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Saturday, September 29

Preparing the Christmas Cassis...

It's around this time of year that I start to prepare for Christmas.
As the days get colder and I spend more time inside,
I search the internet and my craft room for inspiration to make Christmas gifts and decorations for my family and freinds.
However, I couldn't resist buying this decoration the other day...
It goes perfectly on the dresser with my red and white china collection.
Today, I decided to make some "Christmas Cassis" - a blackcurrant liqueur.
A french lady taught me how to make this years ago and it has its origins in nineteenth century France.  It has many uses and can be drunk as a liquer, add sparkling water for a refreshing drink, plus it's syrupy texture makes it perfect for pouring over ice cream, tarts or meringues and a tablespoon added to a hearty beef stew will give your meal a real lift.
It is normally made with either brandy or gin, but you can also use vodka.  
To make it more "Christmassy" you can add some festive spice by adding a cinnamon stick and whole clove. (only one of each though, or it can be a little overpowering).
You will need:
450gms of blackcurrents
450gms caster sugar
600ml Brandy, Gin or Vodka
I use frozen black currants. (You can use fresh too, just discard all the stalks and leaves and give them a good wash).
Then into a sterilised jar, place the blackcurrants, sugar and brandy/gin/vodka.
Give it a good stir, crushing the blackcurrants as you go, then srew on the lid nice and tight.
Your drink will now turn a nice red colour which will darken over the next few weeks. You will need to let the fruit ferment for about a month, stirring and turning the jar two or three times a week.
After a month, you pass the mixture through a sieve into sterilised bottles and seal tightly.
At the end of October, I will be blogging about this and decorating the bottles to make a really personal gift... but first to find the bottles -keeping my eyes open for some nicely shaped ones!