Rare Bird Preserves

Artisan Fruit Jams, Curds, and confections hello! theme by cissysaurus
It feels like every season is the busiest time of year for Rare Bird, but when October hits, we have lots to do to capture all the fall fruits and prepare for the holiday season. Never the less, we keep making time for our Black Label jams. We are so proud to present the 4th edition of our Black Label Series - Quince Maple Raisin. This jam is the brain child of assistant Krystal, yet another French Pastry School graduate assisting Rare Bird. She has a love for and a keen sense of balancing fall flavors. We were all excited by her idea of experimenting with Quince. Quince is a hard, astringent and sour fruit (our blisters from chopping tell the tale), but high in natural pectin. When added with sugar, this time maple sugar, it transforms into a beautiful, complex and fragrant jam. Krystal’s desire to incorporate dried fruit and raisins in particular, led us to complement this preserves texture with golden raisins. This jam is wonderful paired with warm steel cut oats in the morning or pork or duck in the evening. Quince Raisin Maple Preserve is limited, and available on our web store and at upcoming markets this weekend Williams Sonoma Oak Brook on Saturday and our last Logan Square Market this Sunday.

It feels like every season is the busiest time of year for Rare Bird, but when October hits, we have lots to do to capture all the fall fruits and prepare for the holiday season. Never the less, we keep making time for our Black Label jams. We are so proud to present the 4th edition of our Black Label Series - Quince Maple Raisin. This jam is the brain child of assistant Krystal, yet another French Pastry School graduate assisting Rare Bird. She has a love for and a keen sense of balancing fall flavors. We were all excited by her idea of experimenting with Quince. Quince is a hard, astringent and sour fruit (our blisters from chopping tell the tale), but high in natural pectin. When added with sugar, this time maple sugar, it transforms into a beautiful, complex and fragrant jam. Krystal’s desire to incorporate dried fruit and raisins in particular, led us to complement this preserves texture with golden raisins. This jam is wonderful paired with warm steel cut oats in the morning or pork or duck in the evening. Quince Raisin Maple Preserve is limited, and available on our web store and at upcoming markets this weekend Williams Sonoma Oak Brook on Saturday and our last Logan Square Market this Sunday.

Summer 2012 is flying by! With farmer’s markets and full-on jam production, sometimes we feel we are missing the joys of summer, a walk by the lake or an ice cold beer. We decided it was well past due for a new Black Label Edition jam utilizing summer crops and a bit of inspiration.
To celebrate Trisha’s one year anniversary here at Rare Bird Preserves, she created a stunning new jam called the Summer Berry Shandy. This preserve was made with Seedling Farm’s blueberries, raspberries in combination with black currants. As a collaborative jam, this was RBP’s first mixed berry preserve, but a long time favorite flavor of Trisha’s. Her unique addition of beer added flavor and complexity. Ebel’s Weiss beer, from Two Brothers Brewery (Warrenville, IL), was exactly what she needed to balance the strong berries and classic citrus tones of a shandy.
We featured this jam at the last Dose Market in July. A very short run of 14 jars sold out right away! Due to the small first batch, we decided to do a Vol. 2, of which we have sold half the batch from pre-orders. We still have 24 jars left, which will be available on our web store at rarebirdpreserves.com and Logan Square Farmer’s Market this Sunday or as long as the jars last.
Come try this delicious preserve and savor the last weeks of summer.
(top photo courtesy of Nathan Michael)

Summer 2012 is flying by! With farmer’s markets and full-on jam production, sometimes we feel we are missing the joys of summer, a walk by the lake or an ice cold beer. We decided it was well past due for a new Black Label Edition jam utilizing summer crops and a bit of inspiration.

To celebrate Trisha’s one year anniversary here at Rare Bird Preserves, she created a stunning new jam called the Summer Berry Shandy. This preserve was made with Seedling Farm’s blueberries, raspberries in combination with black currants. As a collaborative jam, this was RBP’s first mixed berry preserve, but a long time favorite flavor of Trisha’s. Her unique addition of beer added flavor and complexity. Ebel’s Weiss beer, from Two Brothers Brewery (Warrenville, IL), was exactly what she needed to balance the strong berries and classic citrus tones of a shandy.

