47
   

Ask the A2K cooks!

 
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 08:53 am
@msolga,
...or you buy a papaya base meat tenderizer, MsOlga, that helps too.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 06:30 pm
@CalamityJane,
Jane to the rescue again! Smile

(I was wondering how come others know so much about such things & I know so little. I think it's most likely my almost 20 years spent as a vegetarian.)
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 06:32 pm
@msolga,
Papaya is a source of papain..
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 06:33 pm
@ossobuco,
Yes, osso?

Could you say a little more?
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 09:47 pm
@msolga,
I am osso now Laughing Papain is an enzyme that's derived from papaya - it aids in the digestion of protein and also has a soothing effect on the stomach, thus perfect for meat tenderizing.

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 09:49 pm
@CalamityJane,
Thank you, osso! Very Happy Wink
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 05:09 pm
Guten Tag! I am finally starting my first rumtopf (or rumkopf). Cherries just came in season. As they are short on the shelf and one of my favorite fruits, I figure the rumtopf is a good way to preserve them. If the cherries don't preserve well, at least I'll be too drunk off the rum to care!

Anyone know anything about this little treat? There are some recipes, but I like many to compare. The idea seems to be fruit (some are better than others), sugar and rum. Store for months. Eat.I've seen to add half the weight of the fruit in sugar. I've seen to add equal parts sugar and fruit. I like less sweet, so I will try to go with the later. Could I add even less than 1/2 the weight in sugar?

Any tips or tricks?

http://www.taste.com.au/images/recipes/del/2002/01/6244.jpg
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 05:52 pm
@littlek,
No, but it reminds me of a friend, Virgine Macias, who made fabulous concoctions for the holiday season, besides making fabulous paintings on villa walls in Mexico and Los Angeles. I suppose I should google.

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 08:32 am
@littlek,
Oh man, littlek, your Rumtopf picture gave this diabetic an intense food-porn moment. Talk about forbidden fruit!

First of all, Rumtopf ("rum pot") is the correct expression. Rumkopf ("rum head") is a pun, not a proper name. I like the allusions embedded in this pun, though. The stuff does get into your head before you know it. On top of that, you might even call it a state of mind for the exquisite mode of denial it allows you to put yourself in. "No rum please, I'll just eat the fruits; they're practically health food. Don't tell me they're just as alcoholic as what used to be the rum, having had a year to suck alcohol in and release water into the outside. I don't want to think of that right now. Shut up!" I can see why some Germans prefer Rumkopf over of the correct name Rumtopf.

Second, here is some wisdom I inherited from my deceased grandmother and my mother, both of whom made/make The World's Best Rumtopf (TM):

Fruits: [Grand]ma's recipe uses a pound of pineapple, half a pound of red currants, half a pound of black currants, a pound of peaches, and a pound of strawberries.

Sugar: [Grand]ma's recipe uses equal parts sugar and fruits. When I talked with my mother about it earlier this morning, she advised against going lower, for a combination of three reasons:
  1. Rumtopf gets the more delicious the more the alcohol imbues the fruit absolutely, totally, entirely, and then some.
  2. It takes a long time until the Rumtopf reaches peak deliciousness. Although the Rumtopf you're starting now will taste well on your 2010 birthday, it will taste even better on your 2011 birthday if you can preserve the fruits that long.
  3. But to do that, you can use all the sugar and all the alcohol you can get.
That's why my mother doesn't just advise against going lower than 1:1 on the sugar; she also advises against rum that merely has 40% alcohol. She herself uses a brand that has 54%. Summing up, the point of the sugar (and the alcohol) in Rumtopf is not just about taste; it's also about biochemistry. And the biochemistry calls for a lot of both.

Knowing that you'd prefer to go less sweet than biochemistry suggests, I asked my mother: "I've seen rum in Germany that has as much as 80% alcohol. Can you go lower on the sugar by using that? Her reply: "Could be, your friend would have to try it out. But if I were going for a less-sweet taste, I'd increase the proportion of sour fruits (like currants) before I decreased the concentration of sugar. Either way, for her first Rumtopf, your friend should go with the strongest rum she can possibly get." For your orientation, my [grand]mother's Rumtopf tastes about as sweet as Italian Limoncello.

