Françoise Porcher’s November Recipe
This recipe earned me the 1 er Prize at the Fête de la Confiture at the Chapelle-des-Fougeretz, in Ille-et-Vilaine, on September 19, 2002.
1 kg 600 of pears Ripe but firm Guyot, julienned
1 lime, 1 untreated yellow lemon
1 small glass of Pineau des Charentes
700 g granulated sugar
- I squeeze half of the lemon that I pour into the bowl of my scale and cup of mineral water.
- I peel my pears. I cut them into julienne on the long side of the cheese grater. I mix to avoid any oxidation. I strain some of the pear juice through a nylon sieve to wet the bottom of my copper basin.
- I’m making my sugar syrup. When it is medium, clear and syrupy, I pour my julienne of pears in small quantities so as not to cool my syrup.
- I zest my lime on top. I mix it gently so I don’t make my julienne into a mush.
- As soon as the pears are candied, I cut off a third of the lemon and squeeze the value of a teaspoon. Cooking time is about 25 minutes.
At this point, I pour into the stainless steel ladle the Pineau des Charentes that I let heat in the center, above my jam. I sprinkle it in circles and quickly flambé. I turn off the gas and taste it. I raise the wooden spoon, the fourth drop beads. (remains stuck to the spoon).
The “Julienne de poire parfumée au citron vert flambée au Pineau des Charentes” (pear Julienne flavoured with lime and flambéed with Pineau des Charentes) is just right. It’s like eating a good pear tart made by grandmothers.
Surprisingly, it won’t last long in the hands of gourmets. It is almost eaten with a teaspoon for dessert. It is better to prepare the toast before spooning it out, as I am not responsible for anything.
Another home-made creation, of which I am proud because it is the consecration of years and hours in front of my copper furnace and basin.
It can be enjoyed as a dessert under vanilla ice cream and lime sorbet, decorating your plate with lime slices and served with a small glass of Pineau des Charentes, well chilled.
Gelling agent called “agar-agar”.
You can buy it in organic stores. In Brittany, you can buy it from the seaweed food distributors. Indeed, the “agar-agar” is a gelling agent extracted from food seaweed. It is the Malaysians who developed the technique of its dehydration, hence the name “agar-agar”. It seems expensive to buy, a teaspoon (4 g) is enough per kilo of fruit. It can also be found in Asian grocery stores, in fibre, less expensive to buy, but requires preparation.
The fibres are wetted with water and heated by whisking to obtain a homogeneous mixture. A few spoonfuls are enough to help the jam set. It is a natural product and does not give any particular taste to your jam. There is only one way to use a gelling agent wisely. It will always be added on hot fruit. When the fruit has melted and rendered its juice.
I mix well from the bottom to the edges. Very quickly, I observe that the juice of the fruits jellifies on the edges and on the handle of my wooden spoon. Only then do I add the sugar to the fruit. I mix, the sugar melts and bring to the boil. The boiling becomes rarer, a matt veil forms on the surface. I do the cold plate test.
The cold plate test consists in putting the jam in the fridge (cold plate) at the end of the cooking process. Just spin a few drops of the jam from the spoon to see how well the jam has set. The index finger on a drop and you lift your finger, the jam lies down, it’s good for jars.
It goes through different stages: I start by pouring 20 cl of water and I pour the kilo of sugar by spreading it on the bottom of the basin. I wait a moment for the sugar to start melting. I turn on the low heat, I lift to wet all my sugar. I let it cook without stirring too much because the sugar would crystallize. First, the syrup bubbles up in big bubbles, it is 105° degrees and then the temperature rises to 112° degrees. It is then more and more limpid, almost transparent.
I don’t leave it any longer, it might caramelize. It is clear and syrupy, it is medium. To reassure myself, I dip my wooden spoon and raise it 25 cm above the basin. A syrupy net drips then drips, the fourth drop must pearl. Your sugar syrup is ready to make your recipe.
Sugar syrup is especially used in traditional orange marmalade. This process also makes it possible to make jams where the fruit is bathed in a translucent sweetness. It is used to cook fruits that are difficult to set. In addition, the fruit remains whole and does not become pureed as it is seized in boiling sugar syrup.
Françoise Porcher ( about the author and his book )