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The River Cottage Preserves Handbook Hardcover – June 15, 2010
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Fruit curds are so simple and quick to make. Quintessential and quite the doyenne of the curd clan, lemon curd is unquestionably the all time favourite of these soft, creamy concoctions but I also love this smooth velvety apple curd. It's a marvelous way to use up windfall apples and so during the autumn I like to prepare a good quantity of apple puree and freeze it in 10 ounce portions. I can then easily knock up a batch when the apple season has long gone. --Pam Corbin
Makes 4 8 ounce jars
1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons (you need 7 tablespoons strained juice)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons beaten eggs (4 or 5 large eggs)
Put the chopped apples into a pan with 7 tablespoons of water and the lemon zest. Cook gently until soft and fluffy, then either beat to a purée with a wooden spoon or run through a food mill.
Put the lemon juice, butter, sugar, and apple purée into a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture is hot and glossy, pour in the eggs through a sieve, then whisk with a balloon whisk. If the fruit purée is too hot when the beaten egg is added, the egg will curdle. One way to guard against this is to check the temperature of the purée with a candy thermometer – it should be no higher than 130° to 140°F when the egg is added. If your curd does curdle, take the pan off the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth.
Stir the mixture over low heat, scraping down the sides of the bowl every few minutes, until thick and creamy. This will take 9 to 10 minutes; the temperature should reach 180° to 183°F on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour into warm, sterilized jars and seal. Use within 1 month. Once opened, keep in the fridge.
To make gooseberry curd, replace the apples with gooseberries. If you’d like a traditional, pure lemon curd, leave out the apples, increase the lemon juice to 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 to 5 lemons) and add the grated zest of 2 or 3 more lemons.
—Everyday Food, Favorite New Cookbooks, December 2010
“Be prepared to make space on your cookbook shelf for these practical, passionate guides. . . . Corbin demystifies the preserving process in this authoritative, and beautiful, book.”
“A canning and preserving book for the home cook who likely wouldn't call themselves the ‘canning’ type. . . . Infinitely more engaging than your average American canning book, such as Better Homes & Gardens You Can Can!"
—LA Weekly, 6/28/10
"If you think of the best in homemade jams and preservers and the pleasure in eating your own produce, then you are ready for this book."
—Super Chef blog, 6/22/10
“These compact yet comprehensive hardcover volumes, part of a series written by experts in the River Cottage fold, inspire and instruct with their English charm, deploying a chatty hand-holding that nudges you through the process. The head River Cottage baker, Daniel Stevens, who put together THE RIVER COTTAGE BREAD HANDBOOK spends over 40 pages on mastering the basic loaf. His kneading explanation was so clear I didn’t need to constantly refer to the photos; and it taught me some new tricks. . . .This wide-ranging book inspires exploration, and not just because I’ll soon be able to slather my warm Scottish oatcakes, roti and even bagels with my own jam, thanks to THE RIVER COTTAGE PRESERVES HANDBOOK. Here Pam Corbin, who runs the Preserving Days at River Cottage, explains the fundamentals of jam, jelly, chutney, cordials, pickles, sauces and more in a demystifying manner. . . . Recipes for hearty ale chutney, spring rhubarb relish and Hugh’s prizewinning raspberry fridge jam are within delicious reach.”
—NY Times Book Review, Summer Reading Issue, Cookbook Roundup, 6/6/10
“Pam’s approach is . . . encouraging and adventurous. In this inspiring book she will show you the ropes and then give you the reins. I’m absolutely sure you will enjoy the ride.”
—Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, from the Introduction
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Top Customer Reviews
I must admit this was a complete impulse buy, rather unusual for me who usually likes to make sure I really really would use a cookbook before adding it to my overflowing collection. However, something about the pictures promised inspiration, and as I've already canned (but by no means an expert), I was intrigued by some of the unusual recipes. Looking through this book one afternoon, I found much that makes this book look promising: there is an engaging author with a nice voice permeating the text, there is some good solid explanation that I think will serve beginners and intermediate canners alike, and there are lovely lovely photos that just make you want to start canning immediately.
One thing I did notice, in looking through some of the recipes, was the very regional quality of their ingredients. Brambleberries and other fruits and nuts from the British Isles are called for in many of the recipes; and while I enjoy learning about these flavors and ingredients not readily available in my northern California area, I wondered if this might make the book a little more useful in the armchair than the kitchen. However, there appears to be plenty of recipes that showcase flavors and ingredients that I am familiar with, so it will be more accurate to discuss usability after I've tried a few of those.
Until I actually get in the kitchen though, this book is still delighting me, allowing me a little peek into the kitchen of an expert canner in England. It also makes me very curious to check out the other River Cottage cookbooks that I've heard so much about but have yet to investigate.
I have a number of British canning and preserving books, and was well aware that they do not follow the same guidelines that Americans use regarding recommended safe preserving procedures. (Water bath or pressure canning is recommended by the USDA. Sealing with wax, oven sealing or reusing supermarket jars, which are included in this book, are not.)
As another reviewer observed, there don't seem to be reports of Brits being sickened by home made preserves, but I think that a book that is reissued specifically for Americans should provide information for the reader that enables them to make an informed decision if they are considering using the alternate (not USDA recommended) methods. An "Americanized" book on preserving that does not acknowledge and discuss the well known USDA guidelines most Americans are familiar with seems like an editorial oversight to me. (Why go to the effort of making an "Americanized" edition at all? Why not just distribute the British edition, which apparently is also readily available?)
There IS a brief section on water bath (and oven) canning (pages 156-159), but the fact that this was not included in the chapter on "The Rules" but tucked in the canned fruits section seems a bit disorganized and another editorial problem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Blah.....recipes could be more creative. Some UK ingredients needed.Published 5 months ago by Mindy
Absolutely unequivocally an AMAZING book. No I don't own any shares, nor am I paid on behalf of the author. But I am an expert canner and love the recipes in this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Charles MacPherson
Gave me new information about making preserves and I found it interesting.Published 13 months ago by Grandmother LT
If I ever win the lottery, I want to go to England and hang out at River Cottage. This is an organic garden/farm and cooking school in Devon that has famous weekend feasts (at a... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mary Bellis Williams
Some great recipes and ideas in this book, really nicely presented in a quality printed, small sized book. Read morePublished 16 months ago by @A_Random_Bloke