So there you have it. Enjoy. And please excuse my drooling.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 09:49 am
@Thomas,
Bacardi 151

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacardi_151

(comes with it's own flame arrester...)
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 10:00 am
@littlek,
PS: I just noticed I didn't pay enough attention to the part about preserving cherries. If this is your main goal, Rumtopf isn't really the best way to go. With any realistic amount of rum per cherry, the alcohol taste will overwhelm the cherry taste. So if cherry taste is the main thing you care about, better alternatives would be to make compote or jelly, or to deep-freeze the cherries and bake a cake with them later in the year.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 10:34 am
Oh wow, littlek, that's a great idea! We always used cherries in our Rumtopf
too. Apricots, peaches, plums (cut in half and without kernel), are just excellent as they absorb the rum (should be a good brand) very well. In October we also
added some cinnamon sticks.

Make sure you your "Rumtopf" has a lid on it and is in a dark cool place.

We always started eating from the "Rumtopf" on Christmas - with either
ice cream or whipped cream. There is nothing better!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 12:06 pm
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:

Bacardi 151

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacardi_151

(comes with it's own flame arrester...)

Nah, that one only has 75%. Perhaps littlek can call NASA and ask for some leftover rocket fuel.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:38 pm
Thomas - fabulous info. Recht schönen dank to you and your mother. Love the pun!

Maybe I'll make 2 - one planned for this t-giving/xmas and one planned for next year. I dunno about the pineapple..... I'll up the sugar and buy stronger rum. I had been wondering about the preservative quality of sugar.

CJ - that's how you eat it! I pictured eating it with angel food cake and vanilla ice cream.
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 03:09 pm
I wonder, is it too late to add more sugar now? I mean to what's already in the pot.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 04:03 pm
@Thomas,
So, I presume all the fruit should be fresh to start with (not currants from a box, for example)...

Time for me to get some better jars (I gave away my big glass jars when I moved, woe is me.) So, off to Cost Plus, or World Market, or whatever they call it. I did make homemade kahlua recently. Easy as pie, or easier than pie, and delicious. (Good ground coffee, sugar, water, vodka) Made some limoncello about a year ago, that was good too.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 04:46 pm
@littlek,
I'm assuming you started the pot a couple of days ago. If that's true, the fruits will still be fresh-ish, plus they'll be preserved by the alcohol and the sugar you already have. It shouldn't be too late to add sugar now.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:12 pm
@Thomas,
Come to think of it, it strikes me that you might be able to do the analogous thing for the "missing" alcohol by adding pure ethanol from a pharmacy. Just make sure you ask the pharmacist for the right kind of ethano. On the one hand, 97% pure is pure enough. That's as pure as you can practically make it in a distillery---anything more requires an extra chemical process that makes the ethanol needlessly expensive. On the other hand, the remaining 3% cannot consist of any additives to make it unfit for human consumption. Ethanol intended as a firestarter or a solvent usually contains such additives so consumers needn't have to pay booze taxes for heating their fondue with ethanol.

Since you live in Cambridge, I suppose you can still find a pharmacy that's run by Real Pharmacists rather than corporate sales droids. Explain to them what you plan to do with the ethanol, and they'll be happy to advise you about the right product. Real Pharmacists perfect those skills in their fraternity, and will be happy to show them off to you.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:24 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:
So, I presume all the fruit should be fresh to start with (not currants from a box, for example)

I don't understand your distinction, as fresh fruits can come in boxes, too. But if you're asking if you can make Rumtopf by pouring rum and sugar over dried fruits, the answer is no. There's nothing particularly wrong with it---rum-raisins are yummy for example---but it's not Rumtopf anymore. The idea of Rumtopf is that fruit juice leaks into the rum, and rum diffuses into the fruit to replace the juice. Dried fruit, by definition, have no juice that can seep into the rum.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:32 pm
@Thomas,
A tech in our lab used to make killer limeade. Absolute alcohol, pharmaceutical grade (which was, eh? 97%) and some frozen limeade concentrate and the added water for the limeade. It tasted just like excellent limeade, but was a killer dose. Never ever ever have two. I do remember that a stranger couldn't get that from the VA pharmacy, at least according to her.

But I can imagine one could play around with it if one's rum wasn't high enough content. I'm not clear that I care, but figure it could help re long preservation.
0 Replies
 
 

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