Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Libations of the 1840s

Now that summer is here I have been going to our weekly farmer's market and enjoying the bounty of the season: peaches, plums, cherries, squash, strawberries, blackberries, etc., etc.

I made a batch of Brandy Peaches and Cherry Brandy this weekend and will be sharing my culinary adventures with you over the next few weeks / months.  
California Brandy from Korbel.  I used two of these!
 I followed the recipe below from Mrs. Ellis's Housekeeping Made Easy, Or Complete Instructor in All Branches of Cookery and Domestic Economy (1843)
Brandy Peaches (1843)
Eight whole peaches.  I added a vanilla bean for extra flavor.
The Cherry Brandy (New Method) recipe from French Domestic Cookery (1846) was much more time consuming to prepare to stone all the fruit, boil it down with sugar until is reduced, etc., especially compared with the recipe I used last year, which was merely throwing in the cherries, some sugar, and some spices into a jar with brandy and letting them mingle for awhile! 
Reduced cherries and their juice in the bottle and crock behind. 
I won't be able to follow the recipe exactly, since I was supposed to start the cherries weeks ago when the first batch came into season, and then strain them out and add another later season variety of cherries.  I'll probably strain out the cherries after three weeks and check the flavor.  If it could stand a few more weeks to age with the cherries I'll go for it.  And not wanting anything to go to waste, I'll cook the strained cherries in some sugar and reduce them down farther to make a nice ice cream topping.

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