May 2, 2012

Simberry Jam from The Way of Kings

     "According to Palates of Personality -- and before you object, yes, it is a real book, and that is its title -- a fondness for simberries indicates a spontaneous, impulsive personality.  And also a preference for -- "  He cut off as a wadded-up piece of paper bounced off his forehead.  He blinked.
     "Sorry," Shallan said.  "It just kind of happened.  Must be all that impulsiveness and spontaneity I have."
 --The Way of Kings, Chapter 33, by Brandon Sanderson

First, a reminder!  I'm giving away a copy of Vodnik, by Bryce Moore.  Brandon Sanderson gave the cover quote for this book, so if you enjoyed The Way of Kings, go enter!

And, as promised, here's another recipe from The Way of Kings.  Further on in the chapter, it's noted that simberry jam also supposedly indicates a love of the outdoors.  The beloved red simberry, of course, isn't found on Earth.  But all this talk of jam made me think of how it would taste.  Different than anything we have.  Sweet, of course.  Luscious.  Reminiscent of being outside.  Here's what I came up with.

Simberry Jam

1/3 cup cranberry juice
1 lime
1 teaspoon dried hibiscus flowers
5 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
1 stick of butter

Add the cranberry juice, the zest and juice of the lime, and the hibiscus flowers to a tall, microwave-safe container.  Microwave on high for one minute, or until the mixture begins to steam.  Let it steep for half an hour.  Here, we're just trying to get that lovely floral, outdoor flavor from the flowers.  If you want to toss this in the fridge for a day, feel free.  I found hibiscus flowers in the bulk section of a health food store.

Put an inch of water in the bottom of a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Find another pot or stainless-steel bowl that fits inside this pot without touching the water.  Yup.  Double-boiler time.

Strain the cranberry mixture into the aforementioned pot or bowl.  Whisk it with the egg yolks and 3/4 cups of sugar.  This makes a pretty sweet jam, so if you're more partial to tart, reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup.

Put the pot/bowl over the simmering water.  Whisk constantly for about eight minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  If you're not familiar with this method, we've trying to very, very slowly cook the egg yolks so we end up with a custard instead of sweet scrambled eggs.  Yes, this "jam" has a custard base, a lot like you'd use to make lemon curd.  It gave me the lovely jam mouth-feel I was hoping for.  The "coats the back of a spoon" thing is a doneness test.  Here's a great explanation.

Remove the mixture from heat.  Dice the butter, adding one piece at a time and whisk until melted.  You may need to periodically return the mixture to the double-boiler situation to melt this.

Place the mixture in a container.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours.  After it's cooled, it will set up into a nice, jam-like spreadable substance.  There's a nice floral aftertaste and it's red, sweet, and luscious without tasting like anything we have here.  Enjoy!

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