Monday, October 17, 2005

Bottled Autumn

Pears. Subtle, yet distinctive. Lots of varieties, none of which I've mastered. Once, I bought four pears at a very nice market, and the checkout clerk asked me what I had in mind for them. "I'm going to poach them in Earl Grey tea," I answered. She said, "Perfect, you picked just the right type for poaching."
Who knew?
I bought a luscious, softly aromatic pear at the farmers' market last week, and I have no idea what kind it was.
But I had this great plan: I was going to infuse 12 ounces of vodka with slices of the pear ― and slices of cucumber! Genius. Inspired.
And you know what? I was right.
It's très sophisticated. Almost Japanese-tasting, if you could even begin to understand what I mean.
The vodka took on a gold color from the oxidizing pears, and even though I filtered it through cheesecloth, there is still some particulate matter in it.


Greg said...

I never had much luck infusing vodka..turned out pretty but tasted nasty. Do you blanch the fruit?

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: No. It's really easy, and I've liked every flavor I've tried. Right now I'm brewing some strawberries with torn-up sage leaves and cracked black pepper!
The quality of the vodka might make a bit of a difference. There's a really surprisingly decent Russian vodka at Trader Joe's for $7-$8 -- for a whole liter! Just throw in some aromatics (herbs, vanilla beans, fruit, or whatever) and give it a shake every few days until you like the taste.
I do my batches in mayonnaise jars, and then filter out the fruit when it's done.
Also, it's not cheating to stir in some simple syrup if you want it sweet.

obachan said...

Wow, you did it! It looks so beautiful. Mine doesn’t look like yours --- it’s in very light amber color. Did you leave the skins on the pears? Anyway, congratulations on your success.

cookiecrumb said...

Yes, obachan, I did leave the skins on. Thank you so much for the kind words, and especially for the inspiration.
(Everybody else: Go visit Obachan's fantastic blog from Japan. She's awesome.)

Jennifer said...

Oooh, you are quite the culinary adventurer, Miz Crumb! Strawberries & sage & black pepper?! When's the party? I've got a batch of blackberry soaking away in Ciroc that I could contribute. :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Jennifer, are you talking about that bottle you took the beautiful picture of? It's probably done infusing by now!
(I also have an infusion of sage and mint, but it's a bit medicinal... More like a nightcap or aperitif.)