Dried fruit is a great thing to have in your larder.
Back home in Nova Scotia, in the apple growing area that I grew up in, most people dried their own apples every autumn. It was quite common to see long strings of them, threaded and hanging behind the kitchen wood stove in most country homes. Oh the scent . . . woodsmoke and drying apples. This speaks autumn to me.
Other than raisins, sultanas, dates and currants, those dried apples were pretty much the only dried fruits we had available to us.
Now you can get a great many different varieties . . . pears, plums, pluots, cranberries, pineapple . . . amongst many . . . and of course, my absolute favourite . . . dried mango! I first tasted this delicacy when my son brought me a few packets when he came to visit us from the Philippines, and I was hooked!
Mostly . . . I just like to eat the larger varieties of dried fruit out of hand. They are a wonderful low fat snack, sweet and chock full of energy. A little goes a very long way.
But occasionally, it is nice to know that you can also make a delicious winter dessert using a variety of them.
A dessert, that is every bit as nice, and possibly nicer in some ways, than a dessert made using fresh fruit.
It's also nice to know that, as long as you keep a tidy little variety of them in your larder, you can make this tasty dessert . . .
any . . . time . . . you desire it.
Any time at all.
Trust me . . . one taste of this and you will desire it . . .
I can see myself making this more than once during the Christmas holidays.
(Adapted from the cookery book, Long Nights and Log Fires)
*Mulled Winter Fruit Crumble*
This lovely spiced crumble just screams out Christmas!! It has a comforting and homey smell whilst it is cooking. Just delicious! You can use a medium bodied fruity red wine instead of the fruit cordial I have used here if you wish.
350g mixed dried fruits, such as sultanas, cranberries, apricots, figs or mango, pawpaw, pineapple
(I used golden raisins, cranberries, pluots, and apricots)
200ml of undiluted fruit cordial
(I used Pixley & Berries Black Currant It's just lovely!)
100ml of water
1 small muslin bag containing a piece of cinnamon stick, a few cloves, a few allspice berries. Tie in bag and
then crush a bit with a rolling pin)
a thin strip of fresh orange peel
50g caster sugar
For the Topping:
200g wholemeal flour
1/4 tsp mixed spice
a pinch of salt
100g chilled butter
100g demerara sugar
Thick cream or Vanilla Ice cream
Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat. Chop the dried fruit into bite sized pieces if they are large. Place them into a saucepan and add the sugar, cordial and water, along with the spice bag and orange peel. Bring gently to a simmer and then allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the spice bag and orange peel, and spoon into a shallow baking dish.
Make the topping by whisking the flour, spice and salt together. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and then sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over top of the mulled fruit. Put the dish on the hot baking tray and then place in the heated oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crisp and golden on top.