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Q&A -- Autumn and Festive Preserves

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#1 eGCI Team

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 01:52 AM

Please post your questions here for Autumn and Festive Preserves.

#2 jackal10

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 05:24 PM

I'm stunned by the silence.
The unit has been up for 12 hours or so

Wot, no questions? No comments on the food porn pix, or the Satanic overtones of Xmas food and customs?

#3 Brad S

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 05:50 PM

The Quince methode is very imformitive,I have never heard it called "cheese" before.Can you tell us where that term for membrilla (sp)came from? Also,is Manghego the match made in heaven for quince paste?
Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

#4 tejon

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 07:26 PM

One question: could you share a recipe for hard sauce, please?

As for the food porn pictures....truly gorgeous. Now I really wish I had a yard and a garden.

Edited by tejon, 05 November 2003 - 07:28 PM.

Kathy

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#5 jackal10

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 01:00 AM

The Quince methode is very imformitive,I have never heard it called "cheese" before.Can you tell us where that term for membrilla (sp)came from? Also,is Manghego the match made in heaven for quince paste?

Cheese is an old english term for a concentrated fruit paste.
Less concentrated (but more than jam) is is fruit butter
Even more concentrated it becomes fruit leather.
Traditionally fruit cheeses were made in plate-like disc, which were then stacked together with sugar and spices for winter storage, and I guess looked rather like an uncut cheese.
There are also served like, and with, cheese for example on the cheese board. People cut slices to go on their bread.

Membrillo is simply the Spanish for Quince. Dulce de Membrillo means sweets made of quince. Indirectly Marmelade is derived from the same word.

Manchego, or any sharp cheese is indeed a match made in heaven for quince paste.
Even better is a blue cheese such as aged Stilton. That is stellar.

Edited by jackal10, 06 November 2003 - 01:02 AM.


#6 jackal10

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 01:10 AM

One question: could you share a recipe for hard sauce, please?

Hard Sauce

4 oz (125g) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz (125g) caster or light brown sugar
Juice of half a lemon
4 tbs rum or brandy
Grating of nutmeg

Cream or whizz the sugar and the butter, grate in a little nutmeg.
Slowly beat in (or add to the whizzer) the liquids.
Put in an attractive pot in the fridge.
It will keep for several weeks.
Traditional with Xmas pud, mince pies, and great on toast.

#7 Mottmott

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:10 PM

Another outstanding lesson, Jack. I found the grapefruit peel recipe interesting. I've done peel, but never left the fruit on. Have to try it your way. I really like homemade peel, the taste, the texture. I may also try the mincemeat which looks scrumptious.

Also, I wonder if you have a recipe for marron glacee in your kit?
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#8 jackal10

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 01:13 AM

Also, I wonder if you have a recipe for marron glacee in your kit?

Marron Glace are something I always buy. Its hard to make quality ones at home, and the process is time consuming and fiddly. They fall apart and you end up using the bits in chocolates, or chestnut balls, or Mont Blanc recipes, and the whole thing costs more in money, as well as time and frustration than buying in. I also find them too sweet.

Peeling chestnuts is a pain, and difficult to keep the nut whole. When I need chestnuts to cook with, or for stuffing I buy the vacuum packed whole ready peeled nuts. Whole fresh nuts are best for roasting by a blazing fire, and eating with salt and loved ones...

Since a quick Google doesn't reveal any reasonable recipes online (only ones packed in jars of syrup, which is not the same) here is a recipe adapted form HMSO Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables, that essential book referenced in the last unit.

