Spiced Cider Jellies

By • October 13, 2010 • 45 Comments

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Author Notes: I won $1600 on a slot machine the first time I was in Vegas. You have two choices, give it back through gambling or give it back by eating well. I chose food and headed to Le Cirque at the Bellagio. It was an amazing meal but the thing I fell for the hardest were these little raspberry jellies they served with the check. There might be a reason for that but that is beside the point. I have had jellies a couple of times since and they just never cease to amaze me. The sugary exterior with the explosion of flavor from the fruit inside gets me everytime. I have looked around and tried a lot of recipes. Some use apple pectin but I can never find it close by. I really don't want to have to order something for a recipe that I want to be accessible for anyone else who might give it a go. There are a couple of critical things. You need a candy thermometer for this. Make sure you cook the syrup to 219 degrees on your candy thermometer or it won't set right and have everything ready to go. Mis en place is crucial or you might get lumps and there is nothing worse than a lump in your jellies. I used Certo Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin which you can find in the canning section of most well stocked grocery stores. - thirschfeldthirschfeld

Food52 Review: Don't fear candy making! These easy, sweet jellies are beautiful -- crystal clear with little flecks of spice. Dredging in sugar makes them sparkle for an elegant touch. - StephanieA&M

Serves 100 half inch square jellies

  • 1 1/2 cup organic apple juice, I used Martinelli's, you just want something that is clear
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Jack or Calvados
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup Certo Premium Liquid Pectin
  • 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a heavy pinch of allspice
  • a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
  1. Sometimes it is hard to get your thermometer to read the syrup correctly so it is important that you use a small enough pan that you get an accurate reading but also large enough the syrup doesn't boil over. I used a 1 1/2 quart reduction pan. It has sides that bevel out from the bottom.
  2. Take an 8 inch x 8 inch cake pan and spray the bottom with spray oil this will help the plastic wrap to stick. Take a large sheet of plastic wrap and line the pan making sure to smooth out all wrinkles. Set it aside.
  3. Place the 1/2 cup of pectin in a small mixing bowl. Set it aside with a small whisk and a ladle sitting next to it.
  4. Place the apple juice, calvados, sugar, corn syrup and the spices into a small pan. Place it over high heat and bring it to a boil stirring it a couple of time along the way to get the sugar dissolved.
  5. As it boils keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over and adjust the heat as necessary. Place the candy thermometer into the syrup and leave it there. When it reaches 215 degrees using a ladle remove about a quarter cup of syrup and while whisking pour it into the pectin to temper it. Add the pectin back to the syrup and whisk to blend.
  6. Bring the syrup to 219 degrees and immediately pour it into the lined cake pan. Let it sit until it is completely cool.
  7. Using the plastic wrap as handles gently remove the jelly from the pan. Cut into 1/2 inch squares and roll in sugar. I like to put them in pleated candy cups, and serve.
  8. *note* I have heard if you let these cure overnight uncovered they are easier to cut. I think I have to agree although I found a good trick to cutting them. They can be just a little sticky. I used a carving knife that I sprayed with a thin coat of neutral flavored spay oil and they cut magnificently. While they cut fine after cooling I did not try the oiled knife trick so they may be just fine then too.

Tags: all spice, apple cider, apple jack, calvados, candy, cinnamon, nutmeg

Comments (45) Questions (6)

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over 2 years ago Choirbell

These are very good!!! I'm going to make another batch and going to add some whole Sage leaves to the mix while it's boiling and then remove the leaves. I love the taste of Apple and sage.

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over 2 years ago Choirbell

These are very good!!! I'm going to make another batch and going to add some whole Sage leaves to the mix while it's boiling and then remove the leaves. I love the taste of Apple and sage.

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over 2 years ago SaraQ

If you have a powder pectin, like Sure-Jell at home, how much would you use? Can the powder pectin be a substitue? Would you adjust the liquid component as well?

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over 2 years ago radar

These look lovely. Can you please tell me how long they will hold? I would love to make them but will need to do so a few days in advance. Thank you!

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about 3 years ago traveling.ania

I'm allergic to cinnamon. Very badly allergic. What other spice could I use as a substitute?

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about 3 years ago thirschfeld

maybe a little allspice

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thinking about making these with some quince juice I just happen to have in my freezer. What spices would you use with quince, if you were making them? Would you use Calvados? Thank you so much. ;o)

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

AJ...how about Clear Creek Pear Eau de Vie?

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over 3 years ago JulieBoulangerie

My problem with jellies is usually that the sugar coating turns into a sticky mess after about 4 hours. Do these do that? Just want to know before I attempt.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

Just make sure the reach 219, let them cool and even cure them over igbt before sugaring them.

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over 3 years ago kpcetal

These are *great*- just a couple of points. 1) they were very soft at first- allow a couple of hours for them to settle. 2) it makes a *lot*! 3) they keep for a lot more than 2-3 days- we had some on the counter for 4 days that were still great, and the ones that we put in a tin & forgot about for a week were still good as new.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

Thank you. I am so glad you liked them. They lasted longer for me as well but sometimes when writing a recipe I error on the side of caution. Everyone stores things different etc etc.

