Today, I'm going to talk about a typical Vaud and Fribourg (two cantons situated in the Western part of Switzerland/Romandy) speciality that is named "Vin Cuit" and "Raisinée", but is also known under the name of "Cougnarde", "Coignarde" or "Poiré"...
Although it's name "Vin Cuit" (meaning "cooked wine") is misleading, this 100% natural, deliciously sweet and sour, viscous, thick, sticky, molasses-like, syrupy substance is made from the juice of pressed pears (and sometimes apples) which is then cooked and stirred for around 30 hours over a wood fire, in a big copper cauldron.
The preparation is often made between friends, neighbors, or even at the time of certain harvest festivals in certain villages. In order to obtain 7 liters of "Vin Cuit", 70 liters of pear/apple juice, which are extracted from a hundred of kilos fruits, are needed. After having cooked the juice for several hours and after having let it cool, one obtains a concentrate which can be preserved for a very a long time, out of the bottle, without special precautions as it cannot ferment anymore.
In the past, making "Vin Cuit" was a good way to not throw away perishable fruits. This speciality was also employed as replacement for sugar, and was also administred to weak people because it was believed to act as a fortifier.
This reduction is used in several recipes, one of them being the delicious "Gâteau A La Raisinée" which is a tart consisting of a pie crust (shortcrust pastry) filled with a mixture of "Vin Cuit", thick cream and eggs (and cornstarch, depending on the recipes). Another well-known Gruyère speciality which utilizes "Vin Cuit" is "Moutarde De Bénichon" and is also made with candied sugar, spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves and mustard powder. It is generally eaten together with "Cuchaule" brioche (see recipe). "Vin Cuit" is delicious when used in desserts or savory dishes such as cakes, yogurts, müesli/granola, parfaits, meat sauces, etc... It’s unique taste makes it the ideal ally when cooking or baking.
Pour les fracophones, voici une série de liens intéressants qui vous éclaireront:
Lagruyere.ch (voir lien)
Terre & Nature (voir lien)
Wikipedia (voir lien)