Sweet and spicy… just like me!
I was throwing a last minute get together for some ladies, and I realized to be a good host it was absolutely necessary to provide at least a bare minimum of finger food. I went to my closest grocery store planning on picking up cheese and crackers. But silly foodie/hostess obsessed me saw fresh strawberries and cheese and immediately thought of baking brie; which made me think of trying to make my first strawberry jam; which made me want to make it healthy-ish, interesting, and different. And I am a firm believer that EVERYTHING is better spicy.
So went from buying cheese and crackers to deciding to make brie baked in puff pastry with homemade strawberry-jalepeno jam. Upon returning home I decided to make it sugar-free and add red wine. The results were phenomenal. Here is my recipe for the jam itself and for the whole epic spicy, sweet, salty, cheesy, gooey puff pastry wrapped treat.
- 3 cups strawberries
- 1 jalapeño
- 1 habanero- seeded
- 1 lemon- juiced
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 cup agave
- 1 t salt
- 1 t vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 T xanthem gum
- 1 wheel brie cheese
- 1 package puff pastry
- Puree strawberries in a food processor, remove and add peppers, pulse until in minced finely.
- Bring strawberries, peppers, agave, red wine, lemon juice, vinegar and salt to a soft boil in a saucepan, and then immediately reduce heat and allow to simmer for five minutes.
- Add honey first, whisk, and then add xanthan gum, whisking to break apart clumps.
- Turn off heat and continue whisking for another minute until jam thickens and smoothes.
- Cool slightly and then pour into pretty glass jar. Serve with cheese and crackers.
Extra Fancy Instructions:
- Before making jam, preheat oven to 425F and leave out one sheet puff pastry dough to defrost.
- Make jam as above.
- Place sheet pastry dough on a greased pan, top with brie wheel and then a generous layer of jam (read: heap that shit on).
- Bundle pastry dough prettily around cheese and jam.
- Throw in oven and cook 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
- Serve with bread or crackers, and definitely with wine. You will be left with extra jam, just serve on the side and/or save for later last minute impromptu necessary show-off occasions.
- Soak up compliments and allow room for ego to inflate.
I actually started out with a larger batch of strawberries and peppers than listed below, but I removed about a 1/3 of the mixture before adding honey and xantham gum with the intention of making strawberry-jalapeño mojitos. I would imagine for a perfect drink: add 1 oz strawberry-jalepeno mix to a small bunch mint and one lime, muddle, add ice, 2 oz white rum and top with soda.
Either way the jam was amazing. It was naturally sweet-but sugar free from the strawberries, agave, and honey; spicy from the peppers (reduce or accentuate spice by leaving in or discarding seeds); elegant from the wine. And then baking it with the brie was the easy part but definitely upped the class factor by a ten-fold. Oh, and I ended up with a great new mini-wardrobe, including a new perfectly fitted pair of black leather steel-toed boots, a Bebe clubbing top with feather shoulder pads, a white faux fur bolero jacket, a ruffled gauzy summer dress, an argyle Christmas elf sweater, and so much more. Contrary to popular opinion in my friend circle, there is more to life than Burning Man, and yummy food and new clothes are helping me to cope with this realization.