Cabell d’àngel is a melon jam originating apparently from Spain and made from the melon/squash fruit of (usually) Cucurbita ficifolia. It’s a simple tasty jam to make and great with pastries especially. Its basically a sugar syrup with the cooked filaments from the inside of the fruit.
Here is my version.
The melons keep for about 2 years and they do tend to taste a bit better with a few months of ripening after picking.
First you cut the melon open and deseed and remove the contents and place them in a saucepan. (The seeds can be saved for cooking and eating separately – excellent made into peanut brittle)
Then you put about 3 cups of water into the pan and cover and heat till the contents start to break down. This will create a lot of extra fluid in the pot. Keep it cooking and stir frequently till the filaments break down. This can be speeded up by stirring fairly vigorously with a stick end of a wooden spoon. This will usually take about 30minutes. It can be left uncovered from about half way through the process to watch but it does need to be watched and stirred.
Once this is at a point where the filaments are plainly visible and it feels like a pot of rice noodles you can turn it off to sit for a while. The whole mixture should stay very transparent or translucent.
What I do then is pour this mixture into a bowl on a measuring scale and weigh it. this will allow you to estimate the sugar required for the syrup. In this case the weight was about 1.5KGs.(approx 53 US ounces)
In this case I used about a mix of 1.5:1 Filament to sugar. So 1 KG of sugar in a large pot and 3 cups of water.
Then the juice of 1 small lemon and an orange is added.
This is stirred and heated.
When it is is starting to boil and the sugar has all melted in the fluids the filament mixture is added to it and stirred through vigorously to mix.
As this comes to the boil again you add 1 stick of cinnamon and a slice each of the skin of the orange and lemon.
This mixture is then boiled and stirred frequently for about 30 minutes. The idea is to get the filaments saturated with sugar syrup.
You need to stir frequently and make sure it does not catch on the base of the pot.
The mixture should stay translucent and slowly thicken up till like a marmalade syrup.
The filaments kind of bulk up in texture as it goes on and the colour darkens slightly.
Eventually the mixture will stay still on a flat surface when spread with a spoon like a lightly set jam or marmalade.
This can be then bottled up after removing the citrus skin and cinnamon stick. This batch yielded 3 of these sized jars.
It is especially good used with simple flaky pastries or other food items that go well with super sweet syrups.
Here is a simple way to use it in some flaky pasty turnovers. The edges of the flaky pastry sheets are brushed with an egg/milk wash and then pressed with a fork so they seal tight and puff up. Takes about 10-15mins in a Gas convection oven at 150. Really excellent hot with a good quality vanilla ice-cream.