Posts Tagged ‘Cherry’

Drunk Cherries

June 25, 2010

Well they look drunk, drowned and infused as they are in a good amount of brandy.

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Supposedly I was following a recipe for Cherry Brandy, but I can already see incredible opportunities for using the succulently brandified cherries too, once they’ve done they’re preserving thing.  Cherry Cheesecake?  Cherry Pie?  Cherry Torte?  Mmmm.

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INGREDIENTS – Morella cherries, good brandy; to every lb. of cherries allow 3 oz. of pounded sugar.

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I’ve no idea what Morella cherries are… or indeed what type of cherry I actually bought at the market on Saturday (so long as they aren’t sour, I’m a happy camper).  However, they were fresh, they were sweet and, what’s more, delicious.

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This is not exactly rocket science, this recipe.  Place cherries in preserving bottle.  Add sugar.  Add brandy (I went a bit mad, as you do, and added regular brandy and Mrs Beeton’s very own Lemon Brandy that I made several months ago).  Then “put corks or bungs into the bottles, tie over them a piece of bladder, and store away in a dry place” for 2-3 months.

Unfortunately, not having a bit of bladder (ick!), corks or bungs (what are they?) to hand, I used my steam oven to ensure that the jar was as sterile as possible.

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However, steam = heat = big fat boiled cherries.  All of a sudden, I went from having plenty of space at the top of the preserving jar, to pretty much none at all.   As a general rule, when whatever’s being preserved actually sticks above the liquid line in the jar, mould could potentially follow.  Not a good thing.

So,  I decided to leave it alone for a week or two and then use the contents for a dessert (and perhaps the semi-cherrified brandy for a punch?).  Not exactly what Mrs Beeton had in mind, but, as we’re moving to Canada in a few weeks anyway, maybe it’s just as well.

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If nothing else, the colour of the liquid inside the jar looks absolutely heavenly!

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Cherry Brandy (Recipe 1561): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/31-chapter31.html#1561

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German Jelly Moulds

May 29, 2010

At least, I thought it was a jelly mould.  But now, I’m not so sure.

On the way to the supermarket this afternoon, we saw a small fleamarket (a word that never fails to get my attention) being held outside in aid of cancer research funding.  A good cause and a fleamarket were enough to get us to stop and check it out.

Amongst the goods on sale was a light brown mould of the dessert persuasion.  Or it could have been a wall decoration, given that there was a little screw-sized hole at the top.  By the time I followed the instructions for Jelly Liqueur in Household Management later that day and popped the mix into the fridge, I really began to wonder.  You never can tell sometimes.

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INGREDIENTS – 1 lb. of lump sugar, 2 oz. of isinglass, 1–1/2 pint of water, the juice of 2 lemons, 1/4 pint of liqueur.

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As a vegetarian, isinglass (dried fish bladder) and gelatine (derived from animal bones and skin) are not ingredients I like to work with.  I don’t eat jelly very often anyway, but I did some enthusiastic research and found something called ‘agar agar’ in my local health food supermarket.  It turns out that it’s a red algae derivative, popular in Asian cooking and perfect as a vegetarian alternative.

This jelly is made in two stages – first boiling the water and sugar together, with the agar agar and some more water in a second pan.  Then, these are added together with lemon juice and a liqueur of your choice, and left to chill.

I don’t usually have liqueur (except for in delicious liqueur chocolates, of course), but on a recent trip to Freiberg im Breisgau (popularly labelled ‘the capital of the Black Forest’), I picked up a cute little bottle of cherry liqueur.  I mixed it with a little of Mrs Beeton’s Lemon Brandy to make up the difference in quantity (see https://mrsbeetonin365days.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/day-69-lemon-brandy-part-1/) and https://mrsbeetonin365days.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/day-73-lemon-brandy-part-2/, and added it to the mix.

As soon as I began pouring the hot liquid into the mould, ominous cracking sounds could be heard.  I couldn’t see any damage to the mould itself, but I began to wonder if it really was what I thought it was.

“Do you think it’s dangerous?” I asked my boyfriend, seeking a second opinion.  Visions of jelly and sharp mould shards exploding all over the fridge raced through my head.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” he called out confidently from the living room, where he was recovering from what I gather was a somewhat disappointing final episode of one of his favourite TV programmes.

So I left it in the fridge to get on with its chilling.

3 hours later, I began doling it out into two plates with a bit of vanilla ice-cream. I hadn’t used enough agar agar to make the jelly stiff enough to form a shape matching the mould’s form, but that didn’t really matter to us.  For my first attempt, I was happy enough with the result.

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“I like it, it’s good” my boyfriend told me as we tucked into our desserts. “I don’t like these alcoholic desserts, but it’s OK, I like it.”

We both agreed that it was a bit on the sweet side, though.  But that’s Mrs Beeton for you, I guess!

I still don’t know if it’s a mould or a wall decoration.  Life is full of mystery.

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Liqueur Jelly (Recipe 1449): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/29-chapter29.html#1449

Mid-Winter Cherry Pie

January 27, 2010

”Gagged in horror” is the only way I can describe my reaction when I saw how much butter goes into one of the pastry recipes provided in Household Management.

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INGREDIENTS – To every lb. of flour allow 3/4 lb. of butter, 1 tablespoonful of sifted sugar, 1/3 pint of water.

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Even though I only made a quarter of the given ingredient quantities (there are only 2 of us), there was still quite enough butter waiting to be rubbed into the flour, thank you very much.

As crazy as it sounds, the pastry was absolutely beautiful to work with – the Nigella Lawson of the pastry world.  The butter gave it a soft, smooth texture and made it tremendously easy to roll it out.  Once cooked, it looks like a cross between shortcrust pastry and puff pastry, which I liked.

We had a couple of jars of cherries in the kitchen that I wanted to use up (normally I prefer fresh, seasonal stuff, but my boyfriend is mad about – and I mean mad about – Cherry Cheesecake made from a Canadian packet mix.  In a nearly fruitless – you’ll forgive the pun – search to find canned cherries in a sweet enough sauce to please His Cheesecake Highness, the jars were consigned to the kitchen cupboards when a suitably sweet contender was found).  I had a hankering for Cherry Tart and, as per usual, turned to Mrs Beeton for advice.

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INGREDIENTS – 1–1/2 lb. of cherries, 2 small tablespoonfuls of moist sugar, 1/2 lb. of short crust, No. 1210 or 1211.

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As I’ve already confessed, the cherries I used were not exactly picked yesterday.   My boyfriend happened to walk in just as I was putting it in the oven.

“You know that’s all liquid, right?” he back-seat baked at me.

“No no, I mean yeah yeah, but it’s all syrup, so it’ll all dry up in the oven.”

He shook his head at me, unconvinced.  But of course, I knew better.

Until I took it out of the oven, let it cool, then tried to cut it into neat slices.  This is what it looked like:

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On the plus side, I enjoyed the unexpected tartness of the cherries.

“Do you like the pie?” I enquired as we started to tuck into it.

“Yeah, it’s nice.”

“It’s full of butter”

“Yeah, that’s why it’s nice.”

Although I wouldn’t admit it to his face, I have to agree – for once he’s absolutely right.

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Shortcrust Recipe and Cherry Tart Recipes: (Recipes 1210 and 1261 respectively): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/27-chapter27.html