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Fruit Brandy from FC mag is here!

mangia!'s picture

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Wanted to find the "eaux de vie" featured on the back of the May '99 issue, and found this! Enjoy!click here

mangia!'s picture

(post #25626, reply #1 of 11)

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P.S. Takes a while to load, but worth it if you're interested. Lots of info re: each type they make; methods; reviews; prices; etc. Plus they have small $4.00 bottles if you just want to try one out, or use for one specific recipe etc.

mangia!'s picture

(post #25626, reply #2 of 11)

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Can anyone tell me what Grappa most closely resembles? Am tempted to buy it for a pannetone recipe I want to make, but am also wondering what liquor that I already have would be most like it.
Haven't tried Grappa yet. Also, anyone know what proof it is?

Am also wondering why sometimes recipes call for rum extract, and sometimes for rum itself? (Same with brandy etc.) When or why is one more appropriate than the other?

Also, whenever I've used Kirsch it's been awfully sweet. Is Kirshwasser less sweet, or just another name for the same thing? How could you get the cherry flavor without so much cloying sweetness? (Just to start with a few of my liquor questions!)

I was also surprised that Calvados (called for in so many apple recipes) though made from apple, doesn't really taste like apples. Seems any strong brandy would do.

I'm interested in the whys and wherefores of liquors and extracts in desserts. It seems so far when I've used a liquor in baking (i.e. Gran Marinier in a cake, brandy in chocolate brandy balls, the flavor hasn't showed up much, but when I've used it in a sauce (raspberry coulis) it's been evident and tasty. I know heat dissipates alcohol, but it shouldn't kill the flavor too should it. Were the recipes poor in proportions?

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25626, reply #3 of 11)

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Hi Nancy,


I'll tackle a couple of your questions.


You are talking basically about two distilled products under the main heading of brandy; the first is fruit-based spirit known generally as Eau-de-Vie, and the second is a spirit distilled from the remnants of wine making, usually called Marc in French and Grappa in Italian.


They are all bone dry; so if you're seeing sweet liqueurs called by these names, the producer is trying to cash in on the reputations of the real products. There should be laws in each country to stop that kind of practice because it tends to confuse the public by blurring distinctions; often giving the real thing a bad name, e.g. your sweet kirschwasser.


Eau-de-Vie

, Marc and Grappa come in various strengths which are directly equated to quality. The lowest you should see will be 40º alcohol, then you may find 42º or 43º. The best are 45º and are often hard to find outside the country of origin. The 45ºs are well worth the additional price you have to pay since the increased intensity of flavour is dramatic.

For cooking, with the exception of a dish like Swiss Fondue which is enhanced with Kirsch, I generally don't use the dry brandies for two reasons: good ones are hard to come by and they usually go into sweet dishes where dry spirit would be wasted. Others here may disagree with me.


For Calvados, try one that comes from Normandy in France to see the flavour they are after. If you can find one called Hors d'Age, which means something like 'beyond age', it's the best from the region. Another exception: Calvados in an apple tart is excellent but I've never run across of a sweet apple liqueur, though it probably exists.


Hope this helps.


Peter


mangia!'s picture

(post #25626, reply #4 of 11)

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Thanks, Peter! Your response prompted me to do a tasting. (And whad-a-ya-know, I can still type!). My husband makes raspberry truffles that are great! We started out with the cheap Dekuyper raspberry liqueur, then got a bottle of Chambord, which is from BLACK raspberries; then picked up a bottle of St. George framboise eau de vie made here, which I hadn't cracked open yet, but I did tonight for science. I knew about the principle of layering to intensify flavors, but I wasn't sure if it was the liquor that was making the truffle so good, or the way my DH cooked down the raspberry puree. Would we miss the liquor if it wasn't there?

Your explanation, along with my taste test shed some light. The first two were sweet, and tasted heavily of the rasp. flavor; the eau de vie was more like white lightning. I think I'd agree with you about it being lost in a sweet dessert. I don't like things that are what I think of as too "sicky-sweet", and find the liqueurs that way to drink. They'd probably be good in a dessert,though. After the initial test of each three, I made myself a concoction of the chambord & the framboise. I liked this to drink. It had the raspberry flavor; some sweetness - not too much; and some kick. I may like this in desserts too, then. A combo.

