Marmelade de Fruits D'Automne
Butter of Autumn Fruits with Raisins and Calvados
Country Cooking of France
There can never be too many books on the glory which is French cooking. And this book from Anne Willan is particularly glorious. Filled with photographs of both food and the land, it is a feast for the eyes. However, a book from Willan, much praised as a cooking teacher, is always about more than appearance: her lucid instructions allow even the middling cook to recreate her gilded pleasures eg truffade, the cheese-laden potato cake from the Auvergne. Any Francophile will treasure this book. Hardcover, 390 pp. $59.95.
Makes five 1-cup jars
The flavors of autumn are concentrated in this intense, deep golden Norman fruit butter of apples, pears, and quinces. Looking like ancient, craggy pears, quinces are perfect in preserves, their mellow, perfumed taste developing only with long cooking. They can be hard to find, so you may substitute more of the firm pears (Bosc or Seckel are best). For a non-alcoholic butter, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the Calvados. I like to serve this fruit butter with cold ham, pork, Terrine de Gibier, and, of course for breakfast.
3 tart apples (about 1lb/450 grams total)
3 firm pears (about 1lb/450 grams total)
3 quinces (about 1 1/2lbs/675 grams total)
pared zest strips and juice of 1 lemon
1 quart /1 liter water, more if needed
1/2 cup/125grams golden raisins
3 tablespoons/45ml Calvados
about 4 cups/800 grams sugar, more if needed
Preserving pan, five 1-cup/250ml jam jars
Wipe the apples, pears and quinces, then quarter and core them, leaving the peel. Cut into chunks, put them in the preserving pan with the lemon zest, and add the water; it should almost cover the fruits. Simmer over medium heat until soft, 25 to 40 minutes (quinces can be very slow to cook). Set aside to cool to tepid. Put the raisins in a bowl with the Calvados, add 1/2 cup/125ml hot liquid from the fruit, and leave them to macerate. Sterilize the jam jars.
When the fruit mixture is cool, puree it with its liquid, in batches in a food processor. Measure the volume of puree - there will be about 4 cups/1liter puree - and put the puree in the preserving pan. Stir in an equal volume of sugar. Bring the puree to a boil and boil over high heat stirring often, until it is thick, rich, and holds a ribbon trail when the spoon is lifted, 20 to 25 minutes. Note that the puree scorches easily toward the end of cooking and splashes as you stir.
Take the pan from the heat and let the bubbles subside. Stir in the raisins with their liquid and the lemon juice. Let the butter cool for about 5 minutes, then ladle into the sterilized jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.
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