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Cookbook Corner: The Preservatory by Lee Murphy

The FBC The Preservatory cookbook review!

The Preservatory Cookbook Review | Food Bloggers of Canada**This post contains affiliate links. In plain English that means that when you click on the link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission.  It does not alter the price you pay but it helps us run this site and support the work that Canadian food bloggers do. **

The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking with Artisanal Preserves is written by Lee Murphy, proprietor of Vista D’Oro Farms & Winery and The Preservatory in BC’s Fraser Valley.

I first heard of Vista D’Oro Farms & Winery when Food Bloggers of Canada sent a call out to their members about a jam session afternoon at the farm. Since I couldn’t attend, I went to their online store and ordered two of their preserves: Seville Oranges with Vanilla and Campari and Fig with Walnut and Wine. After tasting these preserves, I knew I had to get this cookbook and have a jamming session of my own.

It’s a well organized hardcover cookbook with 80 seasonal recipes and 145 full colour, beautiful photos

Contents

The Fruit

This chapter explains how to select fruits for preserving and provides a list of what fruit grows on the Vista D’Or farm.

Tools, Equipment & The Basics of Preserving

This chapter has a comprehensive list of essential tools and lists the basics of preserving from the basic standard steps, safety, processing and storage. I learned that there are three methods of making preserves: Pre-Jam, Two-Cook, and Straight to It. So, far I’ve only used the Pre-Jam (overnight maceration in sugar and lemon juice) and the Straight to It methods.

Part I — Recipes for Seasonal Preserves

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter

Part II — Recipes with Seasonal Preserves

  • Brunch
  • Aperitivo
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Cheese, Charcuterie, Pickles & Cocktails

The Recipes

The 80 recipes are well-formatted and easy to follow. The 40 recipes for preserves in Part I also include three recipe suggestions from Part II, the perfect cheese pairing and other serving suggestions. The 40 recipes that use preserves in Part II include suggestions for three perfect preserves that can be mixed and matched. Whenever a preserve recipe is labelled as a “Preservatory Classic,” it can be purchased from the Preservatory online store.

Seasonal Preserve Recipes (Part I) Include:

  • Spring: Rhubarb with Ginger & Orange Zest, Strawberry with Pistachio & Vanilla
  • Summer: Plum with Vanilla & Star Anise, Heirloom Tomato & Chile, Crabapple with Orange & Aperol
  • Fall: Pear with Vanilla Bean, Beet with Oranges & Pink Peppercorn, Olive with Orange & Lemon
  • Winter: Banana with Passion Fruit & Rum, Persimmon with Cinnamon & Pecans, Seville Oranges with Cardamom & Brandy

Recipes that Use Preserves (Part II) Include:

  • Brunch: Toast Trio, Savory Dutch Baby, Mum’s Buttermilk Scones, Best Crepes Ever!
  • Aperitivo: Brandade Croquettes, Crostini with Grilled Polenta & Blue Cheese, Olive & Caramelized Onion Tart
  • Dinner: Grilled Flank Steak Salad, Grilled Wild Salmon, Delicious Pork Tenderloin, Pizzams
  • Dessert: Glazed Almond & Polenta Cake, Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Eton Mess, Ricotta & Jam Crostata

Cheese, Charcuterie, Pickles & Cocktails

  • Crispy Cheese Discs, Walnut & Blue Cheese Crackers, Peppery Pickled Shallots, The Preservatory Sangria

This chapter also includes a Cheese and Preserve Guide as well as a guide to creating the perfect charcuterie board.

Resources & Gifting

  • Resources include where to purchase copper jam pots, jars and hard-to-find ingredients, Stock-up Party & Hostess Gifts

Tested Recipes

The Preservatory Cookbook Review | Food Bloggers of Canada

Spring Preserves — Strawberry with Pistachio & Vanilla (Page 32)

This year, Quebec did not produce the best strawberries. Perhaps it was due to the constant rainfall, but since I wanted to use local strawberries I bought them anyway with the hope that they’d taste better when they were transformed into preserves.

This recipe uses the Pre-Jam method. The strawberries, along with the vanilla and lemon juice, are macerated overnight. Then they’re strained and the juice is boiled in a jam pot to set at 220°F, and the strawberries are added and boiled until set at the same temperature. I used the cold plate test to make sure the jam has set properly. The pistachios are added at the end before the canning procedure.

