sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
[personal profile] sarahbyrdd
Don't you hate it when instructions for something you're trying for the first time are loosey goosey?

I came across mention of "fruit cheese" on this blog. http://www.vivienlloyd.com/fruit-butters-cheeses-plum-butter-recipe/1663/ But of course the recipe they give is for plum butter.  Nevertheless, a fruit 'cheese' is fruit pulp and sugar cooked long enough that the cooled product will be a sliceable paste rather than a spreadable jam, like membrillo which is a quince paste.  If jam (without added pectin) is cooked to around 220 degrees, what temperature should I reach to take it to the sliceable level?

I checked other blogs for ideas and got no love:
http://larderlove.com/plum-cheese-lime/
http://www.theotium.com/?p=811
http://www.punkdomestics.com/category/tags/fruit-cheese

A few years ago I acidentally hit fruit cheese when trying to make an apple jelly.  I remember that my thermometer wasn't quite getting to 220 for the longest time, and then it did and I think shot beyond.  All of this is to say that I took today's project to 225, which seemed safe when it occurred to me to check candy making temperatures, and soft ball is 234.



So, 3 pints of plums, cooked with 1 cup of water until mushy.  Press through a sieve or food mill, fishing out the pits and weigh the resulting liquid.  Add an equal weight of sugar plus any other seasonings (I added about a 1/2 tsp. of allspice) and cook down over low heat, stirring often.



I keep a few saucers in the freezer as test plates.  Jam needs to not leak around the edges.  For fruit cheese/paste one of the recipes I looked at said that the paste should keep a trace when a spatula is drawn through.  Right around there we hit 225.  I dished it out into greased ramikins and molds.  As I was getting to the bottom of the pot I noticed a little threading starting.





Proof will be in the (plum) pudding.  I've got a test saucer with the very bottom of the pot scrapings which should set up faster than the thicker molds.   Fruit cheese is meant to be a cold pantry item, so keep in the fridge or other cold place.  I've also read that the flavor improves with aging.  Besides eating slices with cheese, you can melt slices into sauces and stews.  This one would flavor sauce for a duck, chicken or pork nicely.

Edit: I unmolded one at Baronial Champions and it held it's shape and was super tasty. 

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