Blackberry Basil Jam

Blackberry Jam 3

When Kroger has blackberries on super cheap sale, you buy all of them and figure out what to do later. Here’s what I did …

Blackberry Jam 6

I am mildly obsessed with combining fruit and herbs, so when I decided to make jam I naturally had to think about what herb would go well with it.

Blackberry Jam 4

I was torn between basil and thyme, and don’t think I could have gone wrong either way, but basil turned out to be just perfect.

Blackberry Jam 5

Toast with salted peanut butter and blackberry-basil jam. :::drool:::

I found a good Giada recipe, but cut the sugar down because I enjoy the tartness of blackberries. This jam is perfect with peanut butter, on a cheese platter, with a spoon or on crackers, a la Joey Tribbiani style (:45).

Blackberry Basil Jam 

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 oz. cartons of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 oz. basil leaves (or as much or as little as you like)
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Preparation:

Place fresh blackberries in a medium saucepan and turn to medium heat. As the blackberries warm and soften, mash them lightly (and carefully) with a fork. In a food processor, combine the basil, sugar, orange and lemon juices. Blend until smooth. Stir the mixture into the blackberries and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve on bread, with cheeses, on top of peanut butter, layered in desserts … the opportunities are endless.

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Orange, Olive Oil and Chocolate Cake

Last week I was on vacation in Naples, Florida.

Sun, sand, copious amounts of seafood, and lots of cooking.

Every year we buy or make a key lime pie and have it for dessert at least twice during the week. Not being a huge fan of key lime pie myself (gasp!), I wanted to do something different this year. A dessert with a primary ingredient of sweetened condensed milk just doesn’t impress me. Go ahead, you can call me a snob.

I wanted to make something this year that really celebrated one of Florida’s greatest assets – the orange. So I did some research and found an incredible Olive Oil Orange cake recipe. The blogger I borrowed it from had just returned from a trip to Naples, Italy, and was inspired by the citrus fruit there as well. This cake uses an entire orange, rind and all, so it seemed a perfect match for my intentions.  I also really love olive oil in desserts. In fact, I started swapping out butter for olive oil in many of my cookies and cakes long before I realized other people were doing it too!

This recipe is really quite simple, just a bit time consuming in the beginning, but absolutely worth the extra effort. I halved the cake recipe, as there were only 5 of us and we were leaving very soon, so the recipe below will actually make a cake twice the size of mine. I did not, however, halve the frosting recipe. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time …

Totally beautiful and delicious dessert. Please let me know how you like it when (not if) you make it. 🙂

I realize the picture quality isn’t the best, but still, how good does that ganache look cascading down the sides of the orange cake?

Orange-Olive Oil and Chocolate Cake, with flaked salt
Makes one 8 x 3-inch round cake
Recipe courtesy of Desserts for Breakfast

For cake:

  • 2 medium-sized oranges
  • 2 1/3 cups (467 gr) sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (350 gr) flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 tspn orange blossom water
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbspn extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbspn fresh orange juice

For frosting:

  • 5 oz (142 gr) unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 Tbspn butter
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbspn (215 gr) sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • flaked finishing salt
  1. Make the cake. In a pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Trim 1/2-inch from the tops and bottoms of each orange. Once the water is at a boil, submerge the oranges and cook briefly, about 1 minute. Drain the oranges, discard the water, and repeat the boiling, cooking, and draining two more times.
  3. Combine the blanched oranges, 1 cup (200 gr) sugar, and 4 cups water over medium heat. Cook for about 30 minutes while stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves and the orange rinds are fork-tender. Let cool until room temperature.
  4. Drain the oranges and remove the seeds. Reserving the cooking liquid for glaze.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 8 x 3-inch cake pan and set aside.
  6. In a bowl, mix to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. In a food processor, blend the cooked oranges (including rind) until a chunky puree.
  8. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, 1 tspn orange blossom water, and flour mixture. Process for 2 minutes until well-incorporated.
  9. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil and process until incorporated.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  11. Meanwhile, mix to combine 2 Tbspn of cooking liquid, 1 tspn orange blossom water, and orange juice.  Remove the cake from the pan. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork and brush the liquid on the cake.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Make the frosting. Chop the chocolate and butter and set aside.
  13. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Do not let the saucepan overflow.
  14. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter until melted.
  15. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let the frosting cool completely, whisking occasionally during cooling. Once completely cool at room temperature, the frosting will be spreadable.
  16. Sprinkle the frosted cake with finishing salt.