Enroll in one of my workshops or sign up for my Jam, Jelly and Fruit Preserve CSA!

Want to learn how to create your own delicious jams an jellies? Sign up for my workshop to learn the ins and outs of canning fruit. Click here to sign up!

 
I've also started a Jam, Jelly and Fruit Preserve CSA! Now, you can enjoy fresh and tasty jams and jellies by signing up for Sweet Bea's Jam, Jelly and Fruit Preserve CSA. I source my fruit from local farms throughout Massachusetts, from Allendale Farm in Brookline to Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury.

For $175, you will receive 2 jars of jams, jellies, or preserves hand crafted by Sweet Bea herself each month from July through December. We ship them via USPS so you don't have to worry about pick-up dates. Payment is due by June 15th. To sign up, email me at sweetbeashc@gmail.com



Meyer Lemon and Rose Petal Marmalade





I never liked marmalade all that much. I remember my father preparing breakfast for me and my three sisters on a bright, late winter’s morning. He made himself a cup of coffee while he waited for the soft English muffins to pop out of the toaster. He lovingly spread orange marmalade on each side, put them on a plate and handed them to my sisters and me. “You have to try this! It’s delicious!” he said. His father was an English chef, so I suppose the love marmalade is natural. I had one bite and spit it out. I hated everything about it - the bitter sweetness, the chunky rinds, all of it.

Since citrus is so lovely this time of year, and really the only thing in season, I could only get so far without tackling a marmalade. I must admit, I was a little wary of getting back on that horse. I scoured recipes in all my cookbooks and the internet and I finally came across this lovely combination - meyer lemon and rose petals. The meyer lemons are sweeter than their cousins and the rose petals give this marmelade a lovely pink hue.

As I sat down to develop my own recipe, I remembered all the things I hated about traditional marmalade when I was a child. This time, I cut the rinds very thin into small strips. I also scrape off the pith from the rind to get rid of some of the bitterness. After all is said and done, I can say I have been converted. This lovely marmalade is fit for the Queen of England herself. Enjoy it on a sunny morning with a delicious blueberry scone and a cup of earl grey.  



What You’ll Need:
2 lbs Meyer lemons
3 ½ cups cane sugar
1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons dried rose petals


  1. Thoroughly wash each lemon. Using a sharp knife, cut off each end of the lemon. Gently cut along the rind from end to end, segmenting the rind in 4 or 5 pieces – do not cut all the way through, only cut through the rind. Peal the rind from the lemon and set the rinds aside. Cut the lemon in half then thinly slice, removing all seeds. Place the lemon slices in a large bowl. Place the seeds in a small bowl. Next, using a paring knife, gently scrape the pith from the rind and place in the small bowl with the seeds. Thinly slice the rind and place in the bowl with the lemon pieces. Pour the sugar over the lemon pieces and rinds. Stir until the lemons and rinds are evenly distributed and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let the lemons and sugar sit, unrefrigerated, overnight.
  2. The next day, pour the reserved seeds and pith into a jelly bag or a few layers of cheesecloth. Tie into a pouch. Most of the pectin is in the seeds and pith, so we will cook the marmalade with the pith and seeds for the pectin. Place a small, ceramic or glass plate in the freezer – we will use this to test the set of our marmalade later. Next, pour the lemon and sugar mixture into a large saucepot. Pour in the lemon juice.  
  3. Place the jelly bag into the saucepot and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for 35 minutes, making sure the pot does not overflow.  After 20 minutes of simmering, add the rose petals. 
  4. After 35 minutes, remove the plate from the freezer and drop a small amount of marmalade on the center of the plate. Place the plate back into the freezer. After 5 minutes, remove the plate and slide your finger along the drop of marmalade – if it is set, it should wrinkle gently. 
  5. Pour your marmalade into sterilized jars and seal with sterilized lids and tops. Either process cans in a boiling bath for 10 minutes or use the flip method to seal your jars. Once the jars have sealed, you will hear a loud pop!

Enjoy with scones, crumpets or muffins.

Cinnamon Plumcot and Wild Blueberry Hand Pies




Often I find my winter-self thanking my summer-self - I thank myself for the sewing and the watering and the weeding. For the foraging and the harvesting and, most of all, for the preserving. The moment I open a fresh can of cinnamon plumcot preserves, I am instantly taken back to that warm summer day when I plucked a ripe plumcot from that beautifully gnarled tree and took a big juicy bite. And when I pop a tiny frozen wild blueberry into my mouth, I remember swimming all day at the Pisgah and picking wild blueberries and huckleberries near the waterside. Suddenly, summertime seams not-so-distant, even though I’m covered in 2 feet of snow and ice.


What You'll Need


For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/2 cup ice water

For the Filling:
1 cup cinnamon plumcot preserves, strained (or fresh plums or pluots, peeled and diced mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon)
1 cup wild blueberries, fresh or thawed from frozen
juice of half lemon (omit if you are using plumcot preserves)
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

1 egg for the wash
⅛ cup raw sugar

  1. To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse or stir a few times to ensure the salt and flour are combined. Next, scatter the butter pieces over the flour. If you’re using a food processor, pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. If you are doing this the old fashioned way, use two knives or a pastry cutter and “cut-in” the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Next, pour the ice water over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the dough comes together in one ball. Divide the dough in half, place in a tupperware container and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
  2. While the dough is resting, let’s make the filling. Combine the plumcots and blueberries and lemon juice (if you are using fresh plumcots, otherwise omit the lemon juice) in a large bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle the brown sugar and flour on top and toss to coat the fruit. Set aside until you are ready to assemble your pies.
  3. Next, in a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork until the yolk and white are thoroughly combined.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Now it’s time to assemble the pies. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out until it is about ¼” thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or even the rim of a cup, press firmly into the dough and lift up the resulting shape. Be sure to make your cut-outs as close as possible. You only want to re-roll the dough one more time. If you roll out the dough more than twice, it will get gummy and the texture of your crust will suffer.
  6. To assemble the pies, place one shape in front of you. Dollop about a tablespoon of the filling on the cut-out. Place another cut-out on top of the filling and using the tines of a fork, gently fresh around the edges to seal the pie and pierce the top of the pie with the fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over top and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  7. Place the pie on the prepared cookie sheet and repeat until you have used all your dough, or filling (whichever runs out first).
  8. Bake the pies for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with French Vanilla or Bourbon Butterscotch Ice Cream.

Yield: sixteen 3” pies

Shortbread Blood Orange Tartlets with Bourbon Butterscotch Ice Cream


“This ice cream kicks the pants off of that new hipster ice cream place that just opened up in my neighborhood!” My sisters came to visit this weekend and I wanted to make them something special...something really special. One of them lives in West Philly and she was mentioning this new “hipster” ice cream place that just opened up in her neighborhood - it’s supposed to be all the rage with unique and off-the-wall flavors combinations. That got me thinking about making ice cream again. I have made many many ice creams and tried many many recipes, and all of them seem to fall short: too icy, too dense, bland, etc. Each of these bad recipes has taught me something about making ice cream in general and finally, with this Bourbon Butterscotch ice cream, I think I have finally developed a winning recipe.


The next issue was the blood orange tartlets. I poured over the internet, searching for inspiration. All citrus-filled tart/pie recipes I found used the citrus in a curd and were served cold. Nobody likes a cold tart with ice cream. Ice cream should be served over something warm so it melts and melds with the treat it is sitting atop. Then I began looking through my stack of old family recipes. I found this recipe given to me by my mother-in-law for maple syrup pie and that got me to thinking…


I think I’ve adapted that favorite family pie recipe into something special, but I’ll let her be the judge of that next time she comes for a visit...



What You’ll Need:


For the Ice Cream


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ¼ cups heavy cream (divided in ¾ cup and 1 ½ cups)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks


For the Shortbread Tart Crust                                    


1 cup flour
⅓ cup confectioners sugar
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cold, unsalted butter
1 tablespoon whole milk


For the Blood Orange Filling


2 cups fresh squeezed blood orange juice (about 8 blood oranges)
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. First, let’s make the butterscotch for the ice cream. In a large saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir with a spatula until the sugar is completely coated with the butter. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes until the sugar is melted. Make sure you get the corners of the pan as you stir. When the sugar is completely melted, add the cream, vanilla and bourbon. The mixture bubble and fizz violently so be careful not to get it on your skin. Whisk the mixture for 10 minutes and bring it to a boil. While gently whisking, let the mixture boil for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand while we prepare the custard for the ice cream.
  2. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat the egg yolks on medium speed until thickened and light yellow, about 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Next, heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepot over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear at the edges and the milk starts to steam (this is called scalding). Whisking the egg yolks constantly, pour ¼ of the cream mixture over the whisked eggs yolks. Continue to whisk until the egg yolks are completely incorporated. Return the egg yolk and cream mixture back to the saucepot. Cook and whisk over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon. You should be able to draw a line with your finger through the custard and the line should stay sharp and not ooze back in on itself. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butterscotch. Pour the custard into a tightly sealed tupperware (like pyrex) and refrigerate overnight. The next day, pour the custard into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Now let’s get down to business - the tartlets. First, let’s make the shortbread crust. Combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor or large bowl. Pulse or whisk a few times to combine the ingredients. Next, scatter the cold butter pieces over the flour. Pulse the mixture or use a pastry cutter to combine until the mixture is very fine and resembles cornmeal. Pour the cold whole milk over the top and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together in one mass. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Using for fingers, push the dough into the bottom and sides of 4 tartlet pans. Once the dough is firmly pressed into each pan, place the crusts in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the crusts have been chilled, cover them with tin foil and use pie weights or rice to weight down the foil. Place them in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the crusts out and let them cool. Remove the foil.
  4. While the crusts cool, let’s make the filling. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the blood orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepot. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over medium high heat until it has reduced by ¼, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Once the cornstarch is thoroughly dissolved into the water, add the mixture to the blood orange juice and stir until incorporated. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the butter and stir until the butter is completely melted. Pour the filling into the tart crusts and place the tarts into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. When you remove the tartlets, the filling will be VERY hot. It is best to bake them on a cookie sheet so you can remove them easily. Let the tartlets cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and serve with a dollop of the butterscotch ice cream.


Yield: 4 cups ice cream and 4 - 4 ¼” tartlets

Blood Orange and Lavender Curd



I always look forward to blood orange season. These little jewels brighten the starkness of the mid-winter snow and ice. After trudging through the snow, I arrive home with my precious cargo. I take off my snow boots, my snow covered coat and hat and hang them above the heater to dry. I set the oranges in a hanging basket in the window and I begin to search around the kitchen for inspiration. While searching through cupboards, pantry and spice racks, I see hanging above the basket a bunch of dried lavender, plucked from my garden on a warm summer day. After flipping through over 20 curd recipes, I came up with my recipe for Blood Orange and Lavender Curd. This lovely curd is perfect for cakes, pastries, pies, or slathered on a fresh baked piece of rye bread. 

What You'll Need:
zest of 2 blood oranges
1 cup fresh blood orange juice (about 4 oranges should do the trick)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
6 egg yolks


  1. Place all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler (or do what I do and use a metal bowl on top of a sauce pot filled with about 2" of water).
  2. Cook over high heat and whisk until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Once the butter has melted, cook, whisking constantly, for another 10 minutes until thickened. 
  3. To test if the curd is done, coat the back of a wooden spoon with the curd and draw a line with your finger. If the curd falls back in on the line, it is not ready. However, if the line stays clear, the curd is ready.
  4. Pour the curd over a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. This curd can be canned and kept for 1 year, or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Yield: About 3 cups

Golden Beet and Citrus Slaw



When it gets to be 100 degrees in Boston, it seems hard to think straight, let alone cook anything. This lovely little slaw is a breeze to whip up and goes perfectly with grilled steak or chicken. The brightness of the lemon with the earthy spice of the raw golden beet makes this a healthy twist on traditional slaw recipes.

What You'll Need:

2 medium sized beets
Juice of 1 small lemon
6 oz. plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Grate the beet, either using a food processor or a good old fashioned grater.
2. Combine the grated beet, lemon juice, greek yogurt, and dill in a large bowl and stir until combined.
3. Salt and pepper to taste.

And there you have it! A lovely little slaw that requires next to no effort for those incredibly hot days.

Serves 4

Sweet Potato Danishes with Strained Yogurt Cream


I must say, I've outdone myself. It's not often that I praise the things I make - I always seem to find something that can improve, but these are simply marvelous.

These danishes are deliciously sweet and hearty. The sweet potato is perfect with a hint of spice and brown sugar and the cream is delicately tangy and light. These are the ultimate in rustic breakfast pastry. They do take a little time to prepare, but it is well worth it. Serve them on a snowy Sunday morning with a hot cup of coffee and eggs. For an explanation about Strained Yogurt, check out my previous recipe, Strained Yogurt and Almond Tart.

The dough recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma Baking Cookbook.

What You'll Need
For the Pastry:
1 package active dry yeast
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 whole egg plus 1 yolk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour

For the Butter Package:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/8 cup all purpose flour

For the Filling:
2 medium or 3 small sweet potatoes
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup heavy cream

For the Topping:
1/4 cup strained yogurt or cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

To make the dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a punch of the sugar in warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining sugar, salt, melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined. Add the yeast mixture and then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix just until the dough clings together in a rough mass. If it is still very soft, add an extra 1/4 cup at a time until it is no longer sticky.

Turn the dough onto a floured cookie sheet and pat into a rectangle, about 1" thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, make the butter package. Use a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to knead the butter on a work surface. Flatten it and warm it so it is pliable but not mushy, adding the flour as you work to keep it from sticking to your hands. Shape the butter into an 8" by 7" rectangle. If the butter becomes too soft as you work, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator.

Time to laminate the dough. A laminated dough is simply a dough that is created by pressing together alternating layers of pastry and butter. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a rectangle, roughly 10" by 16". With the short side facing you, place the butter package on the lower half, leaving a 1" margin. Fold the upper half over the butter and press the sides together. Next, roll the dough out into a 12" by 20" rectangle. With the short side facing you, fold the bottom third up and the top third down, as you would a letter. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat this rolling and folding process 3 more times. After the 4th turn, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight before shaping.

While the dough is chilling, let's make the filling. Bring a large pot of boiling water to boil over high heat. Peel and half the sweet potatoes and place them in the boiling water. Cook until very soft, about 30 minutes. When a fork is inserted in each potato it should go all the way through with ease. Strain the potatoes and place them in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla and allspice and beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

As the potato mixture chills, in a small bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Remove the potato mixture from the refrigerator and add a forth of the cream and mix it in to lighten the potatoes. Once fully incorporated, add the remaining cream and gently fold it into the potato mixture until fully incorporated.

Time to form the danishes. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a disk and roll it out until it is about 1/4" thick. Place about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each disk, leaving about a 2" margin on all sides. Using your fingers, twist the margin of dough along the edges to bring it up to the filling. This is not a science, you can really do whatever you think looks best. Repeat this until all the danishes are formed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the danishes with a warm kitchen or tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 45 minutes. Place in the oven until the pastry becomes golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool slightly.

As the danishes cool, prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, combine the strained yogurt or cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and continue to beat until the mixture is very airy. Scoop the mixture into a plastic bag and snip the tip.

Pipe the filling over the danishes - you can do swirls or stripes. Top with a few sliced almonds and powdered sugar.

Whew!

Yield: 16 danishes