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Author Notes: Summer ingredients. A few years back I began feeling bored with just-plain-jams (except for raspberry jams) and I started experimenting with fun combos. Plum jam with cognac soaked-raisins and walnuts, for example. Or strawberry jam steeped with cinnamon and covered with lavander.
This is a pretty straightforward jam that ends up having an almost jelly-like texture. I learned the technique of stewing summer fruits before adding sugar to them from Grandma Batya, the mother-in-law of my former neighbor, who is a Dresden-born delight well into her nineties and who explained to me with conviction, when I brought her a jar of deeply dark Spanish-style ornage marmalade, that this was a good way to wreck fruit! She won me over, pretty much. These little globules are a tribute to her. —nogaga
Serves 4 standard sized jars
- 1700 grams pitted and quartered apricots (3.7 pounds)
- cup of water ( or as needed)
- 800 grams sugar (about 4 cups)
- 1-3 leaves of large Italian basil
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon any red fruit vinegar-- plum, raspberry, cherry
- Place apricot quarters in a medium-sized saucepan, and cover, just barely, with water. Heat to a very gently simmer, barely there. You don't want this mixture to bubble or make a scum, you just want to create a really thick apricot slurry. Depending on your conditions this can take up to an hour or so. When you're done, you will have a shiny, nice-smelling apricot mush. Do not let it char or burn or you will have to throw the fruit away.
- Allow this compote to cool to just warmer than room temperature. Add the sugar, and using a wooden spoon mix until fully absorbed. Allow about ten minutes for the fruit and sugar to rest together, then turn on the heat and cook, while carefully vigilant, for about another 10-15 minutes not more, only until the sugar and the fruit are completely melded. You do not want to caramelize the sugar. You should have a glossy, crystaline apricot jam.
- As it cools, stir in the vinegar and the cardamom. When it is cool, jelly-like in consistency and about to be jared, add the basil leaves which you will have just sliced very, very fine indeed, chiffonade. Combine and jar. Enjoy!