Leftover champagne? Say what?

Woah, 2013 needs to slow down.  I can’t quite believe that it’s already been a whole two weeks since Kat and I opened the fridge on New Year’s Day and were greeted by a rather astonishing sight: an unfinished bottle of champagne.  The concept of leftover champagne may well be foreign to you – indeed it’s an incredibly rare event when I’m involved (assuming it isn’t a case (badum-tschhhh!) of bad champagne…).  So.  What does one do with champagne leftovers?  Despite the teaspoon trick (popping a teaspoon handle down in the bottle which is magically supposed to keep most of the bubbles in, though I’m not sure how), it wasn’t in the bubbliest state so drinking it wasn’t going to be ideal.

This.  This is what you do with leftover champagne…

Baking with SpiritLuckily, the alcohol of choice for this month’s Baking with Spirit challenge is “champagne” – perfect, although that doesn’t really help in choose what exactly to make.  I feel a little guilty for missing last month’s Baking with Spirit challenge (here’s the round-up) since I went on holiday and generally ran out of time, so I wanted to make something awesome to make up for it, plus it’s also Janine’s birthday month.  That plan failed a little because after much deliberation, we settled on something not particularly original and which may seem a bit of a cop-out, but it’s so delicious that I do hope Janine will forgive me…

Oh look, a champagne cork crept into the photo and everything…

It is, of course, summer here in NZ, and summer means summer berries.  Yay!  Originally we wanted to honour the Kir Royale by poaching some blackcurrants in a champagne syrup (in case you’re not familiar with Kir Royale, it consists of crème de cassis – blackcurrant liqueur – and champagne).  However, we couldn’t find any blackcurrants – I wonder if they’re only available at farmers’ markets or at pick-your-owns.  So our idea morphed into poaching a combination of summer berries in a Kir Royale syrup.  Oh hey there decadence, how you doing?  The champagne is quite a subtle taste, coming through at the start and then turning into a deliciously fruity flavour.

Looks like decadence invited itself to this party

Simple and in SeasonI have a little confession though.  Even though summer berries are in season, we actually used a frozen summer berry mix.  Shock horror, I know, but let me explain.  For a start, I needed to create a bit of space in my freezer, but more importantly, not all of the summer berries in the mix are readily available to buy fresh – as well as the mysterious lack of blackcurrants, I’ve never seen fresh boysenberries, for example.  I’m not sure why that is because the berry mix is from a NZ farm, so they are definitely grown here.  Luckily this dessert works perfectly whether you use fresh or frozen berries.  I’m going to be cheeky and still submit this to Simple and in Season, hosted by Lavender and Lovage this month, since the berries are in season, and I’d have used fresh if I could find them all.  I might be bending the rules a little bit, so I’m just going to smile, wave and move on swiftly to the actual recipe.

Langues de chat make the perfect accompaniment for this general deliciousness

Kir Royale-poached summer berries

Serves 2
Recipe by Sharky Oven Gloves

You can use fresh or frozen berries for this dessert, but if using frozen berries, defrost them in advance and make sure to keep the juice.  You can use berries in whatever combination you like – although definitely make sure to try and get blackcurrants in there.  The dessert is best served with little biscuits to nibble on alongside (although it won’t necessarily be dairy-, egg- and gluten-free anymore) – langues de chat would work perfectly – and serving it in fancy glasses such as champagne saucers or martini glasses really dresses it up.  I sprinkled a bit of raw sugar crystals over the top but most of them ended up dissolving into the poaching liquid, so that ended up being a bit pointless.  If you have any leftover syrup, keep it in the fridge and use it to drizzle over icecream or sorbets.


250g mixed summer berries (blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
250g caster sugar
250ml champagne
1 tsp crème de cassis
Langues de chat or other little biscuits, to serve


1.  Add the sugar, champagne, crème de cassis and 350ml water to a medium saucepan (make sure that it’ll be large enough to fit all the fruit as well) and bring to the boil.

2.  Turn down the heat, and add the fruit (and any juice if using defrosted fruit).  Simmer for about 10-15 mins.

3.  Remove the fruit into a serving bowls or individual dishes or glasses.  Return the poaching liquid to the heat and simmer down until syrupy and reduced by half.  Spoon over the top of the fruit and serve with little biscuits on the side.


Always a good sign.



Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

11 responses to “Leftover champagne? Say what?

  1. I don’t think this is cheating at all, it looks pretty good to me! I’ll definitely put this on my list of things to try in the summer. It’s also an excuse to buy some fancy glasses. Don’t feel guilty about not entering last month, sounds like the holiday you had was worth it! Thanks for entering BWS.

    • Mel

      Awww thanks Janine! Definitely an excuse to buy some fancy glasses – and then you’ll have to drink more champagne to justify the glasses… How terrible 😛 Loved the challenge as always, and looking forward to the next one.

  2. Leftover champagne? Not sure if I’ve ever heard of that before… I’ve never understood how the teaspoon trick is supposed to work. They look absolutely delicious, although they are making me a bit jealous that it’s summer for you – it snowed here this morning.

    • Mel

      Haha, ya, a very rare occurrence. The teaspoon trick really does perplex me – it does work better than no teaspoon at all, but it’s not very logical. Where’s a physicist when you need one? Thanks! Awww, well I’ll spare you some sympathy when I head down to the beach for a snorkel later. (That really helped, didn’t it?)

  3. A really lovely recipe and gorgeous photos! I don’t know the concept of leftover champage, but I can imagine these are lovely enough to open a new one! Thanks for entering Simple and in Season – they are perfect, frozen berries or fresh.

    • Mel

      Thank you Ren! Yes, I’d say this would definitely be an excuse to open a new bottle, and then you’d just have to drink the champagne that isn’t used in the recipe… what a dreadful state of affairs. 😛

  4. strongassoup

    It’s so nice to know that there’s someone out there who thinks about the kir about as often as I do. This sounds lovely, even if I rarely have any leftover champagne (actually I rarely have champagne). I wish it was summer here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen fresh boysenberries for sale in this country – I’ve now planted and neglected a boysenberry plant in the garden.

    • Mel

      Yes, the though of kir crosses my mind on a fairly regular basis… Perhaps more than it should! Thank you! Only a few more months to wait for summer… I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen fresh boysenberries for sale anywhere actually.

  5. Katrina MacIver

    And I can testify to the fact that they were absolutely delicious! 😉

  6. Pingback: Simple and in Season: December and January Round-Up

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