One ingredient wonder jam when "less is more"
It is so easy to overdo something, when simplicity is always better than elaborate embellishment. This principal couldn´t be better applied than to this next recipe, something that is deliriously delicious and a playful new take on something Middle Eastern. Honestly, god forbid I´m starting to sound like Nigella.
Jam is a thick sweet condiment that is usually made by cooking fruit with a large amount of sugar, and sometimes the addition of some sort of pectin. We then usually spread it on bread or toast, or use it as a filling in a variety of types of confectionary. Jam remains one of the unsolved mysteries of culinary etymology. No conclusive evidence has been found for the origin of the word. The most likely explanation I can think of came to me while actually making some. It is a descriptive way of explaining the process of crushing or "jamming" fruit together, to form a paste like substance.
Good cooks have used dates to sweeten food since ancient times, and with today’s search for sugar alternatives, date "paste" is coming back into style. Luckily for us, we have an advantage over the ancients, who had to pound their dates with a mortar and pestle. We have food processors. According to EU Standard, jam and jam products must at least have 45% of the named fruit and 66% of water-soluble solids. In addition, it may contain added pectin, pectinous preparation, or acid ingredient. Usually a jam contains as much sugar as it contains fruit. The two parts are then cooked together to form a semi solid substance that should, if made correctly, have a slight wobble to it.Correct me if I am wrong.
This European Union, directive (Council Directive 79/693/EEC, 24 July 1979) sets minimum standards for the amount of "fruit" in jam, but the definition of fruit was expanded. This was done to take several unusual kinds of jam made in the EU into account. For this purpose, fruit is considered to include fruits that are not usually treated as such, tomatoes and other fruits that are not normally made into jams. Vegetables that are sometimes made into jams, such as rhubarb (the edible part of the stalks), carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins are now included. So what I have made ( may I call it a paste ) falls more than safely into those parameters but at the same time has no added sugar content.
It’s easy and convenient to make your own date paste at home, with like me having the added advantage of knowing exactly what went into it. No added sugar, no pectin, no preservatives. Just sweet dates, with all their lush flavours of caramel and vanilla. All it takes is soaking the dates until they’re soft, pitting them, then letting the food processor produce a thick, creamy and divinely sweet paste that you can use in many applications, be a slathering for toast or a divinely decadent topping for a serving of vanilla ice cream. Dates were basically born to be made into a sticky, just- the-right-amount-of-sweet jam that goes well with any- thing you’re serving in the morning.
Choose dark, moist, plump dates that are seasonal in most shops in the run up to Christmas. The Medjool variety is the best-known for its flavour and texture, but try others if no Medjool are available. If you want to play with your date paste, it takes seconds to add a little vanilla extract or cinnamon, or throw in a couple of dried figs or prunes into the mix. Just soak any added dried fruit along with the dates, but be sure to
remove the pits first.
One-Ingredient Date Jam
This isn’t overly sweet, namely because it uses plump dates instead of a ton of sugar.
Their honey- caramel, jammy, candy flavour brings out the natural sweetness
There really isn´t much of a recipe here.The process goes something like this: Combine Medjool dates (any amount you want) with water. Simmer for a few minutes until they start to break down. Blitz in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot and cook for a little longer until jammy. Store in the fridge.They’re so naturally sweet and rich, it would be criminal to add any other sugars.