Every autumn, as the holiday season approaches, I like to make a special apéritif to serve when friends come around.
A couple of years ago I made quince liqueur, also known as ratafia de coings, from Susan Hermann Loomis' French Farmhouse Cookbook. It was really delicious and unique and I would make it again if it weren't for the fact that the quince is a particularly difficult fruit to deal with. Our poor little food processor just didn't have the power to grate the fruit so I ended up doing them all by hand, a process that left me with a couple of bloody knuckles and a mild wrist injury.
So, this year I decided to make vin d'oranges. Oranges are much kinder fruit and the entire process took much less time than the quince liqueur. So, if you start now, you can have your own vin d'oranges in just three weeks.
7 juice oranges (about 2 1/2 pounds), preferably organic
2 bottles dry white wine, rosé wine or fruity red wine (I used rosé)
grated zest of one orange
1 cup sugar
1 cup vodka
Peel the oranges and chop the flesh into 1/2 inch cubes on a cutting board that will collect the juices. Put the orange pieces and all the collected juice into a 12 cup, wide-mouthed jar with a tight fitting lid, or divide between two smaller jars. Pour the wine over and close the jar tightly. Set aside in a cool place for 10 days. Each day, gently shake the jar and on the 10th day, add the orange zest.
On the 11th day, strain the wine into a large bowl, pressing on the oranges to extract all the juice. Discard the oranges. Add the sugar to the wine and stir until dissolved. Then add the vodka.
Pour through a funnel into 3, sterilized wine bottles, seal with corks and set aside for another 10 days in a cool place.
Serve very cold.
Drink within three months.
This recipe comes from a cookbook published in 1994 called Backroad Bistros, Farmhouse Fare.
The French Farmhouse Cookbook has another version of this wine which I am making next week.