Hands up who wants a Kir Royale ?
Form an orderly queue now
Let me enlighten you – creme de cassis is blackcurrant liqueur added to white wine, typically a white burgundy or a Petilant/Cava/sparkling wine – but we knew that already didn’t we! Creme de Mures is it’s hedgerow cousin. Cassis is a relative of Dijon, Mures is more likely to hail from Normandy. But right now it resides quite happily in a kitchen near a Promenade.
As its blackbrerry season this recipe couldn’t be better timed. Make it now and you can sip and sup at Christmas or New Year or any other celebration you fancy, you can invent your own celebrations – that’s allowed.
I’ve been collecting small bowls and bags of blackberries as they ripen, washing them, weighing them and then popping them in the freezer until the moment arrived when I had enough to really get cooking.
The thing I forgot was that I already had two bags of blackberries left over from last year. Oh well, chuck those in too – the more the merrier !
I searched around for recipes – the creme de cassis seems to typically be made of eau de vie (vodka can be substituted), mures uses red wine. All the recipes involved sugar.
The recipe I used in the end came from Visit Normandy, nice and simple, included all the main ingredients and looked like a winner. The recipe is copied in full below. The only special equipment I had to get were some Jelly Bags (here’s a link on how to make them, I bought mine from a hardware/ kitchen shop) so the berries could be drained. The other things you will need include a large bowl or two, a stick blender / food processor, a ladle and a jug, a large pan with a lid, and if you can get some help an extra pair of hands turned out to be very useful.
- 1.5 kg blackberries (or blackcurrants, raspberries or myrtilles)
- 2 litres decent, medium-bodied red wine
- Wash the fruit, dain it and put it in a large bowl, now mash it with a stick blender or food processor.
- Add red wine and leave it to macerate in a covered bowl for 48 hours in a cool place. Our kitchen is fairly cool so I left it on the worktop and it was fine.
- Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth or jelly bags. This was the tricky part as you have to get the wine/berry mixture into the bags without making too much mess, and another pair of hands definitely came in useful. Use a large ladle or jug to pur the wine/berry mix into the bag. I then hung the jelly bags from hooks on the kitchen cupboards with a bowl underneath. Two jelly bags were needed to take this amount of berries and wine
- A tip on the packet of Jelly Bags said not to squeeze the bags when the fruit/liquid mixture is in them or it can make the liquid cloudy – so resist the temptation to squeeze and prod!
- When the liquid has seeped through the bags, this took about an hour or two, weigh it and empty it into a large pan.
- Now weigh out the equivalent weight of sugar (liquid-sugar should be an qual ratio)
- Bring the mixture to the boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool to about 40 degrees (tepid) then strain again (if necessary) and bottle in clean/sterilised bottles.
I found this amount makes about four to five 75ml bottles. If you have smaller bottles that’s great as they will make perfect presents. The crême de mûres (or cassis, or myrtilles) is ready to drink after a couple of weeks and will keep indefinitely.
Cheers my friends ! Now who was first in the queue?
There was a teeny bit that didn’t fit into the bottles so was poured into a glass …….. someone had to make sure it was ok to drink ……. it tastes amazing! Syrupy and blackberry, you can’t taste the wine, but don’t be fooled, this is strong stuff!
So are you making any liqueurs this summer/autumn? I think the next batch I make will be Limoncello…….