2lb/1Kg sweet chestnuts
1lb/500g sugar
1 lb/500g glucose or dextrose
1 lb/500g additional sugar to glace
vanilla pod

Snip the tops off the chestnuts, and scald for 3 minutes then peel, including all the brown inner skin.
Put into fresh cold water, and slowly bring to the boil, simmer until tender.
Drain carefully The chestnuts need gentle handling, as they fall apart soon as look at them.
Make a syrup from 1lb/500g sugar, the glucose, and 1/2 pt/ 300ml water. Bring to the boil, add the chestnuts (carefully), bring back to the boil Remove from the heat and leave, covered, until the next day.
Next day bring back to the boil, uncovered, remove from the heat and cover, and leave until the next day
The third day add a vanilla pod, or 8 drops of true vanilla essence, bring back to the boil, let get cold, and then take out the chestnuts very carefully and let drain on a wire rack over a tray or newspaper where the sticky drippings don't matter. Many of the chestnuts will have fallen apart, and you can either roll the bits into balls, or stir into good melted chocolate, or pass through a sieve to make Mont Blanc.
Next day (day 4) Make a glace syrup with 1lb/500g sugar and 1/4 pt/150ml water, Bring the syrup to a boil, then keep warm. Put some in a cup, and individually dip in the chestnuts, before letting them dry on a rack. If the syrup goes cloudy throw it out and replace it with fresh warm syrup. Put the rack in a warm (100F/30C) dry place until dry, turning the marron occaisionally. Wrap up the marron invidually in something airtight, and store sealed, otherwise they will get damp. If the atmosphere is damp when drying they won't dry and will go mouldy.

Good luck. Its a challenge, and not one I think worthwhile, when good marron can be bought.

Edited by jackal10, 08 November 2003 - 01:24 AM.


#9 fifi

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 06:10 AM

I take it that those lovely pictures of the fruit trees were taken in your garden... the garden to die for?

I will be trying the grapefruit peel for a holiday treat. We should be getting the Texas ruby reds in soon.

Have you ever tried to candy peppers? I have tried many methods and they always collapse into stringy ugly things. I saw some candied red jalapenos used as a garnish (I think it was in a Martha recipe) and they looked like strips of ruby. Mine always look like shriveled bird droppings. Any suggestions?
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#10 jackal10

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 06:48 AM

Thanks.
We are fortunate to have 5 acres of old orchard here, mostly apples, pears and plums, so the damson tree was here when we bought the property. I put in the quince tree a few years ago, and this is the first year it has had anything like a decent crop. Too good even, and I keep trying to find new uses for the Quinces - pickled, in pies, baked, jelly...

I've never tried to candy peppers, but I guess it will depend heavily on variety. Some Jalapeno varieties have thicker walls than others, but most hot peppers have thin walls. You would also need a recipe that doesn't keep them in the sugar too long, so traditional glace fruit recipes, like the marron glace recipe would not work. I guess I'd try with red bell peppers, grilled, skinned and sliced, and then boiled in sugar syrup as in the grapefruit recipe but only for 10 minutes, with some hot peppers added for flavour.

Edited by jackal10, 08 November 2003 - 06:54 AM.


#11 Mottmott

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 07:02 AM

Also, I wonder if you have a recipe for marron glacee in your kit?

Marron Glace are something I always buy. Its hard to make quality ones at home, and the process is time consuming and fiddly. They fall apart and you end up using the bits in chocolates, or chestnut balls, or Mont Blanc recipes, and the whole thing costs more in money, as well as time and frustration than buying in. I also find them too sweet.

Peeling chestnuts is a pain, and difficult to keep the nut whole. When I need chestnuts to cook with, or for stuffing I buy the vacuum packed whole ready peeled nuts. Whole fresh nuts are best for roasting by a blazing fire, and eating with salt and loved ones...

Since a quick Google doesn't reveal any reasonable recipes online (only ones packed in jars of syrup, which is not the same) here is a recipe adapted form HMSO Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables, that essential book referenced in the last unit.

2lb/1Kg sweet chestnuts
1lb/500g sugar
1 lb/500g glucose or dextrose
1 lb/500g additional sugar to glace
vanilla pod

