So, after picking and hulling 15 quarts of strawberries and pitting 18 pounds of cherries over the last couple of weeks, I must have been craving a change from all that red and purple, because I bought this at the grocery store yesterday:
Jenny and I both love the “Pool Boy” martini they serve at a local establishment—-it’s mango purée with habanero-infused vodka, Cointreau, and lime and it’s delish. And I thought it might be good in jam-form. It is.
Here’s what I used:
3 mangos, finely chopped *
1 pineapple ring, 1″ thick, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp fruit pectin (powdered)
1/2 tsp salt
1 habanero pepper, seeded, sliced into 3 pieces **
And here’s what I did:
1. Combine the mango, pineapple, and OJ in a medium sauce pot and heat to a simmer over medium heat.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sugar, pectin, and salt.
3. As the fruit heats and softens, mash it a little with a potato masher to break up any larger pieces. Once everything is hot, whisk in the sugar mix and stir till the sugar dissolves.
4. Add the habanero slices. The idea is to steep the pepper in the mix until the jam reaches the desired level of spiciness. Stir or whisk the jam and taste frequently to see if it’s time to pull out the pepper slices. You can mash things with the potato masher to speed things up, but be at the ready, because it gets spicy quickly!
Edit: However, I found that the spiciness is muted once the jam cools, so adjust accordingly. A second habanero might even be called for, depending on your tastes.
Once it’s spicy enough, pull out the pepper slices with a tongs or spoon. You can totally still use these slices for other purposes (mango salsa!)
5. Keep cooking the jam till it thickens enough that it’ll set once off the heat. Dear Sis reminded me of the freezer gel test: pull something frozen out of the freezer and drop a little of the jam on it. As it cools, see if it gels. If it does, it’s ready and if it doesn’t, it needs to be cooked down further.
Pull the jam off the heat and let it cool a bit before jarring it. Let it cool further and store in the fridge or freezer.
I got about three and a half half-pints from this batch.
Isn’t it beautiful?
I’m thinking this will be awesome with grilled fish, pork chops, or chicken. Or with crackers and cream cheese. Or on top of vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Or shaken with ice and vodka and strained over a well-chilled martini glass….
* There are conflicting reports on the best way to peel and slice a mango, but here’s Alton Brown’s method
** You know about handling hot peppers, right? Be extremely careful not to get the oils on your hands or other surfaces you don’t want to burn now or later. Use gloves if you don’t trust yourself.