Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mes Confitures Gewurtztraminer Wine Jelly

Heaven on Earth.  Once it is done, and you have exorcised your jam and jelly demons, that is.  For my birthday last month, my beautiful friend Midget gave me a lovely book called Mes Confitures by the renowned pastry chef, Christine Ferber, who is equally well-known for her exquisite jams and jellies.

It is a good thing that this jelly turned out stunningly beautiful and absolutely the most interesting and tasty jelly I have ever placed on my tongue because if it hadn't...I may have cried.  But it did and it was.  This recipe popped out to me (and I will be using more of the elegant recipes from Mes Confitures to experiment and learn) because it sounded fresh, crisp, and delicious, just like the apples and white wine required to make it, and because...who can go wrong with some good wine as an ingredient?

The recipe called for 1-3/4 pounds of Granny Smith apples, wine, water, sugar, orange zest, and juice from one lemon.  Sounded easy enough, but after cooking 1-3/4 cups of apples and sifting them through a sieve laced in cheesecloth, I had exactly 1/2 cup of juice and the recipe goes on to say you need 2 cups + 1 ounce of juice to complete the recipe.  I went back to the store twice to get enough apples to create that much juice...3 days later, I make my mixture. 

Apples cooking
Next day, it hadn't set.  In fact, it looked like liquid.  Argh!  I worked too hard to make another syrup, so I popped off the lids, threw them away, re-boiled the mixture with pectin, re-sealed the jars...and voila!  8 perfect half-pints of paradise...okay, second time around it only filled seven 8-oz. jars + one 4-oz jar and I ate the remaining 2 ounces with a spoon like it was Jell-O.  Mmmm....

You know you want some.
In re-hashing my experience with Grandma Irma, she informed me that if I had just left the poor little jars alone that the jelly would likely have set and I wouldn't have wasted my time or my lids or pectin (Granny Smith apples have a very high pectin content).  I chalked it up to a learning experience.  I am no Christine Ferber, and I am surely no Grandma Irma. 

My only suggestions if you undergo this recipe are these:  1)  Buy at least 10-15 Granny Smith Apples.  If you have more than enough, bake a pie with the remaining or eat with hot caramel; and  2)  Buy 2 bottles of wine, not 1, and drink one while you work.  This will keep you calm when things don't go as planned.  xo, A.

One for me, One for you.