To this day the most popular post on this blog is the one I did last year, at around this time, for Soft Salted Caramels. They were designed to be an edible gift, but I think it is fair to say that quite a few of them never left the houses they were made in. They were delicious.
So this year it seems only right that I post another edible gift.
Let’s be honest, the majority of sweets and chocolate produced around this time of year are aimed at kids. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We get to sip on all those lovely festive alcoholic drinks. But why not combine the two?
Let’s take the lovely warming spices of mulled wine, plus some actual wine (yes, you read that right, there is real wine in these jellies. But worry not, all the alcohol gets cooked out. Of course that may be a disappointment to some of you . . .), add them to some fruit and turn them into melt-in-the-mouth jellies.
These sweets are particularly useful for using up any apples and pears that may have seen better days, which are always easy to accumulate at Christmas because, let’s face it, fruit is by-passed when there are other sugar laden goodies on offer.
Jellies that get to play in a blanket of sugar snow. I am almost jealous.
These jellies are a cross between a fruit pastilles and a wine gum (if you are familiar with either of them), only softer. You really don’t need to chew them because they start to dissolve as soon as you put them in your mouth. They require some stirring and a sugar thermometer but the results are worth it.
Jelly sweets for grown-ups. Yes please!
And in case you were wondering about the lack of plastic festive animals, fear not. Here is one of the deer after he has climbed Mount Jelli-manjaro!
Mulled Wine Fruit Jellies
- 600g apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 300g pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 500ml red wine
- 200ml clementine juice, or orange juice
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp whole cloves
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, optional
- 700g granulated sugar
- 40ml liquid pectin
- 200g caster sugar, for dusting
- Grease a 25 x 20cm tin (one a little larger can be used without any problems, but bear in mind that the larger the tin, the thinner your jellies will be) and line with cling film, leaving some excess to fold over the jelly later.
- Into a medium-sized heavy based saucepan place the apples, pears, wine, clementine juice, half the lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and star anise. Bring to the boil and cook over a high heat for 30 minutes, until the fruit has broken down to a pulp and most of the liquid has evaporated, so you are left with a dark red puree.
- Push the puree through a fine sieve and discard the pulp. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and stir in the vanilla bean paste, if using. Add the granulated sugar and stir.
- Cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Pop in the sugar thermometer and turn the heat up a little. Cook the mixture for approximately 15 minutes, until it reaches 107 Celsius / 224 Fahrenheit, stirring often.
- Add the remaining lemon juice and the liquid pectin and cook until it reaches 115 Celsius / 239 Fahrenheit. If you are unsure whether it has reached setting temperature, drop a little into a glass of cold water and it should form a ball / turn solid without dissolving.
- Carefully pour into the prepared tin and leave to cool.
- Once it has cooled, cover with the extra cling film and leave to set completely for at least 12 hours, ideally overnight.
- Put the caster sugar into a large tray before carefully removing the cling film from the jelly. Using a hot knife (keep a glass of boiling water handy for dipping the knife in to, but dry it before cutting the jelly) cut the jelly into pieces and then roll in the sugar, making sure to coat all the edges.
- Keep in an airtight container in a cool place or the fridge until you’re ready to package them up.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014
Recipe adapted slightly from Jamie Oliver.