I've got a half bottle of agave nectar in the cupboard. With raspberries in the fridge, chocolate in the drawer, and a desire to make something sweet and simple, I threw the trio together. The resulting chocolate-raspberry spread is something like Nutella, but with fruit instead of hazelnuts and no partially hydrogenated oils.
Now when I first discovered Nutella during a summer in France, I really thought I'd seen the light. Other people see angels, or the heavens parting, but I saw an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. I was living with a host family, so I figured the polite thing to do was to buy my own jar and stash it in my room. They had a jar in the kitchen cupboard, of course, which I was certainly welcome to, but given the quantities I planned to consume it seemed better to possess my own.
That was a good summer.
Many years later, Nutella made its way to U.S. grocery stores, and at that point it lost a bit of cachet. I still enjoy it on occasion (Colin makes terrific Nutella crepes), but it's no longer a staple in our home.
All this is to say, well, I have no idea. I just got off on a Nutella tangent, when what I should have been discussing was the raspberry-chocolate spread with agave nectar. If you like chocolate layer cakes with a thin smear of raspberry jam, this is your spread. In fact, I think it would make an excellent crumb coat on a layer cake, though we in this house are fond of eating it on toast. Oh, and slightly warmed and drizzled over ice cream.
Happily, making jam with agave nectar couldn't be easier. This is my second time. (The first recipe -- for an agave-based indigo jam with black raspberries -- continues to win me new blog readers.)
Better than Nutella?
Recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Agave Jam
I didn't bother straining the seeds from my Indigo Jam, but for the nicest, smoothest texture with this chocolaty version, I do think it's important. Be sure to choose a medium-holed strainer. If the holes are too small, the straining will take forever.
Yield: scant 1/2 cup
2 cups red raspberries
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 ounce dark chocolate (72% cacao), very finely chopped
Combine raspberries and agave nectar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. (I used an enameled cast-iron pan, which was perfect.) Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat as low as humanely possible. Continue simmering until berries fall apart and essentially liquify, giving a stir now and again to prevent it from scorching. You want the mixture to reduce considerably and begin to thicken, so plan on a 25 minute simmer time.
Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice.
Pass the jam through a medium-mesh strainer, pressing on it with a rubber spatula to force it through, leaving the seeds behind. (Scrape the underside to release jam that clings to the mesh.) Discard the seeds. Quickly add about 1/4 of the chopped chocolate to the hot jam, and stir until it melts. Continue with remaining chocolate. (If the jam has cooled too much to melt all the chocolate, microwave the chocolate by itself at 50% power for about a minute, stirring halfway through. Then mix into the jam.)
The jam will thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge.