Whilst gin is possibly the best spirit for cocktails (not that we’re biased, or anything!) it tends to be overlooked in the kitchen because there aren’t many ingredients it goes with.
Now the nights are closing in and comfort food is on the menu it might be time to transfer your fruit gins from the cocktail cabinet to the larder. Autumn fruits pair very well with sloe, damson and blackcurrant gins. Here are two recipes; one an autumnal take on a summer classic and the other is possibly the best cold weather comfort food ever!
Spiced Autumn Pudding
- A handful of blackberries
- 2 ripe Victoria plums, stoned and chopped
- 1 tablespoon light muscavado sugar
- 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 4 slices white bread
- 3 tablespoons blackberry gin and a little more to drizzle.
Place the blackberries and plums into a small saucepan with the sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil slowly to dissolve the sugar then remove from the heat immediately as it comes to a boil. Add the spices then leave covered for at least 4 hours to allow the flavours to infuse. Remove the spices and add the gin. Line two pudding basins or ramekins with the white bread (it helps to dip the bread in the syrup of the fruits before you line the mould). I used a round pastry cutter to make the shape for the bottom and used three small strips of bread for the sides. One the bottom and the sides have been lined fill with fruit and as much syrup as you can get in – be generous here and use as much as possible. Make a lid with a further round of bread and place on the top, covering it in syrup. Wrap each mould tightly with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. It is sometimes necessary to run a knife round the edge of the mould to release the puddings. Invert the puddings onto plates, drizzle with a little more blackberry gin and serve with whipped cream.
Autumn Fruit Crumble
- 500g Autumn Fruit (I used blackberries, plums, pears and some damsons that were leftover from last year’s damson gin)
- 1 tablespoon of dark muscavado sugar (leave this out if your fruits are very sweet and ripe)
- 2 small knobs butter
- 3 tablespoons damson or sloe gin
- For the topping:
- 80g plain flour
- 60g butter
- 20g Demerara sugar
Place the fruit in a lightly greased baking dish and top with the sugar, if using and the knobs of butter then pour over the gin. To make the topping, rub the butter into the flour (to the texture of uneven breadcrumbs) then stir in the sugar. Add a few drips of water and rub in to achieve a lumpy texture. Spoon the topping onto the fruit and bake (with a baking tray underneath to catch spills) at 200oC for 30 minutes, or until the tip is crunchy and golden and the juices from the fruits are bubbling underneath.