Aigre Doux

fillmeupI have wanted to make an aigre doux (meaning bitter sweet) recipe out of The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant since last summer.   It isn’t that I didn’t have the will to create a totally random new type of recipe but I didn’t have the nerve to use a huge quantity of fruit ($$$) on a recipe that calls for pickling fruit in wine and vinegar.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out and it seemed pretty costly to try something so unknown.  Then Chapman’s happened and I found myself with 7+ pounds of fruit, a bottle of bargain Whole Foods (seriously – $3) wine in the rack and a blissfully unplanned Saturday, on a holiday weekend no less.  The time was right, the fruit was ripe and I was totally ready.   This is a basic standard pickling style recipe.

  • boil jars
  • make liquid
  • pack jars with fruit
  • pour liquid in
  • cap and boil

And then the chaos began.  First jar out of the pot.  I set it on my white (lunacy) kitchen towel and immediately red wine is oozing out of every inch of the lid.  I panic and shove the jar back in the pot and turn it off.  I move the pot–it’s giant–off the burner and let the whole shooting match cool for 10 or 15 minutes–while cursing poor Michelin starred Paul Virant.  It should sit in the hot water and cool a little before it is pulled out –just until the boiling starts because the contents inside the jars are boiling too at this point.   I pray that everything seals and wait.  Fast forward to Monday afternoon.  I check the seals.  They actually seem to have sealed and don’t appear to be ready to kill me so I open a jar (wearing a white tee shirt I don’t want to talk about-more lunacy) and reopen The Preservation Kitchen.  I mix up a TBD cocktail using the blueberry aigre doux, freshly grated and pressed ginger juice, simple syrup, lime juice and vanilla.   I think that Paul Virant is on to something.

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