ml
Honey                              1/2 cup        125 ml
No Sugar Pectin               1package    
1.    In a large stock pot, combine grape juice, brewed tea, lemon juice and pectin.  Mix until pectin is fully dissolved.
2.    Stir and bring mixture to a full boil.
3.    Add honey.
4.    Return mixture to a hard boil for 3 minutes until jelly stage.  To test for the proper jelly consistency, cool a small plate in the freezer.  Place a spoon of jam on the plate and cool for 1 minute.  If the mixture is firm, it is ready. If it runs on the plate, continue to cook for 1 minute and repeat the test. 
5.    Remove from heat and remove any foam.
6.    Pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving a 1/4”( 7mm) headspace.
7.    Wipe rim with clean cloth and seal with hot sealing lid.
8.    Screw band on top and tighten finger tight.
9.    Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.
10. Remove jars, cool undisturbed for 24 hours and check seal.
Makes: 5 half pint (250 ml) jars