Last night was speed Hanukkah, a kooky holiday tradition that has been in my mister’s life for a good 13 years that sees a fun group of ne’er-do-wells gather to celebrate all eight nights of the Jewish festival of light in a single evening and eat a lot of delicious, fried, greasy foods.
As part of this tradition, Rob typically puts together a batch of sufganiyot – luscious, fluffy and crispy little doughnut balls filled with fruit jelly that were ostensibly offered up by G-d to Adam and Eve as a consolation prize for being kicked out of the Garden of Eden – which he had thoughtfully done the day before so all we had to worry about was our fashion crises and getting to the event. Here is the recipe he uses.
Unfortunately, neither of us thought of the jelly part. “We can just hit the convenience store on the way there,” Rob posited. “Ummm…I was hoping to take a cab cos I don’t want to get all winter sweaty and have to sit in my own stank in a hot apartment all evening, but I do have a bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge and we have some clementines, so we can make a jam-stuff, if you like.”
“You can’t just *make* jam-stuff, Melanie!”
And then we got to making jam-stuff. And that jam-stuff was quite good – tart and lightly-spiced, with a warming kick from the rum and reckoned to be lovely not just as a filling for sufganiyot, but also as a cheese board accoutrement and a turkey topper – as such, you get a recipe!
This recipe makes about a cup and a half of the jam-stuff.
What you need:
- 1 340g bag of fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup of clementine juice (this takes about 6 clementines)
- The zest from all of the clementines used (about 3 tbsp)
- 1 cup of granulated, white sugar
- 1 whole star anise
- 1″ chunk of ginger, smashed (we use a meat pounder for that)
- 1.5-2 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 ounces of spiced rum
What you do:
- Toss the cranberries, juice, zest, sugar, anise and ginger into a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the cranberries are very soft and start disintegrating, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle 1.5 tbsp of corn starch into the hot berry mixture and stir until completely combined. Cook until the berry mixture becomes quite thick, about 10 minutes more. If it is not as thick as desired, add another 1/2 tsp of the corn starch and cook some more. Remember that, once added, the extract and booze will thin it out some, so you’ll want your jam-stuff to be pretty thick. It should easily coat and stick to a metal spoon.
- Once the desired consistency has been reached, kill the heat and let the berry mixture cool a bit.
- Fish out and discard the star anise and chunk(s) of ginger, then give it a whizz in a food processor or with an emulsion blender, or a good smashing with a potato masher to break down the cranberries.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and the rum and transfer to a storage container to cool before serving.