Snip the tops off the chestnuts, and scald for 3 minutes then peel, including all the brown inner skin.
Put into fresh cold water, and slowly bring to the boil, simmer until tender.
Drain carefully The chestnuts need gentle handling, as they fall apart soon as look at them.
Make a syrup from 1lb/500g sugar, the glucose, and 1/2 pt/ 300ml water. Bring to the boil, add the chestnuts (carefully), bring back to the boil Remove from the heat and leave, covered, until the next day.
Next day bring back to the boil, uncovered, remove from the heat and cover, and leave until the next day
The third day add a vanilla pod, or 8 drops of true vanilla essence, bring back to the boil, let get cold, and then take out the chestnuts very carefully and let drain on a wire rack over a tray or newspaper where the sticky drippings don't matter. Many of the chestnuts will have fallen apart, and you can either roll the bits into balls, or stir into good melted chocolate, or pass through a sieve to make Mont Blanc.
Next day (day 4) Make a glace syrup with 1lb/500g sugar and 1/4 pt/150ml water, Bring the syrup to a boil, then keep warm. Put some in a cup, and individually dip in the chestnuts, before letting them dry on a rack. If the syrup goes cloudy throw it out and replace it with fresh warm syrup. Put the rack in a warm (100F/30C) dry place until dry, turning the marron occaisionally. Wrap up the marron invidually in something airtight, and store sealed, otherwise they will get damp. If the atmosphere is damp when drying they won't dry and will go mouldy.

Good luck. Its a challenge, and not one I think worthwhile, when good marron can be bought.



Thanks for the recipe and the advice. I did google around to find a marron glacee recipe with no success. I guess its absence should have been a tip off. I'll take your advice and turn my energy to other things - mincemeat being high on the list.
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#12 FoodMan

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 02:35 PM

I bottle (70cl) full strength gin, as the water in the fruit will dilute it


Excellent unit with fantastic pics as always Jack!

I will defenitly try the apple jelly and that great looking Damson gin. A couple of questions:
What do you mean full strength?? will 80 proof be good or do I need to look for 100? Also what other plums can I use if I cannot find Damson?

Thanks
Elie

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Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#13 jackal10

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 03:30 PM

What do you mean full strength?? will 80 proof be good or do I need to look for 100? Also what other plums can I use if I cannot find Damson?

I used 40% gin (80 proof). A recent sad trend is for many famous Gins, like Gordons are now sold in lower strengths. If you can get a higher proof gin, like a Plymouth Gin (85 proof) then it will be all the better. However I find 100 proof too strong to drink without dilution.

You need a small strongly flavoured cooking plum. Wild plums, like sloes or Bullaces work well.

#14 itch22

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 09:55 PM

In regards to the gin, can you recommend any good online resources or books for further elaboration of the variations with other fruits and/or alcohols?
-- Jason

#15 jackal10

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 02:24 AM

In regards to the gin, can you recommend any good online resources or books for further elaboration of the variations with other fruits and/or alcohols?

There is surprisingly little out there. I adapted this one from a sloe gin recipe in Dorothy Hartley's Food in England". Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall reccomends using Vodka instead of gin, and gives a recipe in his "The River Cottage Cookbook" You may have seen the TV series. Its traditionally hedgrow stuff - blackberries work well too.

I guess there must be professional books, but I've not fond any. The closest are books on food flavoring extractions, such as Merory "food flavourings, composition, extraction and use". Many natural food flavour concentrates start with an alcoholic extraction.
There are odd chapters in home brew books, such as Suzanne Beedell "Wine Making and Home Brewing" (mine is Sphere books, 1969)
Very old cookery books often have drink recipes, for example from Mrs Rundell "Domestic cookery by a Lady"(1869)
Raspberry Brandy
Pick fine fruit, put intoi a stone jar and the jar into a kettle of water or on a hot hearth till the juice run; strain and to every pint add half a pound of sugar, give one boil and skim it; when cold put equal quantities of juice and brandy, shake well and bottle. Some people prefer it stronger of brandy.

In the previous century "English Housewifery" (Elizabeth Moxon 1790) advises (I quote directly, as I think copyright has expired! The letter s in the middle of a word was written as an f without the bar.)
To make Rafberry Brandy:
Take a gallon of the beft brandy you can get, and gather your rafberries when they are full ripe and put them whole into your brandy. To every gallon of brandy take three quarts of rafps, Let them ftand clofe and covered for a month, then clear it form the rafps, and put to it a pound of loaf fugar; when the fugar is diffolved and a little fettled bottle it and keep it for ufe.
The book goes on to give reciepts for black cherry, lemon, ratafia (apricot kernal) brandy and cowslip cordial.

