Monday, July 27, 2009

Home-made crème de cassis

A couple of weeks ago I put up my annual batch of crème de cassis using the bounty from this year's garden. Here's the black currant bush, already denuded:

And here's a colander full of fresh black currants:

The first time I made this, a few years ago, I found just one recipe on line (in French) after a considerable amount of searching. I tried to search again and now, of course, there are tons of different recipes (still almost all in French) on a variety of websites and message boards. The most interesting departure from what I did before was on where you macerate the currants in burgundy wine. Mm, I think I'll try that next year! Another interesting detail a lot of recipes featured was to put in a few leaves from the plant as well. To me they had a spice, slightly anisey taste:

The recipe is straightforward. Measurements vary but basically you clean the currants and cover them with grain alcohol (I'm all out, good thing it's legal in NY, now—at least that's what I've heard).

Now the currants need to macerate. The biggest change to my method this time around is that whereas previously I have steeped the currants for three days, I found that most recipes recommend something more like three months, so I'm giving it a try.

The jar is sitting in a cupboard and come September I'll strain out the alcohol, boil it, and add some water and sugar—a bit less of both than is called for with the aim of getting a less-sweet and more "currant-forward" liqueur. I'll post photos when the time comes.


Claire said...

You know who to ask for a translation of a crème de cassis recipe, right? I will be curious to see how things turn out in September.

Matt Madden said...

Merci, ma chère.

Claire said...

So, have you peeked yet?? I'd be jumping up and down in front of the bottle if I were you. I was in Jura last week and the guy from the farm where I stayed offered rounds of kir with his home made crème de cassis. It was a killer. I'm hoping for the best with your own "cru".

Matt Madden said...

I'm so busy with other stuff it hasn't even occurred to me to check on it! I'll do the next stage at the end of Sept., once the school year is underway.

Thanks for the encouragement.