Cordials seem to be getting a lot of searches lately, so with Christie's permission I'm posting some recipes she offered on the list the other day. Here is her post:
I usually make a gallon of cordial at a time (makes great gifts), but you can always make less -- or more! Whatever size glass jar you use, fill it about half full of fresh fruit.
Cut unpeeled peaches in quarters, and add them to a wide-mouth glass jar. Pits optional. Fill the the jar with brandy, to cover the fruit. (I use E&J brandy, which has no preservatives,although as a child of the 60s it still galls me to buy Gallo...). Anyway, let it sit, shaking it up occasionally, until the peaches lose their color and start looking mushy. Then, depending on where you are in the season, you can either proceed to the sweetening stage or strain and pour the brandy over a new batch of fresh peaches (and pits) for a more intense peach flavor.
When you're ready to sweeten and bottle, strain out the fruit and add the ginger syrup -- a quart per gallon, or more to taste. Start with a basic simple syrup recipe -- 2 parts water to 1 part sugar (demerara is my preference). Add sliced, unpeeled ginger to taste. I like it HOT, so I use LOTS of fresh ginger -- at the very least a cup.
Simmer/boil for 15 minutes or so til it thickens up, let it cool with the ginger in it, then strain and add to the peach brandy. Decant to smaller bottles as needed.
same basic recipe (minus the core and seeds), sweetened with +/- 2 bottles of Agave nectar. I'm trying this with peaches this year, but it's not ready yet -- I'd love to know how others have done with this lovely sweetener and other fruit cordials...? AND you can also use the basic fruit/brandy/maple syrup cordial recipe with either peaches or pears (or any other fruit), using 1/2 fruit and the rest equal portions of brandy and maple syrup -- or more or less of either one depending on how sweet you like it. I always look out at yard sales for pretty little bottles to fill up with summer cordials for winter solstice gifts -- a little bit of midsummer in midwinter!
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