Monday, September 1, 2008

Strawberry Long Pepper

I managed to get some Ontario strawberries before they went out of season  the other week and although strawberry jam doesn't come to mind when i think about cheese accompaniments, the addition of long pepper gives it a interesting contrast of flavor and complexity. Long pepper is a close relative of black pepper and is cultivated in and around india and indonesia. It is similar in flavor only a little hotter and very floral. Inspired by a sorbet we once did in a restaurant, i decided to try my hand in a simple strawberry jam. I decided to add some cracked black peppercorn as the base with a last minute spike of long pepper. This jam was a three day process to preserve the integrity of the strawberries shape. I started by cleaning the strawberries then taking the weight. i tossed them in the sugar and lemon juice and allowed them to macerate overnight. i then brought them up to a boil, turned off the heat and let them sit in the fridge overnight. The next day i strained the solids and began reducing the liquid. i added the coarse cracked peppercorns at this point to infuse there flavor into the syrup. Be careful not to add to much too early. I added the peppercorn more for a base flavor 
but more so for its visual appearance. Once the syrup was where i wanted it i added the strawberries and the apple pectin and brought it to a simmer for 5 minutes to activate the pectin. I then put the batch, which was a large one, into a 
bus bin and cooled it down a bit before adding the rasped long pepper. In the end i think i cou
ld have upped the long pepper a bit after trying it on a piece of toast and i guess its all depends on personal taste.  

Strawberry Long Pepper Jam
9000g Ontario or local strawberries
4000g sugar
9g coarse cracked black peppercorn
17g apple pectin powder
1 tbsp ground long pepper
juice of 8 lemons. 

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