Jam & Cheese Board Inspiration


Jam & Cheese Pairings

This visual stimulation for creating creative, decadent cheese plates from American Spoon is a feast for the eye as well as the stomach. Scroll down for a quick lesson in jam and cheese pairings, complete with recipes for the combinations pictured, an introduction to why the flavors were chosen and a quick list of substitutions! Thanks guys…this is great.

Fig Conserve with Prosciutto and Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an award-winning cow’s milk cheese made by Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It’s a hard, aged cheese inspired by the Alpine cheeses of France and Switzerland, and it’s widely available in specialty markets and cheese shops. If you can’t locate Pleasant Ridge Reserve, aged gruyere or parmesan are both good substitutes.

1 loaf ciabatta bread
½ pound prosciutto ham, sliced paper thin
1 pound Pleasant Ridge Reserve, thinly shaven with a vegetable peeler
1 jar American Spoon Fig Conserve Add to Cart
4 ounces arugula, watercress or mizuna
extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 ̊F.  While the oven warms, cut the ciabatta in ½ inch thick slices. Spread the slices out on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Bake until crispy and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove toast from oven and let cool.

To assemble, smear a thin layer of fig conserve onto each slice of toasted ciabatta to anchor all the toppings. Drape a slice of the prosciutto over jam, letting the ham fall onto itself so you have a platform for the other toppings. Tuck four or five pieces of cheese into the folds of the prosciutto. Top with a few more dollops of the fig conserve, about a teaspoon or two. Toss the arugula in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt, then scatter the greens over everything.

Sour Cherry Preserves with Poached Chicken and Zingerman’s Manchester

Manchester is a buttery double cream cow’s milk cheese made by Zingerman’s Creamery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a luscious, creamy mold-ripened cheese available in many Midwestern specialty shops. You may substitute any other double or triple cream mold-ripened cheeses, like brie or Camembert.

1 loaf multi-seed bread
5 chicken leg and thigh pieces
2 8-ounce wheels Zingerman’s Manchester cheese, cut into wedges
1 jar American Spoon Sour Cherry Preserves Add to Cart
¼ cup tarragon leaves
extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste

Season chicken with salt. Heat a wide pot over medium-high heat and add enough just oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil starts to shimmer, place chicken pieces in pot skin side down and cook until skin is deep brown. Brown chicken in batches if needed; do not overcrowd the pot. Once skin side of all pieces is deep brown, add enough water to the pot to cover the chicken. Bring water to a boil and then lower to a steady simmer. Poach until chicken pulls easily from the bone, about 30-40 minutes. Cool chicken in poaching liquid, then pull meat from bones. The chicken can be poached a day ahead.

To assemble, cut the seed bread in ½ inch slices, then cut the slices in half width-wise. Place a few wedges of cheese on each slice of seed bread. Top this with a few pieces of chicken, a teaspoon or two of Sour Cherry Preserves and four or five leaves of tarragon.

Damson Plum Preserves with Dancing Goat Aretha and Hazelnuts

Aretha is a soft, young bloomy-rind goat cheese made by Dancing Goat Creamery in Byron Center, Michigan. It’s rich, creamy and very special, but not yet widely available outside of the Grand Rapids area. Good substitutes are Gruyere, Comté, a young Gouda or any washed-rind cheese, like Tallegio.

1 loaf sourdough baguette
1 12-ounce wheel Dancing Goat Aretha, cut into thin wedges
1 jar American Spoon Damson Plum Preserves Add to Cart
4 ounces whole hazelnuts
4 ounces mizuna, arugula or watercress
extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 ̊F. Spread hazelnuts out on a sheet pan and bake until golden and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes.

While the hazelnuts are toasting, slice baguette on a slight bias into ½ inch pieces. Smear each sliceswith a teaspoon or two of Damson Plum Preserves. Top with a slice of cheese and three or four toasted hazelnuts.  Toss the mizuna in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt, then scatter the greens over everything.

