November 9, 2010

I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving. It’s official. Invitations went out yesterday and now it’s time for testing, cooking, menu planning, table decorating and general household tidying to begin. We’ll have houseguests for four days, a small Thanksgiving dinner for 4 (possibly a couple more, we often take in strays) and an open house party for 50 the day after Thanksgiving, aptly named The Dead Poultry Society.

We’ve been having this party for years and, if you’ve been following along, you might remember the 2009 event.

Preparing for the holiday should be a nice stroll, not a sprint – just a few things done ahead will really help.

Today in the kitchen, I’m making two big batches of chicken stock. Hopefully, about 7 quarts will be pressure canned, to be on hand for soup. Soup is the last stop for the Thanksgiving turkey, and I want to be ready. Because I usually dry brine or wet brine the turkeys, I won’t make soup broth from the turkey bones (way too salty.) For the soup, how about this tasty Pho from Winnie at Healthy Green Kitchen?

In between batches, I’ve been crafting little confections, because it’s always nice to have candies in the house during the holidays. This weekend, Kate from Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking joined me in the kitchen for chocolate bonbon making. She was on hand for the first itteration of this recipe… trust me, Kate, the second round is much much better.

I recently received a lovely box of POM juice with the maddeningly fun directions – “Let’s see what you can make.” Well, not exactly like that, but you get the drift.

We love POM, and often mix iced green tea with POM for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up drink.

Past experiences with POM include many a Poinsetta – a glass of champagne with a float of POM on the top.

I’ve braised lamb in POM, and made drizzly sauces with POM reduced to a syrup.

But this time, I wanted to make candies. Gumdrops, to be precise. Years ago, the New York Times ran a recipe for Lemon Gumdrops. They’ve made an appearance in my holiday cookie boxes ever since. This time, I wanted the gumdrops to be POM-tastic.

They’re gorgeous. Super easy. Tart. Sweet.

Keep them in a tin or other closed container, layered between wax paper for a week or so.


POM-tastic Gumdrops
makes about 64 candies

8 oz POM
1 box Knox Unflavored Gelatin (4 envelopes)
2 cups sugar
4 T fresh orange juice
1 tsp fresh orange zest
1/4-1/2 c sugar, for coating
Butter, for the pan and to reduce the foam

Butter an 8×8 cake pan.

Stir the gelatin into 4 oz. POM. It will firm up and look very odd.

In a medium saucepan, bring the 4 oz POM and 2 c sugar to a rolling boil. Brush down the sides of the pan with cold water if crystals form. I had no crystallization.

Add the bloomed gelatin to the POM syrup. Stir well to melt the gelatin into the syrup, bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 15 minutes, stirring all the time.

Add the orange juice and zest, boil 5 minutes more, continue to stir. Turn off the heat. Add a pinch (1/4 – 1/2 tsp) of cold butter to reduce the foam. Stir it in and watch the bubbles reduce. They probably will not completely go away. Don’t worry.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and gently smack the pan on the counter to remove the air bubbles. Set it aside for a couple of hours until it is quite firm. Waiting overnight is a great way to be sure it’s really set.

Gently remove the entire gelee from the pan, using a buttered flexible offset spatula, and place on a sugar coated cutting surface. If you have a stone counter, that’s a good choice, as it’s going to keep the candy cold. Seriously – be very gentle. You don’t want to nick it or stretch it.

On a plate or sheet pan, spread out 1/2 c sugar.

Butter your fingers and a sharp knife or scissors and make either 1/2″ or 1″ squares. As they’re cut, place the gelees on the sugar-filled plate and roll them around to coat well in sugar.

Place the gelee on a parchment lined sheet pan to set up.


13 Responses to “Day by Day Thanksgiving Prep (POMtastic Gumdrops)”

  1. Gail

    I love these homemade gelees. So much fun to make. And, like me, you’re starting your Thanksgiving meal with thinking about desserts first! HOORAY!

  2. Jayne

    Wish I could be one of your strays!! Gumdrops look great! I’m very interested in the brines for the turkey.

    • Cathy

      I expect they’ll last two or three weeks, but I really have no idea! They taste so good, I’m afraid they won’t last long at all.

  3. Lynda

    I’ve never made my own gumdrops, but you have inspired me to do so! (Love the idea of a Dead Poultry Society!)

  4. Jenn

    I made these with 1oz of agar instead of gelatin for a vegetarian option. They came out PERFECT and everyone loved them!



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