It also seems, then, that I can use either the Calvados(40%) or the framboise (40%) in the pannetone, since they come awfully close to what the grappa would be. (The Calvados does have a flavor, but I'll bet in a blind tasting not many would identify it as apple). But what is the purpose of this ingredient (the grappa) in the recipe? The kick would be gone, I think, and I don't see what flavor would be contributed. My dad has had the same experience making biscotti. Puts brandy in - can't taste it. I think for baking, I'll go with liqueurs. (I had picked up an apple schnapps before I found the Calvados, and it is more redolent of apples - and again very sweet. Think I'll experiment with a combo of the calvados & the schnapps. Wait - let me do a taste test. Ah yes, very good!

Seriously, Peter, thank you very much. Your input was very helpful! I have a better idea of what I'm buying now, what to look for, and what I want to try putting in my recipes next. Hey, Cook's Illustrated ain't got nothin on me. Bet their taste tests weren't this much fun! Forget that "home exhausted and starving thread!" I've found the answer! (All humor intentional, and not harmful to the reader's or the poster's health.)

Jean_'s picture

(post #25626, reply #5 of 11)

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It was helpful to me too, Peter. Nothing ticks me off more than to read a recipe that calls for "brandy". Duh--which one???

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25626, reply #6 of 11)

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I've never seen it, but I believe that applejack is the American equivalent to Calvados.

I'm curious about the pennetone you're going to make. Is it going to have a cream filling?

Peter.

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25626, reply #7 of 11)

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Hi Jean,

Brandy is a large category that includes not only Eau-de-Vie and Marc, but also Cognac and Armagnac.

When a paricular 'brandy' isn't specified, then the generic spirit distilled from wine is indicated. The spirit you would use to deglaze or flambé with normally.

Peter.

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25626, reply #8 of 11)

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HI again,

To go back to one of your original questions: what to subsititute for grappa? That's a difficult question because the taste is VERY distinctive and I think for most people an acquired taste. Being made from the remnants of wine, the flavours are derived from grape skins, pulp and especially the pips or seeds - there are undoubtedly some twigs in there for good measure (as well as who knows what else).

Grappa is most often the product of a single grape variety. So you get grappa di muscato, grappa di pinot noir and so on. My favourite is the gewertztraminer grape.

I went back to the Clear Creek Distillery Web page and there they list about 6 different varieties. To see what the taste is about, I'd order one of their samples to see if you like it. Choose a grape that you know and like - that will increase the chances of your liking the grappa.

Let me know!

Peter

mangia!'s picture

(post #25626, reply #9 of 11)

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Peter, the pannetone recipe is from Mary Ann Esposito's "Ciao Italia". I haven't made it yet - it calls for a pan at least 6 1/2 inches high, & I haven't found one that high yet, though I did find the citron. She also suggests trying 6x6 inch clay flower pots, so maybe I'll try that. It doesn't have a cream filling, though I'm sure I've seen a recipe for that type recently. Are you looking for one? or have you made one?

alix's picture

(post #25626, reply #10 of 11)

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nancy, you can buy the cardboard, oven-safe pannetone forms from the sur la table catalogue, if there isn't a retail store near you. also, i've heard of fitting a 3" tall cake pan with a few layers of heavy parchment, but have never tried it myself. good luck! and if you have the time, make your own candied citrus, it takes some time, but isn't too hard, you can make a big batch, it lasts almost forever in the fridge.

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25626, reply #11 of 11)

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The reason I asked is because I have had over several Christmas seasons recently "Panettone Gran Farcito". A delectable cake with pockets of filling made from cream of hazelnuts and a liqueur (they don't say which but probably hazelnut) and an outer coating of almonds, chocolate and more hazelnuts - just to touch on the highlights of the ingredients. They are wonderful for the occasion.

I wanted to know how they get the cream filling in before the cake rises and fills the pockets when the cake has baked. Seems somewhat miraculous! Fitting, eh?

So I wondered if you knew.

Peter.