Which Brandy for Brandied Peaches?
So I'm getting ready to go out to the farmers' market to pick up some peaches to preserve for Christmas gift giving. I am thinking of using Lynne Rossetto Kasper's recipe for Brandied Fruit (http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/dessert_brandied.html) to put them up, but I have run into a snag, and I hope you all can help.
I cannot find on the Splendid Table site, or any where else that has a brandied fruit recipe, a suggestion of which brandy to use. It is not a spirit I have in my liquor cabinet, and I don't know much about it beyond what Wikipedia has to say. I don't want to ruin my peaches by using a bad brandy, but I also don't want to waste the money on a brandy that is better suited to drinking than preserving, either.
Can you please suggest a good brandy for my purposes? Also, for those of you with more experience, does Lynne's recipe look safe? Her instructions don't have water-bath processing instructions; would processing it for 25 minutes in pint jars (http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/peach...) improve the safety, or would that be bad for the brandy?
Since you are adding Sugar, other flavorings and the Peaches them selves the subtleties of a fine Brandy or Cognac would be lost. A decent quality domestic/imported Brandy or Cognac would be fine for this application. Many are in the 2O$ a bottle range. A few suggestions:
Hennessy Cognac VS
Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy
Remy Martin VSOP
Only one salient point with respect to the brandy. If you're going to use brandy in a recipe that you intend to offer as Christmas gifts, the brandy you use does make a difference. Those who know brandy will taste the subtle differences beyond the fruit flavor. The way the brandy lingers on the tongue and the way the flavor fills the mouth differs and cheap or "mid-range" brandy just doesn't hack it. In your place I would use something like Courvoisier cognac and accept the applause of those to whom I gave the gift. Save the cheap brandy for the home cupboard for the night you decide to prepare a bouillabaisse for the family.
To each his own. My Bouillabaisse sometimes includes alcohol (usually brandy but I have used white wines) and I typically rely on a good Cognac to support the flambe finish on the dish. However, if the OP doesn't want to use brandy for Bouillabaisse, it might be useful for chicken brochettes (Dijon flambe) or perhaps in a cake or other pastry for the family.
I'm not familiar with brandied fruit as a preserve but I would just buy a decent mid-range one with a 40% alcohol content. You don't want to waste money by getting a premium product but you do need one that's not going to be a raw taste.
We keep a bottle for cooking purposes only (I no longer drink alcohol and my partner doesnt like its taste). We usually buy the supermarket's own label product.