This month I’m delighted to have been invited to join in the Irish Foodies Cookalong. Basically, a whole bunch of Irish foodies and bloggers get together the first Friday of every month to cook their interpretation of a theme, then post their results on the Facebook page.
This month’s theme is autumn fruit, so I thought it was time to unearth all those blackberries I picked in September, now nestling in the bottom of the freezer.
There are few rules to making liqueurs – let’s face it, bung some fruit in with some alcohol and a ton of sugar and it’s never going to taste bad, but bear in mind the following:
* Store your liqueur in the dark – the beautiful colour of your blackberries will soon be destroyed if exposed to sunlight
*Don’t store in the fridge. The delicate aroma and taste won’t truly come out if the liqueur is cold.
*Dissolve your sugar thoroughly. Whether you’re using my recipe, or steeping fruit in alcohol and then adding a sugar syrup, make sure all the sugar crystals are completely dissolved or they’ll ruin your finished liqueur by appearing in an unpleasant and crunchy fashion in the glass.
400g fresh (or frozen) blackberries
250g cooking apples (weight is after peeling and coring)
600g caster sugar
700ml bottle vodka
Put the blackberries and apple pieces into a saucepan. Pour in 300ml water and bring to the boil. Add the caster sugar, turn it down low and stir just until all the sugar is dissolved and the apples are mushed (technical term).
It may seem like jam making at this point – but think about it – you need the slightly thick stickiness that all good liqueurs have, plus you want the apple to break down.
Leave to cool slightly, then stir through the vodka. Bottle up (make sure your bottles are spotless, either from a hot dishwasher cycle, or a good wash in hot, soapy water and then a final rinse of boiling water), then leave for a couple of weeks in a dark place.
Then all you need to do is strain and rebottle and you have the perfect autumn liqueur. As you can see, it makes enough for three bottles and I only had two, but while it’s steeping, it can live in a jam jar.
Imagine pouring a little of this into a flute and topping up with champagne for a perfect ‘Hedgerow Kir Royale’ this Christmas too!
Oh and can I just say if you’re looking for preserving jars, I highly recommend Patteson’s Glass (http://www.jarsandbottles-store.co.uk/). They sell all sorts of kilners and bottles for home preserving, and they deliver to Ireland – yay! Sadly I discovered them too late for this recipe, but I’ll be using their lovely bottles to make some sloe gin very soon.