Very old books such as "The Closet of the Eminently learned Sir Kenelm Digby, newly opened by his son (1669) have mead or metheglin (fruit mead) recipes. Cordials were made in the Still room, and you may find A Plain Plantain, a Still Room Book: Madam Susanna Avery, Her Book, May ye 12th Anno Domini 1688. There are still copies of the limited edition published by the Herb Growers Society in 1950 occaisionally available.

#16 tjaehnigen

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 10:38 AM

I have a question about the mince pie recipe.

There is a reference to the meat part of the 'mincemeat', but it was not included in the recipe. I am interested in creating a completely authentic mincemeat pie -- thus it needs to include the meat.

Got any tips or suggestions? The recipes I have found thus far talk about ground meat, but it does not clearly state if it is to be groud prior to cooking or only after cooking (and whether or not the mixture is to cool first before continuing with the recipe, etc). It also does not give indications as to time needed to cook, or even until a certain event occurs (like 'until the onions are soft' as an example).

So, if you have any tips on how to include meat in the pie and in what manner, I would be very interested in this. THANKS!

#17 Jensen

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 03:59 PM

I have a question about the mince pie recipe.

There is a reference to the meat part of the 'mincemeat', but it was not included in the recipe. I am interested in creating a completely authentic mincemeat pie -- thus it needs to include the meat.

Got any tips or suggestions?

I would think the suet in Jack's recipe would fulfill the "meat" requirement, wouldn't it?

Jen
(Now, the trick is to find suet in California; it's not kept in the grocer's freezer like it is at home ...)

#18 jmcgrath

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 05:37 PM

Green Tomato Chutney

The ingredient's list does not include vinegar, but the directions do. Suggested quantity, please. No hurry, tomato season is well past here in New England.

Jim

#19 jackal10

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 01:31 AM

Oops

The amount is 1pt/750mls vinegar.

The best kidney suet (the fat from around the kidneys of beef carcases) should be available from a good old-fashioned butcher that does their own cutting. Cheap too, since its essentially a by-product.

The short answer for meat in mincemeat is to add cooked chopped beef tongue, in the same weight as suet. For a very long answer I have posted some historic recipes, such as those of Sir Kenelm Digby of 1669 in the thread om Mincemeat pies.

#20 eGCI Team

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 03:54 AM

Vinegar added to the ingredients list.

#21 kumquat

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 08:16 AM

Thanks Jackal for a wonderful lesson and beautiful photos. I will be making the apple jelly as soon as I have the time. The chilli version sounds really interesting but I'm not sure about how it'll taste. Can you give me an idea?

#22 jackal10

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 08:24 AM

Thanks Jackal for a wonderful lesson and beautiful photos. I will be making the apple jelly as soon as I have the time. The chilli version sounds really interesting but I'm not sure about how it'll taste. Can you give me an idea?

I've not made it myself but I guess hot, sweet and if vinegar is added sour, but otherwise fairly neutral, sort of a solid chilli sweet sauce.
Perhaps others can say. I belive it is a staple in in Southern US

#23 jackal10

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 08:25 AM

This is my thousand'th post!!

#24 Anna N

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 10:52 AM

Congratulations Jack! And not just your 1000th post but 1000 posts worth reading.

Anna
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#25 gsquared

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 11:09 AM

Congratulations, Jack! Now - 6 eGCI courses done, only 994 left to go.....
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#26 Monica Bhide

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 11:15 AM

Congrats!! Jack -- this is wonderful. here is to many many more -- CHEERS!!
Monica Bhide

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#27 jmcgrath

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 04:33 PM

There is a reference to the meat part of the 'mincemeat', but it was not included in the recipe. I am interested in creating a completely authentic mincemeat pie -- thus it needs to include the meat.

The Fannie Farmer "Boston Cooking-School Cookbook" has two recipes for mincemeat that contain beef. Interestingly, she also provides a recipe for English mincemeat that contains no beef. My old "Joy of Cooking" also has a mincemeat recipe containing beef.

