Saturday, 28 August 2010

Carrot ‘cake’ liqueur

When one is friends with a baking luminary such as
The Caked Crusader you cannot fail to have some of that cake passion (aka obsession) rub off on you.

Mr Portions told me I was insane for devising a carrot cake liqueur and still makes a ‘puke’ face every time I mention it…but I am nothing if not persistent; I even managed to get him to grate the carrots!

I took the flavours of a carrot cake e.g. carrot, cinnamon, and walnut but also added sultanas for some natural sweetness. The biggest decision was whether to use vodka or rum; while I suspect vodka would have given the purest flavour I thought rum far better suited the warm and spicy flavours. Plus, if I was making a carrot cake I would far rather it contained rum than vodka.

As I type this I am laid low with a heavy cold – this liqueur is soothing my throat better than any medicine. It’s sweet but with a strong kick of alcohol and, even with my dulled senses, I can pick out the sultanas and spice.

Would it be too incestuous to make a carrot cake and include this liqueur in it? Or how about serving it neat, with a cream cheese frosting float?

Here’s what you need:

3 fresh medium sized carrots – we grated them to increase the surface area
¾ cup walnuts – roughly chopped
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sultanas/raisins
1 ½ cups rum – we used golden rum
½ cup of overproof rum
1/3 cup
sugar syrup

NB. If you don’t wish to use overproof rum, simply replace it with extra golden rum.

Place the carrots, walnuts, cinnamon, sultanas and rum in a kilner jar and leave for 2 weeks, ideally somewhere cool and out of direct sun. Here are the dry ingredients in the jar:

Here they are after we added the rum. It is acceptable, at this point, to feel vaguely repulsed and doubtful that this enterprise will turn out well:

When the 2 weeks have passed, strain the mix and mash the carrot and sultanas so as to get all the juice and flavour from them.

Do this several times until the liquid is free of any pulp. You end up with something that looks like greasy tomato soup:

I think the contents of the straining bag look like a brain. Stop me if I’m making this all sound too attractive!

We started with the straining bag to remove the major pulp, then we lined the sieve with a butter muslin before moving on to a coffee filter. This took hours (I’m not exaggerating – we had to split it over two evenings) and got clogged many times but filtered the liquid very effectively. This was the point when I started to think, “maybe this won’t end up being poured down the sink.”

Add the sugar syrup and leave to mature for a month:

Bottle your now-potable liqueur!


Time to make, from start to potable: 6 weeks

Yield: approx 1 1/2 cups(ish)/400ml

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Raspberry liqueur

Mr Portions just “happened to have some raspberries” that needed using pronto. Funny coincidence, eh? What better use for them than becoming raspberry liqueur?

Here’s what you need:

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups vodka (we used Smirnoff Blue)
½ cup
Polish pure spirit
1 vanilla bean
Pinch of allspice
½ cup
sugar syrup

NB. If you don’t wish to use Polish pure spirit, simply replace it with extra vodka.

Wash the raspberries and place in a kilner jar. Mash them gently just so they start to release some juice and flavour.

Add the vodka, Polish pure spirit, vanilla bean and allspice.

Seal the jar and swirl the ingredients round.

Store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or mesh and mash the raspberries to ensure you get as much juice and flavour from them as possible. You may have to do this more than once to ensure all pulp is removed. Action shot of filtering:

We found that lining the sieve with a coffee filter filters the liquid very effectively but you do need to change it as it clogs. I always find it fascinating what’s left after straining and filtering – this looks like mincemeat and look how limp the vanilla pod has gone:

Pour back into kilner jar and add the sugar syrup (to taste), maturing for a further 3-5 weeks:

Filter again, and bottle your now-potable liqueur! Although the liqueur is now potable, you might find it a little “robust” and wish to age it a bit longer. I certainly found it a touch punchy for my taste!


Time to make, from start to potable: 6-8 weeks, although you may wish to age longer

Yield: approx 2 cups/500ml