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My Holiday Discovery of Mulled Wine Marmalade, aka "Mullmalade"
I love mulled wine. I absolutely love mulled wine. It has got to be one of my most favorite things during the winter season. At any given holiday, it’s probably one of the best ways to entice one's European friends; more specifically central and Eastern European friends. Not only that, the mulled wine is hot, and outside is cold. Usually, the only time I’ve had the pleasure to drink any mulled wine, is if I make it myself. So, I decided it would be a wonderful idea to serve some at a holiday party I hosted, which was prohibition/1920s themed. As I was scurrying around to make sure everything was ready before my guests arrived, I realized I hadn’t even started to heat the wine yet. With no time to taste what I was making, I hurriedly threw ingredients into a pot. Luckily, everyone loved it, and I had my glass of it. Naturally by the end of the night, it was almost entirely gone—except for the remaining flotsam and jetsam of the seasonings and enhancements of my choosing. I thought to myself, "Gee, what a waste." I will admit I thought about eating the orange slices that were soaked in alcohol…but then it occurred to me: can’t fruit be cooked? …into marmalade? Jelly? Preserves? Jam? That stuff? Why, yes. Yes it can.
Prepared to get my hands sticky, I put a small pot on the stove, and started cutting the orange and lemon from the rinds. Combined with the small amount of wine still left with everything else, it smelled like Christmas before I turned on any heat. I added some homemade simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water, boiled into liquid), and let it bubble on low, periodically stirring it and turning it off to simmer. I had been wanting to make fresh orange juice as well, so I squeezed three oranges, then peeled the pulp from them to add to the mixture. By the end of the day, I had the tastiest, most Christmasy gooey deliciousness in a jar. The amazing part? It was all leftovers—an economical kitchen success! For reference, here are my ingredients for the mulled wine:
- 1½ liters of Cabernet Sauvignon, (Bridge Road Vineyards, California—a very affordable yet good quality brand I picked up at ALDI)
- 2 or 3 shots of E&J brandy
- 1 orange, sliced into wheels
- 1 lemon, sliced into wheels
- ⅛ cup orange juice, and ⅛ cup lemon juice squeezed in
- 2 teaspoons of whole cloves, inside 2 separate tiny food safe cloth bags (tied cheese cloth also works very well)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- A few dashes of ground cinnamon, inside each of the small cloth bags (and also directly into the wine/brandy)
From my understanding of ordinary jelly or marmalade making, the process requires removing pulp, rind, and any other unfathomably bulbous thing from your creation. My concoction cooked down enough to make the pulp into a spreadable edible. Though I did end up adding much more orange pulp to the marmalade mixture, the flavor stayed strong from the wine. Why? Because it soaked in it for the length of a party, of course! The only technical item missing from it that makes it true marmalade, is the zest, or peel from the fruit. It would be a simple thing to add if you want more fruity bitterness. I have found that what I created has its own particular tartness. The ground cinnamon added a pleasantly speckled aesthetic.
What I hope anyone reading this can learn, aside from a simple yet highly effective recipe for two different holiday treats, is that you do not need to be a master chef or canning pro to make something impressive. Truthfully, as a child I watched my mother spend hours in the kitchen canning all the blackberries we had picked. She made some of the best blackberry jam I ever had, but it took a lot of work, and heaven knows how many blackberries. If you have the time to hand pick and can fruit, then power to you—it is certainly worth it. However, a lot of us have no time to do such things. Ironically, many of us find ourselves busier during the holidays than outside of them...though we are supposed to be relaxing and spending time celebrating. So, even if you are anxious to kick out the guests, and too exhausted to do anything but throw things away, don’t instantly discard leftovers! You would be amazed with what leftovers can produce.
What is in the jolly jelly stuff itself:
- 1 leftover mulled wine soaked orange (pre-sliced, peel the slices)
- 1 leftover mulled wine soaked lemon (pre-sliced, peel the slices)
- Approx. 3/4 cup of leftover mulled wine (liquid)
- Orange pulp from 3 oranges
- Approx. 1 cup simple syrup
- 1 to 2 cups powdered sugar
It was so tasty, I forgot to photograph it before eating some...
What I have tasted so far with my "Mullmalade":
- Bread and butter
- Gruyere cheese
- Cream cheese
- Different combinations of all the above
My favorite so far is the Gruyere and thin buttered French bread.
If you try making it, please let me know how it comes out!
© 2015 Juliana Elizabeth