Tag Archives | Luisa Weiss

My Berlin Kitchen in Paperback + Oven Roasted Apricot Butter

oven roasted apricots

Right around this time last year, My Berlin Kitchen, Luisa Weiss’s beautiful memoir, was published. I got a copy when it first came out and read the whole thing in less than a day. As soon as I had a few moments, I used her recipe for spiced plum butter and made some of the most luscious, silky plum preserves.

It was such a nice style of preserve-making that I used it again a few weeks back on apricots instead of plums (without really meaning to, I’ve canned my way through nearly 50 pounds of apricots this year). I quartered them, combined them with a little honey and a few spices, and roasted them until they slumped and were slightly caramelized around the edges. Once they were entirely soft, I used an immersion blender to puree them and then canned up the resulting apricot goodness in half pint jars.

My Berlin Kitchen paperback

I hesitated to write about this apricot and honey butter because their season is mostly over for the year. However, I thought it couldn’t hurt to plant a seed now, for next year when the apricots return again. I also thought it was good timing to share this adaptation of Luisa’s technique because her glorious book came out in paperback last week. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it (I also recommend her plum butter. And the season’s not yet over for Italian plum prunes!).

And here are the specifics for my apricot approach. I used four pounds of pitted and quarters plums and 1 pound of honey. For one batch, I used 1 cinnamon stick and 2 cloves like Luisa suggests for her plums (it was delicious). For the second batch, I tied a heaping tablespoon of dried lavender buds up in a length of cheesecloth and let them sit with the fruit and honey overnight. The next day, I fished it out and roasted the fruit just as the plum recipe describes. This one may be my very favorite preserve of the year.

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My Berlin Kitchen Giveaway + Spiced Plum Butter

My Berlin Kitchen

I first discovered The Wednesday Chef sometime in early 2006. I had become an avid reader of blogs about a year before (they were a great way to keep my mind off my terrible day job) and was always on the hunt for new sites to add to my list of bookmarks. Luisa’s voice and perspective on food resonated with me immediately. I spent a morning engrossed in her archives and once caught up, tried never to miss a new post.

My Berlin Kitchen spine

In fact, it’s fairly safe to say that I’ve read nearly everything that Luisa Weiss has ever posted to the internet (I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a stalker. I swear, I’m just a fan). And, when an advanced copy of My Berlin Kitchen arrived just before the mini-vacation that Scott and I took few weeks back, I tucked it into my travel bag and proceeded to read it in a single, giant gulp.

dog ears

As I read, I dog-eared recipes I wanted to remember. I marked the Pizza Siciliana and the Poppy Seed Whirligig Buns. I’m hoping to make the Yeasted Plum Cake before their season is entirely gone and, come Christmas, I’m definitely planning on making the Fruit Bread on page 161. It sounds dense and divine.

Pflaumenmus

As I read, there was one recipe that jumped out at me more insistently than the rest and cried out to be made immediately. The Pflaumenmus or Spiced Plum Butter on page 237 had my name written all over it (particularly since I had the necessary four pounds of Italian prune plums at home, thanks to the Washington State Fruit Commission and their Canbassador program).

Italian prune plums

Of course, I’ve made plum butters before, but never with this particular technique. Luisa has you quarter the plums, stir them together with a bit of sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a couple cloves and let them sit overnight. The next day, once they’re nice and juicy, you pop the pan into the oven and bake them them at moderate heat.

After their time in the heat, the plums are incredibly tender and fragrant. The liquid has thickened a great deal and the slumping fruit just smells incredible.

post roasting

Once pureed, she has you funnel the prepared butter into sterilized jars and use the inversion method to seal. This is the only place where I diverged from the recipe as written and I chose to run my jars through a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Because this is a relatively low sugar preserve, I wanted to ensure that all bacteria was killed and the best way to do that is with a hot water bath.

Now, just a note about the yield. The recipe says that it makes four to five jars, but doesn’t specify the sizes of those jars. I found that after pureeing, I had exactly enough butter to fill three pint jars. I imagine the jars Luisa used were a bit smaller than a standard pint and so figure my yield was just about right (I did the math and found that had I used the 1/5 L Weck jars, I’d have filled exactly five jars).

finished butter

I plan on applying this same overnight maceration and oven roasting to other fruits, because it made for such a nice finished product and filled my apartment with the most delicious smells.

Thanks to the nice folks at Viking, in addition to getting to share the plum butter recipe with you (it’s after the jump), I also have a copy of My Berlin Kitchen to give away. If you’d like a chance to win it, here’s what to do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite food memory.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, September 21, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Viking sent me an advanced copy of My Berlin Kitchen and are providing the copy for this giveaway. However, I’ve not been paid to host this giveaway and my opinions are entirely my own.

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