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Wine jelly used to be a common dessert in the England of Olden Days. I once had a particularly delicious version at J. Sheekey in London, made from Elysium black muscat dessert wine and served in a puddle of cream.

This wine jelly could be served as dessert, but it also is nice on toast, as a glaze for chicken, lamb, or pork, or served on the side as a sort of cranberry-sauce-like condiment. It goes well with cheese and crackers. You could infuse the wine with herbs like rosemary or thyme (strain them out before making the jelly). Any kind of wine can be used, including sherries and fortified wines like Madeira, Marsala, and port; late-harvest wines are delicious as well. Eiswein would be stellar if you have money to burn. Those low-alcohol wines with fruit juice mixed in make good jelly too, which is a good thing as God knows they aren’t fit to drink.

True story: About 18 years ago I made this recipe with white zinfandel – not my favorite wine by any means – and entered it in the local fair, where it won Best of Show.

This is another Sunset Magazine recipe.


  • 1 3/4 cups wine
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 3-ounce pouch liquid pectin

Mix wine and sugar in the top of a double boiler. Place over boiling water (do not let the water touch the bottom of the top pan) and stir until sugar is completely dissolved, about five minutes.

Remove the entire double boiler from the heat (leave top pan over the hot water) and stir in the entire pouch of pectin all at once.

Pour into four 8-ounce sterilized canning jars.

Skim off any foam with a metal spoon. Wipe rims of jars with damp paper towel. Seal with lids and ring bands; cool on a towel.


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