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over 3 years ago allie

How/where do you store these so that they don't harden? These look wonderful!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

After they are coated with sugar in air tight container with parchment in the bottom, but really you want to use them within 2 or 3 days. I left them on the counter for three days uncovered and they firm up on the exterior but the interior is really tender.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Yum, and what a fabulous photo! At our favorite splurge restaurant, which offers up fabulous multi-course French/Mediterranean fare using local ingredients (and amazing wine pairings), my husband and I are always impressed with the selection of mignardise that end the meal. Your jellies would certainly rival them!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

thanks you gingeroot

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over 3 years ago tessa022707

These look and sound amazing and I am dying to make them but I have a question..you are pouring scaldingly hot syrup into plastic wrap? no melting issues here? Even if it doesn't melt the plastic wrap wouldn't it be a wee bit toxic or am I just being insane?

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

this is a pretty standard technique used in commercial kitchens for all kinds of applications where heat may be involved. Terrines are lined with it for pate and then baked in the oven. Casseroles are covered when moisture retention is paramount. Then baked at low temperatures, 300 degrees, for dishes like the potato pave. The reality is plastic wrap holds its own to temperatures up to 315 degrees. That is not to say a dollar store somewhere doesn't sell a brand that would melt at 100 degrees but I am confident most brand names would do just fine. I guess one of those soft silicon cake pans, sprayed with oil, might work but I haven't tried one to know.

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8 months ago Erin

Thank you to Tessa for asking and thirschefeld for responding to this. We watch a lot of cooking shows (Top Chef mostly), and I always see plastic wrap and freezer bags used to during the cooking of items, but I've never had the guts to attempt for fear I'd wind up with a melty plastic mess.

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over 3 years ago SallyCan

Another intriguing recipe, and another knock-out photo!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

thanks SallyCan

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over 3 years ago betteirene

We have a winner!

My brain is racing now. . .cinnamopn jellies made with cinnamon Schnapps next to these for Thanksgiving, mint for Christmas, cherry for George Washington's birthday. Oh, the possibilities! Thank you, thank you.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

Thanks betteirene. All of those sound good.

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over 3 years ago wanderash

Jackpot! I love these!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

thanks wanderash

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over 3 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

i've dreamed about making fruit jellies for years. most of the ones i can buy taste foul although they look pretty and i haven't been to las vegas, so haven't reserved at le cirque (credit card too thin). this is the best treat, ever. why do you think the raspberry jellies knocked you over and why were you not more forthcoming about telling us? i racked my brains but have no idea why raspberry jellies would have any trigger qualities.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

I love your questions. I guess my answer would be, my wife and I, and now the kids, don't go out to eat much. We view it as a treat and a special occasion. As such when we do go out we don't mind splurging. I guess because of this thinking we have been able to eat at some really top tier restaurants around the country. I think at some point you hold certain expectations for these places so when something takes you by surprise you remember it. I think the jellies could have been any flavor, honestly, it was just a final touch that capped off an already great meal.

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over 3 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

totally get this. i am very concerned that if i save up all my money and then die suddenly without eating at the french laundry, i will be in heaven regretting it for all eternity. just went to the union square cafe for a bar lunch because i was feeling a bit down. completely cost effective. i do tend to be blown away by the end of the meal treats. remember that from chanterelle, the late lamented tribeca restaurant. i wasn't raised to expect 2 dessert courses.
luv yr recipes and the whole vibe of your lifestyle and family life.

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over 3 years ago Loves Food Loves to Eat

Amazing idea!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

thanks Loves Food Loves to Eat

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over 3 years ago ENunn

When do you start selling these? I'll buy them all. There's a person at the Green City Market who sells about 4 "gelees" for seventy-leven dollars. I will not buy his. But yours. . . I'll take a dozen boxes.

Or, I could make them myself. They are so pretty, and what an amazing idea. Autumnal.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

ENunn I would be more than happy to send you some, as long as a box contains no more than one., well for you two. LOL

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over 3 years ago cheese1227

Wow, someone opened a pandora's box when they set you to thinking about homemade candies!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

yeah, well, I am not sure that is a good thing. I guess it is good that my wife is a dentist. LOL

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over 3 years ago Hilarybee

Beautiful! I'm in love.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

I am just glad what happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

and thanks

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over 3 years ago testkitchenette

Lovely and different, thanks for sharing!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

thank you and you are welcome testkitchenette

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

i think you've got another winner here, thirschfeld.

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

thanks mrslarkin but those pears look awful tasty.

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over 3 years ago nannydeb

I'm coming to "trick-or-treat" at your house!!!!

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

come on by

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Just love these! Especially the addition of apple jack or Calvados. And I agree, jellies are so under-appreciated, but really not that hard to make. That said, your admonitions and advice in this recipe are well taken! My favorite jamming reference books, both by Brits, each have a variety of great recipes for jellies, but none, of course, like this. You rock, Mr Hirschfeld!! ;o)

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

Thanks AJ and, yes, I think they are under-appreciated.