Shallot Marmalade Recipe

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Shallot jam is a wonderful addition to many dishes. It’s a bit sweet and a little tangy, the best of both – and s generous spoonful goes well with roasted meats, pâté, and can dress up a grilled chicken breast. You might not be familiar with shallots, but they are common in French cuisine and are the sweeter cousin to onions. I buy them by the sack at the outdoor markets and in American supermarket, you’ll find them tucked away in the onion aisle.

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Here’s a few general tips on jam-making:


  • Hard & Fast
    Most conserves benefit from being cooked quickly, over moderately-high heat. This allows the ingredients to retain much of their character.

  • Don’t Overcook
    There’s nothing worse than overcooked jam. That’s when the sugar caramelizes, and that flavor overwhelms whatever else is in the jam. There’s not much you can do to save it at this point, so watch out.

  • Brighten Up
    Fruit jams often benefit from a squirt of lemon juice or a shot of liqueur added to brighten up flavors.

  • Don’t Overreact
    Never use reactive cookware when making jams. Materials such as non-anondized aluminum and tin can react with the acids and leave a tinny aftertaste. To avoid burning and hotspots, use heavy-duty cookware with a thick bottom.

  • Don’t Double Your Pleasure
    In general, don’t double recipes. Better to make two small batches, since each will take less time to cook, preserving the appealing flavors of your ingredients.

  • Degrees of Faith
    If you aren’t sure if your jam is cooked to the right temperature, check it with a candy thermometer. For this jam, it’s easy to gauge its cooking, but fruit jams ‘set’ at about 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 C).
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Shallot, Cocoa Nib, Beer, and Prune Jam
About 1 1/2 cups


This goes great with pâté or as a sweet counterpoint to anything rich and meaty. In Paris, there’s normally a gathering before dinner for drinks, such as a kir or a glass of Champagne. I’ve served this with slices of foie gras on toasted brioche, a perfect partnership.

I used the largest shallots I could find since I’m too lazy to peel those little ones. Feel free to substitute raisins for the prunes.


  • 1 pound (450 g) shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoon unflavored vegetable oil
  • big pinch of coarse salt
  • a few turns of freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) beer
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons cider or balsamic vinegar
  • 8 prunes (3 oz/90 g), pitted, and cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa nibs (see Note)

1. In a medium-sized heavy-duty skillet or saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots over moderate heat with a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until they’re soft and wilted, which should take about 10 minutes.

2. Add the beer, sugar, honey, vinegar, prune pieces, and cocoa nibs and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the shallots begin to caramelize. While cooking, continue stirring them just enough to keep them from burning.

3. The jam is done when the shallots are nicely-caramelized, as shown.

Store the jam in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least 2 months.

(Note: You can buy cocoa nibs online, if you can’t find them where you live.)


Related Recipes

Seville Orange Marmalade

Bergamot Marmalade

Apricot Jam

No-Recipe Cherry Jam

Rhubarb-Berry Jam

19 comments

  • Glad to hear about another cookbook to look for. I have Mme Ferber’s “Mes Tartes Sucrees et Salees.” It is in French so I have made the occasional goof. Fortunately it is (usually) less important in making a tart than jam!

  • I also love the beer and nib jelly.. the other jelly they make that I love too is watermelon chili!

  • To preserve color we use the peel of an apple when making jam.

  • Since 212° F = 100° C (water boils), 220° F can not be 93° C; it is roughly 104° C. This science minute was brought to you by…

  • David,
    Assume the beer goes in with the vinegar etc :-)

    Also, the ginger and white chocolate ice cream fantastic, I’ve already made three batches.
    Thank you.

    David

  • Thanks, I knew I should have stuck to fahrenheit, which I know like the back of my hand. Darn metrics! And yes, the beer goes in with the vinegar and sugar.

  • David, Thanks for posting the recipe!

    James M.

  • I love tomato jam , but have never been able to pull it off. The memory of my Grandmama’s gets in the way, but now I will get your book just for your recipe.Any hints ?

  • Wow that looks awfully delicious. Cocoa nibs… I’m getting in over my head now…

  • That sounds like a fantastic recipe – what a great fusion of tastes. Can’t wait to try it!

  • I’m also a huge fan of beer and chocolate, especially delicious belgian ales like Ommegang (brewed in Cooperstown, NY, bottled in bottles shipped from France) with dark chocolate.

  • Very interesting combinations indeed! Adventurous that you are! Love the shallots in it! A little bit like confiture d’oignons, yes?
    Just finished making my jams a few days ago ;-) Have to refrain from eating them too fast!

  • I love savory jam like this. Your tips were really great too. I have been too intimidated to try making jam with the whole jar-sterilizing process. I may have to give it a go for SHF.

  • What brand of knife is that, David? I noticed it in another one of your photos and love the look of it…

  • 1 question: have you (or anyone) tried to make jams/preserves with no or very little sugar – just fruit? I tried, rather unsuccessfully, last year when our fruit trees were all in hyper-drive. They were all very flavorful…but rather runny – except the pear-ginger and the apple butter.

    1 comment: Growing up in Wisconsin Beer country – nothing tastes better than beer and chocolatey Devil’s food cake with Fudge frosting…

  • Just got this in my mailbox this morning and made me think of you!! If I weren’t on the other coast, I’d so go to this!!

    Click here.

  • Mmmmmmmmm shallots. Remember Middleton Gardens? Once at TFL we bought the most exquisite little shallots from Nancy and Thomas roasted them. I stole a few skins and when he caught me I said I wanted to make roasted shallot skin ice cream.

    This combination sounds fabulous and your hints are spot on!

  • It’s a Katana Nakiri
    made by Calphalon.
    They’re great knives, I have two. They’re very sharp and reasonably priced!

  • Love your blog. This recipe sounds so interesting. I agree 100% with your views on the Christine Ferber book which is wonderful! Have made quite a few jams out of it and her method has taught me a lot!Thanks for the jam making tips as well.