Jim

Edited by jmcgrath, 13 November 2003 - 12:12 AM.


#28 jmcgrath

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 12:11 AM

I made crab apple jelly tonight, following the course directions. It was my first time ever making jelly. Needless to say, the crab apples were well past their prime. We've been through a few freezes, and the apples although still attached to the tree were prettty much mush. I wish the class had been published a month ago. I decided that at most, I would be out the cost of a few pounds of sugar and decided to go for it. I used generic supermarket sugar, so it is most likely beet rather than cane sugar. I'll leave comments on the politics of this for some other forum.

I picked what I guessed was about six pounds of apples, left them whole, added the water, boiled for an hour and strained the juice. I ended up with two pints of juice. I added two pints of sugar which is about two pounds and started boiling again. I reached a good boil quickly at about 213F but the temperature just hung in at around 215F for what seemed like a long time. It took about a half hour of boiling to reach 221F. I canned the result in half pint Ball jars.

I'm very happy with the end product. I've never had crab apple jelly before. It is quite tart and has a lovely redish hue.

BTW, what are apple pips?

Jim

#29 jackal10

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 12:23 AM

BTW, what are apple pips?

Glad it worked OK.
Pips are the seeds.

Apple jelly on dark rye is a good combination..

Edited by jackal10, 13 November 2003 - 12:34 AM.


#30 jmcgrath

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 11:52 PM

Mincemeat the Hard Way

I must have way time on my hands to have gotten involved in this. A post by tjaehnigen asked about the absence of meat in mincemeat. I went back through some old cookbooks and found a few recipes. The one that intrigued me the most was one from Fannie Farmer’s “Boston Cooking-School Cookbook”. I think what was most interesting to me is that it called for a quart of brandy. Any recipe that calls for a quart of brandy is interesting. My adaptation of “Mince Pie Meat I” follows. The recipe makes a lot of mincemeat and takes a lot of time. I used my largest stockpot, which I also use for making beer. I can easily boil 5 gallons of wort in it

I started with 4 pounds of the cheapest lean beef I could find. It cost about $13. Also, 2 pounds of suet for about $2. $15 already. This is starting to add up I covered with water and simmered until the beef was tender. I should have cut the beef into chunks and chopped the suet. I did neither. The beef took about 4 hours to become tender, but only about half the suet had rendered. I transferred the unrendered suet to a saucepan, and moved the stockpot containing broth, beef and rendered suet to a cold porch. I carefully rendered the remaining suet in a covered pan over low heat and added it to the stockpot. This took about an additional half hour. After the stock had chilled and the rendered suet had solidified, I removed the suet and beef. I reduced the broth to one and a half cups of stock.

I chopped the beef and measured its volume. I had ten cups. I needed double that volume of peeled, cored and chopped apples. I just happened to have 9 Macintoshes, which were about 8 cups when chopped. I picked up some Granny Smiths to provide the additional 12 cups, about $5.00 more. The original recipe called for Baldwin apples, but I used what I had available. I added 3 quinces at $5.37, peeled, cored and chopped, and the rendered suet.

All of this went back into the big stockpot. I added the stock, 3 pounds of sugar, a pint of molasses at $2.49, a half-gallon of apple cider for which I lost track of the cost, 4 pounds of raisins at about $8.00 and 3 pounds of currants at $7.50. I had never used currents before. Googling it taught me that there are two kinds of currents. I used Zante currants, which are the dried form of Zante grapes. Also added was a half-pound of Citron at about $4.00. For those interested, Citron is a citrus fruit similar to a lemon. All of this got simmered for two hours.

Finally I added the last ingredients, a quart of brandy. I bought a 1.75 liter bottle of E&J brandy for around $21, a half tablespoon each of cinnamon and mace, two grated nutmegs, about a tablespoon and a half in total, and a teaspoon of pepper and a teaspoon of salt.

Side notes: The quinces did a number on my carbon steel chef’s knife. I recommend using a stainless steel knife to chop them. My total cost was around $50 and most of a day devoted to mincemeat.

Jim





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