We were fortunate enough to have been gifted with a jar of quince marmalade. And with a lovely present comes the question of how to best utilize it. How to make it shine? What will be the best way to highlight, show off, and appreciate the gift. And perhaps even share it with a few other people who might enjoy it too. Well, for a while we dithered, dathered, and eventually pushed the marmalade to the back of the cupboard. And then we forgot about it for a few months. We did the complete opposite of what we were hoping to do because we were searching for the best way, rather than simply enjoying the gift.
As Aki was in the throes of making her first round of holiday cookies she needed jam for her thumbprints. Unfortunately, we were all out of the good stuff. Until I rummaged through the pantry and rediscovered the jar of quince marmalade. When I presented it to her she smiled. Unfortunately we no longer remembered who gave it to us (though we want to send a big Thank You! to whoever it was). What we did remember was that we wanted to do something special with it. Aki's cookie fervor had us opening the jar and tasting the marmalade. It was sweet and floral. It had a nice acidity and a bit of texture from cut up fruit. It would be a fabulous addition to the thumbprints.
Aki shaped, filled, and baked the buttery dough. The finished cookies were firm and tender. The aroma of the quince permeated the dough. The hint of vanilla in the dough accented the earthy sweetness of the quince. The thumbprints were no longer just dough filled with a jam. They were a well constructed cookie.
It turns out the best way, the right way, to use anything is the one that presents itself. If you have great ingredients, it doesn't take much to make them even better. The rest of the jam though? That we'll enjoy with our morning toast.
December 15, 2008