Leelanau Apricot Preserves with Halpin Dairy Chevre, Salami and Fennel

Chris and Pennie Halpin make delicious fresh chevre at their Land of Goshen creamery in Kaleva, Michigan. This fresh, creamy goat cheese is widely available at farmers’ markets and natural foods co-ops across Northern Michigan. You may substitute any high quality fresh goat cheese.

1 loaf sourdough baguette
1 8-ounce container of Halpin’s Land of Goshen chevre
1 jar American Spoon Leelanau Apricot Preserves Add to Cart
1 artisanal thin salami, sliced paper thin
1 bulb fennel, sliced into thin strips and fronds reserved for garnish
extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste

Slice baguette on a slight bias into ½ inch pieces. Smear each slice with a thin layer of Apricot Preserves to anchor all the toppings. Place a round of salami on one edge of each baguette slice, then place a teaspoon of chevre next to the salami; continue alternating layers of salami and cheese. Top with the sliced fennel, a scattering of fennel fronds, a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt.

Bartlett Pear Preserves with Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue, Caramelized Onions and Watercress

Buttermilk Blue is a bold, tangy blue cheese made from raw cow’s milk by Roth Käse Cheesemakers in Monroe, Wisconsin. It’s a classic blue cheese available in many specialty shops, but any high quality blue cheese, Saint Agur or Fourme d’Ambert, is a good substitute.

1 loaf pumpernickel bread
1 pound Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue Cheese, crumbled
1 jar American Spoon Bartlett Pear Preserves Add to Cart
8 ounces red pearl onions, cleaned of papery husk and cut in half lengthwise
4 ounces watercress, arugula or mizuna
extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste

Heat a sauté pan over a medium heat and place film the bottom of the pan with oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, place the red pearl onions in pan, cut side down. Cook the onions on their cut side until deeply caramelized, then flip and continue cooking until onions are tender. Remove from pan and let cool.

While the onions are caramelizing, slice the pumpernickel in ½ inch pieces. To assemble, smear a thin layer of Pear Preserves onto each slice to anchor the toppings. Place two or three chunks of Buttermilk Blue on the bread, then tuck two or three caramelized onion halves in with the cheese. Finish with a few more dollops of jam, then toss the watercress in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt and scatter the greens over everything.

Red Haven Peach Preserves with S. Serra Cheese Co. Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Olive Oil

S. Serra Cheese Co. crafts traditional Italian cheeses in Clinton Township, Michigan. This fresh, hand-pulled mozzarella is soaked in whey for a moist, smooth cheese. Any high quality fresh mozzarella packed in whey is a good substitute.

1 package artisanal flatbread
1 12-ounce container S. Serra Cheese Company fresh mozzarella
1 jar American Spoon Red Haven Peach Preserves Add to Cart
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste

Break the flatbread into 1 by 2 inch pieces. Remove mozzarella from whey and pat dry. Pull cheese apart into teaspoon-size pieces and place two or three pieces on each broken flatbread. Dollops Red Haven Peach Preserves by the spoonful into the spaces between the cheese. Garnish with four or five basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

Early Glow Strawberry Preserves with Homemade Ricotta, Pistachios, Honey and Thyme

Homemade ricotta is thick, rich and creamy, but you may substitute any high quality ricotta.

For the Ricotta:

3½ cups whole milk
1½ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

To make the ricotta, put the milk, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat to 190°F, stirring occasionally to keep milk from scorching. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey into colander and let curds strain for one hour. Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth and refrigerate.

To assemble:

1 loaf rustic Italian bread
1 jar American Spoon Early Glow Strawberry Preserves Add to Cart
4 ounces pistachios
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup honey

While the ricotta strains, heat oven to 375  ̊F. Spread pistachios in an even layer on a baking sheet and  toast until fragrant and light brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pistachios from the oven and cool.

Cut bread in ½ inch slices, and then cut the slices in half width-wise. Top each slice with a few teaspoons of ricotta and two or three dollops of Early Glow Strawberry Preserves. Garnish with a few toasted pistachios, a sprinkle of thyme leaves, and a drizzle of honey.

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