Next to balsamic fig vinegar, raspberry vinegar is my favorite. And because polyphenols are extracted from the raspberries during the infusion, I’m getting an extra dose of antioxidants. And just as with the balsamic fig infusion, I make an extra batch. One for dressings and the other to create a gastrique (see recipe), which is just a fancy French cooking term for a syrupy reduction. What it adds is layers of complex flavors without adding additional salt, all while transforming an ordinary presentation into a four-star restaurant-worthy dish. Any fruit can be used to make an infused vinegar, be it citrus, berries, figs, peaches, plums, or something as exotic as mango. The possibilities are limitless.
Recipe notes: What you will need: 1-qt Mason jar, cheesecloth, and strainer. Vinegar yields 2-cups. Active prep time 5-minutes. Gastrique yields 2/3-1/2 cup. Active prep time 3-minutes. Cooking time 15-20 minutes. Difficulty level: Easy
- 1-pint raspberries
- 3-sprigs fresh thyme
- 1-small shallot halved
- 1-garlic clove
- 2-cups-champagne or white wine vinegar
- Heat vinegar in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, or in a saucepan on the stovetop.
- In Mason jar, add fruit, spices, and aromatics and pour heated vinegar over ingredients.
- Allow the vinegar to cool before securing the lid.
- Place in a cool, dry place such as the pantry for approximately one week, occasionally stirring ingredients or shaking jar.
1-week: By now, all the color should have leached into the vinegar while the raspberries will be blanched. The vinegar is now officially infused.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain infusion.
- Using the back of a spoon, gently press the raspberry pulp to extract remaining vinegar.
- Strain once more to remove seeds and sediment.
- Transfer infused vinegar to the desired bottle and store it on the countertop or in the pantry indefinitely.
The raspberry gastrique has a slightly savory, sweet, tangy flavor, and the rich garnet red color adds a touch of elegance to any plate it graces. Perfect for accenting appetizers, salads, entrées, or for drizzling over desserts.
- Pour vinegar into a 2-qt saucepan, add 1/4-cup Stevia and cook on high heat.
- Bring vinegar to a roaring boil and allow to boil for 5-minutes.
- Remove from heat and swirl pan till bubbles recede, and steam completely dissipates. Do not stir.
- Return pan to heat, continuing to swirl reduction in intervals between boiling points. Reduce vinegar by 3/4 or till you see a syrupy consistency developing approximately 15-20 minutes. The last 5-minutes are crucial, this is when the sugars are caramelizing, and the vinegar needs close attention. If starting with 16 ounces of liquid, you should end up with between 5-4-oz or 2/3-1/2 cup.
- To test the reduction, pour vinegar into a heat-proof measuring cup.
- If it measures closer to a cup, return pan to burner and continue cooking and swirling. If it is only slightly over a 3/4 cup, better to error on the side of caution and under-reduce than over-reduce. Otherwise, the consistency will turn from syrup to jelly when it cools. When in doubt, do a spoon test.
- Allow reduction to cool completely and trail a tablespoon through the reduction, if syrup coats the spoon like honey, then you’ve reached the desired consistency. If it’s still too runny, return reduction to heat and bring to a full boil swirling in intervals between boiling points one or two more times.
- When completely cooled transfer to the desired bottle