This week, we picked up a couple of boxes of raspberries during shopping and we also picked up, from the public library, the book Cookie Love, by Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy. The two were completely unrelated, but, as you can guess, it turns out that one influenced the other. While we were looking through the book and examining the “basics section” near the back — we often find the best recipes in that section; we think that’s because these are the workhorse recipes, the ones that are used each and every day, in a whole variety of other recipes, so they have to be perfect — we found one for raspberry jam that piqued our interest.
The recipe was for Raspberry Framboise Jam, and it incorporated, of all things, a raspberry lambic beer (also sometimes known as framboise, even though framboise is simply the French word for raspberry — go figure). Now, that sounds like something that would be interesting, doesn’t it? So, the same day we saw the recipe, and realizing that we had just enough raspberries left, we picked up a bottle of this beer so we could make jam.
Now, the only thing we changed about the recipe is the name. To us, Raspberry Framboise Jam is redundant, and we thought that Raspberry Lambic Jam would be a better name.
We think fresh raspberries are the way to go, but the original recipe says that frozen will work, too. If that’s all you can get, try it; what do you have to lose? Lambic beers are interesting. They’re traditional Belgian beers that are fermented from wild yeast, giving them a complex, sour, taste. In some sense, they seem to be the beer equivalent of sourdough bread, but we’ve never tried them before, partly because they’re expensive, and, partly because we weren’t sure if we’d like the taste (in this sentence, Shawn is using the Royal we, as Susan doesn’t drink beer); we can now confirm that they’re pretty good (We ended up using only about 11.5 ounces of the beer, can you guess what happened to the rest?).
Procedure in detail:
Macerate. Wash the raspberries and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the top, then pour most of the beer on top — might as well have a small sip — and give everything a stir. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Cook Jam. Okay, it’s the next day and this will take a while, so free up a bit of time, put the raspberry mixture into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. When it comes to a boil, it will foam up — a lot. So, stir to reduce the foam, and lower the heat to medium. Let the jam cook, stirring every so often to make sure that it doesn’t stick, until it coats a spoon. The original recipe suggested that this would take about 30 minutes, but, for us, it was more like 70 minutes. See why you need to clear a bit of time?
Pack and refrigerate. Once it’s cooked down, pour the jam into a clean jar, cover, and let cool. Then place in the refrigerator. Note that we didn’t do any canning, so this is not shelf-stable.
Just so you know, this is a tart jam with lots of raspberry flavor. It’s not at all like the raspberry jam you buy at the store, which just tastes sweet and vaguely like raspberries. We had some on our scones one morning and both thought that it was delicious, and somewhat surprised that it didn’t taste at all like beer. While the flavor is easily worth five stars, we know that many people won’t want to spend the time at the stove, so we’ll lower it to four stars on the worth-it scale.