J. C. Loudon, on Making Raisiné Composé

Mode of preparing the Sweetmeat known in France by the Name of Raisiné Composé.

This is a very favourite sweetmeat with the Parisians ; and it is made by boiling any given quantity of must, or new wine, till it is diminished one half, skimming it continually as fresh scum arises, and afterwards straining the liquor then take apples, pared and cut into quarters, and, putting them into the raisiné, let it simmer gently, stirring it continually with a long wooden spoon, till the apples become thoroughly amalgamated with the liquor, and the whole forms a species of marmalade, which is extremely agreeable to the taste.

When prepared in the northern provinces, the raisiné, after the first boiling, skimming, and straining, should be set for 24 hours in a cool place, when a saline liquor, like a scum, will appear on the surface : this must be removed, and the liquor strained, before it is mixed with apples, as before. This scum is the tartaric acid, which would spoil the raisiné, and prevent it from keeping, but which is not perceivable when the grapes have ripened in a southern climate. The raisiné, when properly prepared, is sweet, but with a slight flavour of acidity, like lemon mixed with honey.

The best raisiné is that of Burgundy. In Normandy a similar marmalade is composed of cider and pears but it is not so good as the other kind, being apt to ferment. In some cases, the pears are put into an earthen vessel without water, and placed in a baker’s oven after the bread has been drawn, previously to mixing with the cider.

The best raisiné is considered very wholesome, particularly for children, who eat it spread on bread, and for persons in delicate health, whose stomachs will not bear butter, and is in France what marmalade is in Britain, and more especially in Scotland. Raisiné is abundant and cheap in Paris where, however, a composition is often substituted for it, made of honey and water, instead of wine ; an imposition which may be detected by putting the raisiné in water, with which it will not unite if pure.

In Italy, the raisiné is eaten with preparations either of Indian corn, or of maccaroni, to give a flavour to these dishes.

J. C. Loudon, Arboretum et Fructicum Brittanicum Vol 2, (1854)

Well, I’ve learned something there. Raisiné Composé? Also known as wine and apple, jam, a new “species of marmalade”? Sounds delicious! Especially that Normandy pear-and-cider version.

One modern version I found online suggests you should use white grapes rather than red, but if red grapes (or a bottle of red grape juice) is all you have, then try that instead, see what happens.

If you decide to make your own Raisiné Composé then please do let me know how you get on. You can email me with notes and photos, or leave a comment below.

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