Two of the lids of the 10 jam jars did not pop, so I used those for tasting. The lemon and vanilla did not overpower the taste of the strawberries and the pistachios added texture. This has become my new favourite strawberry preserve. I use it as a spread on toast, a topping on ice cream and stir it into yogourt. I’ve bookmarked the Eton Mess recipe on page 205 to make as dessert for our next family dinner.

Strawberry with Pistachio & Vanilla
 
I am so happy to have written this cookbook, and this recipe might be the main reason. This combination has been percolating for a while — since, I think, a trip to a patisserie in Paris — and from the first test batch it’s been love at first taste. There was actually a “YUM” written on the test recipe (not sure who wrote it, but I fully concur).
Author:
Recipe type: Preserves
Serves: ten to twelve 8-oz/250-ml jars
Ingredients
  • 5 lb hulled, quartered strawberries*
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 lb (8 cups) sugar
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, toasted at 350°F for 5 to 7 minutes, and chopped
Recommended Reading:  Grow Your Own Food: Know Your Canadian Gardening Zone
* You will need about 5¼ lb of whole fruit.
Instructions
  1. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the dull side of a paring knife. Stir vanilla seeds into lemon juice and whisk to separate seeds.
  2. Stir berries together with sugar and vanilla-lemon juice. Macerate overnight in the fridge.
  3. The next day, strain accumulated juices into a jam pot. Reserve berries. Boil juice to set at 220°F. Add berries and bring back to a boil, skimming often. Cook to set, again to 220°F; check set on a cold plate (see page 16).
  4. Add pistachios and bring back to one last boil.
  5. Let sit 5 minutes, then ladle into hot sterilized jars, wipe rims, place sterilized lids on jars and process 15 to 20 minutes.
Notes
Great with the following recipes: Eton Mess, 205 | Bruléed Steel-Cut Oatmeal, 119 | Brie & Preserve–Stuffed French Toast, 120

Perfect cheese pairing: Saint-André

Other serving suggestions: Off a big spoon! | On ice cream

Fall Preserves — Spicy Sweet Charred Onion & Figs (Page 86)

I was relieved to read that this preserve uses dried figs as fresh figs are usually imported to Quebec from Greece and Turkey only in mid-August until the beginning of October.

I find the longest part of making this preserve is slicing the 5 pounds of sweet onions. I used the food processor to chop the 2 ½ pounds of figs and then realized I could have also used it to slice the onions. Once the onions are charred in the oven, the rest of the process comes together quickly. I couldn’t find any Szechuan peppercorns at the supermarket, so after some research, I used a combination of cardamom pods and black peppercorns. The heat of the black pepper offsets the sweetness of the onions and figs, which results in an incredible flavour.

I served it alongside crostini topped with prosciutto and shaved Parmiggiano Regiano as appetizers — they disappeared in no time. Everyone loved the Spicy Sweet Charred Onions & Figs preserves and I parted with some jars that night. This preserve also pairs well with St. Augur cheese, on a charcuterie board and in a burger.

I also made the Olive & Caramelized Onion Tart (Page 160), one of the recipes that feature this preserve. It was easy to make using a sheet of puff pastry as the base. It’s supposed to be served as an appetizer, but it tasted so good that my husband and I ate the whole tart and skipped dinner.

I cried many tears while making The Spicy Sweet Charred Onion & Fig preserves, but it was worth it!

Bookshelf Worthy?

I really enjoyed making the recipes from The Preservatory. It’s well organized, the recipes are well written and easy to follow, and it’s suited for every skill level. It made me realize that the taste of strawberries or any other fruit can be enhanced just by adding a few ingredients.

While I was typing about the Spicy Sweet Onion & Fig preserves, I actually stopped, got up and went to the kitchen to have preserves with whatever I found in the fridge — cheddar cheese and naan bread. So yes, it’s absolutely bookshelf-worthy for me.

The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking with Artisanal Preserves
Author: Lee Murphy, Proprietor of Vista D’Oro Farms & Winery
Hardcover: 261 pages
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
ISBN: 978-0-14-753005-9

Acknowledgement:

Excerpted from The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking with Artisanal Preserves. Copyright 2017 Lee Murphy. Photographs by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


The Preservatory cookbook review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and believes that every recipe tells a story that must be shared to nourish your soul and feed your belly. You connect with Liliana on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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