Make Jam in the Oven: A perfect introduction for Summer meeting Autumn.

By Jillian Bernardini - Sep 06, 2013 - 01:12 PM
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The first of many 50 degree nights have arrived in Boston this week!  How many of you are freaking out that summer went by too fast, I didn't grill enough, I hardly ate any corn on the cob, and I only made four summer fruit pies!?  Too soon!  Too soon!  Well, I have a mini-solution for you, courtesy of the masterminds at Food52. 

I know I am the last one to get on the bandwagon regarding preservation and canning, but I never thought to try making jam, mostly unattended, in the oven!  Almost like a braise, uncovered, low and slow, allows the fruit to gently caramelize and gel into a rustic jam-like consistency.  It is the perfect way for us to ease ourselves into fall, but with the sweet flavors of summer. 

And what better fruit to try it with then......tomatoes!  Yes, tomatoes.  A satisfying combination of sweet and savory, Amanda Hesser uses dried chiles, fennel seed, and cinnamon for her roasted tomato jam.  Not having these ingredients on hand, I chose to swap in a little mustard powder for some tang, red pepper flakes, and a blend of whole cinnamon and allspice.  

This is the perfect way to savor summer tomatoes into the fall days of chilly weather that are upon us.  I love the balance of the baking spices with a little kick from the chili flakes, and it really isn't all that sweet!  The sugar is there to enhance the tomatoes and help with the jam-like consistency, but the other flavoring ingredients give this an amazing amount of complex flavor.  

If a random night this weekend finds you to be a bit lonely, a bit ho-hum about your usual cooking projects, then pop open a spicy red wine and get those tomatoes jammin'.  Sipping some wine, roasting some tomatoes, and perusing through the pages and pages of unique recipes on Food52, sounds like the best way to segway into fall.  Cheers!

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Jam

4Xlarge tomatoes, or about 1 1/2 pounds, cored and thinly sliced
1CUPgranulated sugar
1Xlemon, zested and juiced
1Xcinnamon stick
1TSPNwhole allspice
1TSPNmustard powder
2TSPNSred pepper flakes
  1. In a medium size baking dish or non-stick oven safe pot, sprinkle in 1/3 of the sugar to cover the bottom.  
  2. Working in a concentric circle, place the tomato slices, slightly overlapping one another, until there are half of the slices in the pot covering the entire bottom. Cover the tomato slices with another 1/3 of the sugar.
  3. Top the sugar covered tomato slices with the remaining ingredients: salt, lemon zest and lemon juice, cinnamon stick, allspice, mustard powder, and the red pepper flakes. 
  4. Cover with the remaining tomato slices, working in circles until all the tomatoes are in the baking dish. 
  5. Set tomato slices aside for about 30 minutes, so that the sugar is slightly absorbed and the tomatoes begin to break down. 
  6. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Place the baking dish uncovered on the middle rack, and cook for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes using the back of a spoon, press down on the tomato slices to moisten the tops, while preventing them from burning, and evenly redistribute the natural juices. 
  7. Once the juices have thickened, remove the baking dish from the oven, and set aside to cool. Spoon into jars or any airtight container, and store in the fridge for about two weeks.