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Sweetly Stewed

Posted Sep 22 2010 12:00am

“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels…” ~ Charles Dickens, English novelist (1812 – 1870)

We’re saying good-bye to summer today and can’t think of a more appropriate time to celebrate the bounty of the garden and orchard than by mixing up a special fruit dessert.

Using the word “stewed” in this case references drunkenness, not boiling, since the alcohol does the cooking slowly overnight. While I’m not fond of the amount of sugar this recipe requires, this syrup is an excellent way to use up that one last cup of wine after a party and you can drain the fruit first if you wish to avoid some of the sugar.

NOTE: The alcohol in this recipe does not evaporate with the brief exposure to heat. Please consider the individual before offering as this dessert may not be appropriate for children or someone with a history of alcohol-related issues.

The instructions here are for using apple, but feel free to substitute just about any tree fruit you wish, or a combination that makes it uniquely your own. We have also made it with frozen peaches and had it come out very well. It doesn’t matter if you use red wine or white, just whatever you have.

Apples and dried cherries in wine

Stewed Fruit

Serves 4
Time: 5 minutes + 24 hours refrigeration

1 large apple
1 cup dried cherries or raisins
1 cup wine
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves (optional)

Peel and core the apple, then chop into bite-sized bits. Measure the apple bits and dried fruit into a quart jar, then add the cinnamon sticks and cloves (if using).

Heat the wine just to the boiling point in a small pot on the stove, or in the microwave oven for about 30 seconds (a little longer if it is chilled). Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it has dissolved.

Pour the wine mixture over the fruit, cover the jar with a tight-fitting lid, and allow it to stand until it has cooled to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator overnight.

Serve this compote over ice cream or on a slice of unfrosted cake (we are using gingerbread cupcakes tonight) as an elegant way to welcome autumn.

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