Saturday, March 19, 2016

Black Currant and Wine Jelly Toast Topper #66

I'll admit that when it comes to making jam and jelly, I'm a slave to added pectin. I know there are times when I don't need it (Backyard Grape Jam, for instance) thanks to the natural pectin in the fruit, and if I'm making a full-sugar preserve as written (like this Blood Orange and Cranberry Marmalade) I will abstain.

The problem for me is that to activate the pectin, you need sugar. And a lot of it. Since the whole point of me making jam at home (well, one of the points) is to make a healthier Toast Topper for the pantry, adding a bucket of sugar to a recipe doesn't really compute. That said, I'm always learning! I've discovered agar and gelatin do a bang-up gelling job, and recently I discovered a technique in Miyoko Schinner's book The Homemade Vegan Pantry that relies on the power of both reduction and arrowroot starch to solidify the spread.

Black Currant and Primitivo Wine Jam

Now, this isn't a "jelly-like" condiment like what you'd normally find on the shelf, but a slightly thicker-than-apple butter spread. Regardless of what you call it though, the combination of currant juice and "Doppio Passo" wine reduces to a semi-sweet, mellow, elegantly flavoured syrup, which I added dried currants to for contrasting texture and more of a "jam like" feel.  A bit of sweet blood orange juice helped cut down the need for extra sugar and heightened the fruity notes in both wine and juice. The recipe is still somewhat high in sugar by my standards, but the tartness of the currants and the tannins in the wine need it - you want to enjoy your healthier spread, after all!

While I didn't can my jelly (it disappeared too fast!) the cookbook says you can waterbath can it. I'm not too sure what the standards are for starch-thickened recipes, so I suggest storing this in the fridge and making small batches as needed!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Black Currant and Wine Jelly
Makes ~3 cups, 48 (1 tbsp) servings
3 fl. oz red wine (I used Doppio Passo Botter Primitivo Salento IGT)
3 cups black currant juice
¼ cup orange juice (I used blood orange juice)
3 tbsp dried currants
¾ cup sugar
3 tbsp arrowroot starch
¼ cup cold water
  1. Cook the wine, juices, currants and sugar over medium heat until reduced by half and syrupy, about 45 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the arrowroot and water and add to the syrupy mixture.
  3. Simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thick.
  4. Pour into jars and refrigerate up to 2 months.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 23.3
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.1 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.0 g