Saturday, 27 August 2016

Each Peach, Pear, Plum...

All this, and apples too.

It gives me huge pleasure to look out on my French fruit trees in my little corner of the Auvergne and see them all laden.
The view this morning
Despite a heatwave, I have been happily boiling, potting and labelling up jars of jam, chutney and jelly and making cakes, pies and compotes with it all.

For each of the recipes in this blog post, you can substitute peaches, pears or plums for the apple.
The peaches will be ready in a couple of weeks

Maybe another week on the pears

But the apples are plentiful!

When we drove up, the fireworks to celebrate Assumption Day lit up the path and showed bucketfuls of windfall apples already lying on the ground. Swift action was required.

I made my first batch of Apple and Thyme Jelly the next day.

You need 3lbs of windfall or cooking apples, 3 lbs of sugar,  a litre of water, 1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme and half a bottle of liquid pectin.

Wash and trim the apples of any bad bits, chop and core them but leave the peel on.
Put the fruit in the pan with the water, cover and simmer until the fruit is soft enough to mash with a potato masher.

Spoon the mixture into a clean jelly bag and leave overnight to drip into a bowl. You will collect a surprising amount of juice.
Drain through a jelly bag
Make the juice up to a litre again if necessary and put back in the pan with the sugar.
Bring to a rolling boil and boil rapidly for 2 minutes.
Add the thyme and boil for another 2 minutes.
Add the pectin and boil for another minute.
Place a spoonful of the mixture on a cold saucer and test for a set. It should part easily when you run a finger through it, without running back, and the surface should wrinkle. If not, keep boiling and testing until you are satisfied.

When ready to set, skim the surface and strain once again to remove the thyme. It will have worked its magic.

Pour into sterilised jars ( a hot wash in the dishwasher does the trick) and label.

Pour into sterilised jars
It will be set and ready to eat even by the following morning.

This recipe makes 5 lbs of jelly.

A huge thunderstorm brought down another bucket full of apples-

and these I made into compote (stewed with ginger, cinnamon and sugar and then mashed ) for the freezer.
Apple Compote

I also made chutney.

Here is my Curried Apple and Sultana Chutney recipe:

You need 500g of sultanas, 1.5 kg of peeled and chopped apples, 2 large onions (chopped), 3-4 big garlic cloves (crushed), 1 -2 dessertspoons powdered ginger, 1 heaped tablespoon of curry powder, 675g of sugar, 2 tsp salt, 1 litre of cider vinegar.
Put all the ingredients in a heavy pan and mix thoroughly. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes or until you have the right consistency ( a wooden spoon scraped through a dollop of the mixture should leave a gap which doesn't quickly refill with liquid ).
Pot up in sterilised jars, seal and label.

Curried Apple and Sultana Chutney

This will be repeated when the peches de vigne are ripe- same recipe but I will leave out the curry powder and add some chopped crystallized ginger.

Poaching pears with star anise

The pears I will poach with star anise and keep in the freezer for trifles, tarts and other desserts.

Chocolate and Pear Tartlets

I am reminded of a French counting rhyme which used to delight my pupils- back in the mists of time when I was a teacher.
See original image

Pomme, peche, poire, abricot
Y'en a une, y'en a une
Pomme, peche, poire, abricot
Y'en a une qui est en trop.

Except in this household there is nothing ever en trop!

Happy fruit picking!