We featured this jam at the last Dose Market in July. A very short run of 14 jars sold out right away! Due to the small first batch, we decided to do a Vol. 2, of which we have sold half the batch from pre-orders. We still have 24 jars left, which will be available on our web store at rarebirdpreserves.com and Logan Square Farmer’s Market this Sunday or as long as the jars last.

Come try this delicious preserve and savor the last weeks of summer.

(top photo courtesy of Nathan Michael)

For the second round of the Black Label Edition we are pleased to present Amy’s inspired Pineapple Rum Pink Peppercorn preserve. This limited run of 37 12oz. jars can be purchased directly from us by emailing (info@rarebirdpreserves.com) for $20.00.

Amy graduated from the French Pastry School in December and has been one of our amazing part time assistants ever since. We were so happy to work on this project with her, as she had so many great ideas in what she was looking for in this flavor.

Amy choose pineapple as the starring flavor because it has always been one of her favorite fruits because it reminds her of warmth and sunshine. The versatility of the fruit also allows for both sweet and savory applications.

Using liquor as a preservative we were able to experiment with the technique and the nuanced flavors inherent in rum. Amy was happy to be able to incorporate New Holland Artisan Spirits Freshwater Huron white rum from her home state of Michigan (sourced from City Provisions). The pink peppercorns were a nice way to add some spice to cut some of the sweetness from the pineapple and incorporate a bit of color and texture to the jam. Visually, the pink peppercorns reminded Amy of polk dots, a pattern she is certainly drawn to!

It was also this special lady’s birthday this past week and in order to celebrate we whipped up a creme fraiche cake swirled with Pineapple Rum Pink Peppercorn jam. Incorporating this preserve into a cake enhanced the flavors found in the preserve and made the most addictive crispy crust. This is a recipe you can certainly have fun with by experimenting with your favorite flavors of RBP jam. 

Creme Fraiche Cake with Pineapple Rum Pink Peppercorn Jam

(yields 2, 6” cakes)

6oz.       Butter

1c.         Sugar

3            Eggs

1t.          Vanilla

2 1/2c.   Flour

1T.         Baking powder

1/2t.      Salt

1 1/2c.   Creme fraiche

TT          Pineapple Rum Pink Peppercorn jam

TT          Brown sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 6” cake rings or spring release pans by lining the outside with tin foil (if using cake ring) and brush with softened butter. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment add butter and sugar. On high speed cream until light and fluffy, then scrape down sides of bowl.

With machine running at medium speed, add eggs one at a time, scraping sides between each addition. Then add vanilla.

On lowest speed add in half of the dry mixture, mix until almost incorporated. Add creme fraiche and mix until almost incorporated. Finally, add last half of dry mixture and mix until combined.

To assemble cake, portion enough batter to fill up to 2/3 of cake pan and spread evenly into the two pans. Next, spread an even layer of jam (about 1/4c.) on top of batter. Top with dollops of batter, then sprinkle liberally with brown sugar.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool then remove from cake ring or pan. To serve spread jam on top and sprinkle edges with powdered sugar (optional).

Hello! Welcome to the Rare Bird Preserves blog! We thought you might like to be a part of what goes on behind the scenes. A look at special events, new products, upcoming classes & recipes that we are playing with.

This month we are pleased to announce the debut of our Black Label line of limited edition preserves. Kumquat with Tarragon Honey is the first edition in a line of collaborative flavors. The project grew out of a wish to work creatively between our talented employees giving us the chance to experiment with fruits and techniques that require extra attention. 

Our first featured employee to work on a Black Label edition is Kaitlyn (our new kitchen manager). This flavor comes out of her desire to work with kumquats and experiment with honey as a sweetener and preservative in jam. She felt the floral qualities inherent in kumquats complimented the more savory flavors in tarragon and sweetness in honey. The flavor surpassed all expectations of our hope for this line of preserves.

The March 2012 Dose Market was our premiere venue to showcase this special product. Only a few remain (this was a batch of 38, guys!), but keep a look out for new flavors, because we are already working on the next edition.

(bottom photo by Nathan Michael)