Our new favorite jams, jellies, and pickles are every bit as delectable as old-fashioned state-fair winners, but we’ve streamlined the process of making them. Forget what you’ve been told you need -- an enormous pot, boiling-water baths, sterilization guidelines, and so on. Instead, turn out small batches with the fruits and vegetables you find at the farmers’ market on any given day. These pickles and preserves all keep in the fridge or freezer for months -- and each is worthy of a blue ribbon of its own.
If fudge is overcooked, even a little, it will be dry and crumbly; it's always better to err on the side of undercooking. To ensure success, remove fudge from heat just before it reaches the soft-ball stage.
Our version of the German specialty is wonderfully left to the elements, rather than shrouded in whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Tow layers of chocolate sponge cake (or genoise) -- brushed with a creme de cassis syrup â�� sandwich chocolate-ganache glaze, whipped cream, and fresh blackberries (a no-pitting-required swap for cherries). The toppings? More ganache glaze and a pile of berries.
Rose jelly is sweet and floral, and is lovely on buttered bread. Make it with roses you grow yourself to be sure they're chemical free. You will need liquid pectin (to thicken the jelly) and rose water for flavor. These are available in most supermarkets.