Sunday, June 21, 2009

How to make Olallieberry Jam, and the Magic of Puff Pastry (Peach Turnovers)

I have a confession to make. I have never worked with puff pastry and I have never made homemade jam. I have another confession to make-- I tend to over think things, over research things and still I let my fear of failure paralyze me. It's that perfectionist in me that I struggle against. That's my excuse for waiting all these years to work with puff pastry and to make jam.

Whew! I feel much better, now. For weeks, I've been seeing all kinds blogs, displaying a variety of delicious looking puff pastry concoctions. I finally decided to take out the box of Trader Joe's puff pastry that I had in my freezer for weeks... maybe months!

I had a bowl of peaches that was going to become peach preserves-- like about ten of them (on sale for less than $1.00 a pound). By Friday, I noticed I was down to four peaches. My husband spotted them, and figured they were fair game. So much for making preserves... so I figured now was the time to make peach turnovers.

After researching recipes (see what I mean?) I cut a small "x" at the bottom of each peach and blanched them for about 3 minutes (the peaches were just turning ripe).

Then, into an ice bath for a few minutes. The skins slipped right off!After slicing them, I put them into a container for Sunday morning.

This morning, I removed the puff pastry and read the instructions for the umpteenth time. I preheated the oven to 400F.

The peaches got about 1/4 cup of sugar, some lemon juice and a scant 1/4 cup of tapioca.

Once I cut the turnovers into 8 squares, it was time to fill them. Hmmmm, I barely used the peaches!I did an egg wash and sprinkled some raw turbinado sugar and placed them on parchment paper. Not fancy, but it's my first time...

15 minutes later, these were ready.

Wow! So easy and so delicious-- and a lot less expensive than the ones my son buys for $1.75 each. The rest of the peach filling will probably become cobbler or pie-- tomorrow. I had another project on my mind. So, today, I conquered my fear of puff pastry. Silly me-- it's as easy as 1-2-3. I can already imagine the possibilities-- savory meals and strudels. Yummy!

Saturday night, I bought 1/2 flat of fresh olallieberries from my neighborhood farm stand "The Farm". $10.00 made it a sweet deal, so I unpacked my canning kit I ordered from For $50.00 and some shipping, it had everything I needed to learn how to can-- pot, jar, lids, and all the doo-dads and instructions. I read this a half dozen times, I tell you. I was ready!

I'm not going to post the recipe, because I haven't tasted the jam at the cooled stage. What I will tell you is that I'm shocked at how much sugar goes into jam! Wow!

I did the plate test (per the book) and I think that the berries reached the gel stage I wanted.

I boiled those babies and, as I write, I can hear the "pop" of each jar. Yes!!
As for homemade jam... it might not be cheaper than store bought. In fact, I think by the time I burned up fossil fuel with my gas stove, and my investment, I am breaking even. The point is, I know I made this myself. Plus, I am getting ready to learn how to can my own tomatoes, which are looking mighty promising-- if the sunshine will stick around. It finally came out today.

Last, but not least-- Happy Father's Day! My husband is step dad to my son, but he deserves recognition for how patient and good-hearted he is to my 20 year old boy.

I have a fantastic special dinner planned for these babies! Aren't these rib eyes gorgeous? You bet...and so is the menu I'm making that I watched by recording this Food Network Chef:

Stay tuned... it's going to be "fantastic". I know it!

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.  If you can't see it (just keep scrolling down), click here to view it on Key Ingredient. 

Puff Pastry on Foodista

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finsmom said...

MMMM I love puff pastry! And that jam looks delectable :)

Cheryl said...

That is sweet, I am often the same way, paralyzed for the same reasons. I make Jam every year, but for some reason this year I am not inspired.

Frieda said...

Congratulations on overcoming puff pastry AND for canning!! I agree, it may not be cheaper than buying the store bought jam/jellies, but YOU know what goes in them and have learned a valuable skill!

Culinary Wannabe said...

Good for you! I am so afraid to do canning at home - it's inspiring to hear that you had a good experience. I'm just afraid that I won't get the jar sterile enough and someone will get sick (worst nightmare for a cook!). I did hear that Ina just runs her jars in an empty dishwasher to sterilize them, which seems simple (maybe too simple...). But both the turnovers and jam look wonderful! Bravo!

Simple Simon said...

Congratulations on tackling your fears. There is nothing more satisying then homemade jam made with your own hands. You're right though, I doubt very much it's cheaper than store bought unless you grow your own fruit. Your pastries look divine too!

Monica H said...

I've worked with puff pastry before, but i've never made turnovers- they look incredibly flaky and delicious!

I've never made jam either. I bought all the stuff to do it last summer, but I ended up eating all the strawberries :-) I guess it's cheaper is you grow the fruit and have a surplus of it and you recycle jars...

Kate said...

It must be the German in us...I tend to over-think things, also. For me, anything that has the word "yeast" means it goes on the list that is at least five years in length...

Good for you in overcoming the phobia!! :-)