I have been on a huge DIY kick lately. I’m not sure what’s come over me, but I am embracing my creativeness and reaping the tasty benefits of my work. Within the last two weeks, I’ve made ricotta cheese, sour cream, creme fraiche, and tried a new method for making thicker Greek yogurt. All of those projects were a complete and delicious victory!
My task for this weekend (aside from finishing my indoor herb garden) is going to be making mascarpone cheese. According to the directions, using unpasteurized cream is a necessary component for achieving cheese success. The stores here in Austin don’t sell such a product, but luckily I found a local dairy close to the ranch that sells unpasteurized milk and cream. And my timing was perfect because according to the owner, the cows are going on vacation and there won’t be any milk available again until late September / early October.
Ok, they aren’t really going on vacation, the actual term used was “hiatus”.
I wonder what cows do on their time off?
Mixed Berry Jam – adapted from food52
Combine 8 cups of mixed berries and 1 cup of sugar in a big bowl. If the fruit is tart, you may want to add more sugar. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and stir well, dissolving the sugar in the process. Cover the bowl and let the flavors develop for at least two hours on the counter, or put the bowl in the refrigerator for a day or even two days before proceeding.
Place a colander over a large pot (at least 5 quarts, non-reactive, and heavy bottomed like Le Creuset) and pour in the fruit mixture, so the syrup goes into the pot and separates from the fruit. Let it drip for a few minutes, then place the colander in a bowl to catch any additional syrup. Put the pot on the cooktop, clip on a candy thermometer, turn the heat to high and bring the syrup to 220° F, the soft gel stage. Once the syrup has reached temperature (220° F), add the berries back from the colander (and any accumulated syrup). Keep the heat high and do not stop stirring.
Stir until the fruit is no longer floating and there is only a little bit of foam on the surface. Remove the pot from the heat, and let cool for two minutes. With a spatula or wooden spoon, gently press against the surface of the preserves: It should wrinkle slightly. (If it doesn’t, place the pot back on the heat and test again after two or three minutes at a hard boil.)
Off the heat, add a generous tablespoon of liqueur —I used Cointreau. Ladle the preserves into four or five half-pint (8-ounce) jars. Store in the refrigerator or process in a hot water bath for longer storage.