Friday, March 21, 2014

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Jam and Chocolate Muffins

I've long been a fan of roasting vegetables.  Roasting vegetables at high heat creates beautiful caramelized edges and sweetens and concentrates the flavors.  There's nothing quite as yummy as carrots and potatoes roasted with a little olive oil or duck fat, or a sweet potato wrapped in foil and roasted until impossibly soft and sweet inside.

But berries and fruit can be roasted too, and this may be my new favorite method for making quick jam that can be enjoyed that very morning with freshly baked muffins or bread.

What I like about this method is that it doesn't involve any hands-on cooking, which would be ideal on a hot spring or summer day when you don't want to stand over a boiling pot of jam on the stove, stirring endlessly while trying to avoid splatter burns on your arms and brushing sweat off your forehead.

And since the roasting process sweetens the fruit even more, I added very little sugar.  If you've made jam before, the traditional way, you'll be surprised at how easy this recipe is.  I placed the strawberries, still frozen, in a baking dish and sprinkled them with a small amount of flour to thicken the juices, a couple tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for a little sweet acidity, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.  After tossing it all together to coat, I set it in the oven to work its magic.

Twenty minutes later, the fruit was soft, the juices thick, and the house was filled with the sweet scent of strawberries.  I scraped it into a bowl to let it cool down in the refrigerator for a few minutes.  And although it will thicken some as it cools, it will not gel as thickly as what you would be accustomed to from a stove-cooked, pectin-thickened jam.

While the strawberries were roasting, I made a batch of these chocolate muffins.  I just love strawberries with chocolate.  I'm so looking forward to peach season so I can roast some peaches for jam this way.  It's just so hard to wait for summer to come...

One Year Ago:   Cookies 'n' Cream Icebox Cheesecake
Two Years AgoEgg, Onion and Prosciutto Bread Bowls

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Jam

  • 1 pound frozen strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425.  Place the strawberries in a baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle over the strawberries.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and toss until evenly coated.

Roast for 20 minutes, until the juices are bubbling.  Scrape into a bowl and let cool and thicken slightly before serving with hot muffins.

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen