Lilac Jelly

Photo by Donna

A friend was coming by midday Thursday to introduce herself.  She comments here often, runs a bakery in Homer, Alaska, and was in Cleveland to visit friends, another author and Alaskan native, whose books I know and admire.  It was a glorious fall day, crisp and bright, but I had a million things to do and had only a short time to spend. In such circs, its being midday and time for a bite, I ran to Baricelli Inn for some of Paul Minnillo's great cheese.  Paul was out of Epoisses, my favorite of the stinky cheeses, but he recommended some Tomme Crayeuse, which had just come in, a rich earthy acidic raw cows' milk cheese from the French Alps. 

That, some Camenbert, a glass of wine and some bread from On the Rise bakery was all we needed for a midday meal.

Our new friend brought something else.  Some lilac jelly she'd made, inspired by the enormously fragrant lilacs that come late in Alaska.  I like to drizzle cheese with some truffled honey that materialized in our kitchen a while back. But Carri's sweet lilac jelly was the perfect condiment for the nicely acidic Tommee and the creamy Camenbert.

The light slanted in on the front porch where we talked and ate. Soon it was time to get on with the day, but the cluttered board so inspired Donna, she had to photograph the remnants of the perfect lunch on a fall weekday afternoon.

And here's Carri's recipe for the lilac jelly, which she posted about on her blog when she made it. It's a great way to use any fragrant petals that may inspire you.

Carri's Lilac Jelly

2 1/2 cups steeping medium, this can be pear juice (what I used) apple juice or white wine (or Champagne!)
2 cups fresh petals
4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 ounces of liquid pectin
(I wish the true petal color came out in the steeping liquid, but it did not!  Add a few drops of red wine at the end for color if you wish.)

Bring steeping liquid to scalding and add petals. Take off heat and stir. let cool to room temp. Strain.

Add 2 cups of steeping liquid to sugar and lemon and bring to boil in medium sauce pan over high heat.
When sugar is completely dissolved and mixture has reached a rolling boil, add pectin. Return to boil for one minute.

Ladle into hot jars and put on sterilized lids.