If, like me, you want to end the meal with something lighter that doesn't in the slightest resemble Christmas pudding, then this dish could be right up your street. I'm just giving guidelines for the fruits you could use, so you can adapt it according to what's available. I quite like the idea of having some of the fruits cooked and some naturally fresh and juicy. Turkish or Middle Eastern shops are your best bet for this dish as they often have a selection of unusual ripe fruits such as pomegranate, fresh dates, kaki or sharon fruit, persimmons and quinces.
250g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick, halved
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
2 glasses of white wine
2 quince, peeled and cored
2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
3 satsumas, peeled and segmented
2 very ripe kaki (sharon) fruits, quartered
12 ripe, fresh dates, or preserved ones, stoned
About 36 whole blanched almonds
1tbsp icing sugar mixed with 1tsp ground cinnamon
For the pomegranate syrup
Seeds scooped from 1 ripe pomegranate
200ml of the cooking syrup above
Choose a non-reactive pan (not aluminium) large enough to hold the submerged tamarillos and quince. Place the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, bay leaf and wine in the pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring so the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat, add the quince and kumquats and enough hot water to cover well, cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender then remove them with a slotted spoon on to a plate. Meanwhile score the pointed end of the tamarillos with an X, then drop them into the liquid, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the syrup. Once cool, carefully remove the skin from the tamarillos and cut in half.
Meanwhile put the pomegranate seeds in a saucepan with the cooking syrup and grenadine, bring to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes then leave to cool. Put the almonds on a tray lined with foil and dust with the icing- sugar mixture and cook under a medium grill, turning them every so often and don't take your eyes off them, until they are caramalised.
Cut the quince into 6 wedges and arrange in one large, or individual bowls with the tamarillos and other fruits, pour the pomegranate syrup over and scatter the almonds on top. Serve with thick cream, ice cream, crème fraîche or mascarpone.