Drunken fruits

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

You use all sorts of leftovers for this. Well, not leftovers exactly, but ingredients that might have been lurking around since last Christmas. Dried fruit is the sort of thing that sits around in the cupboard and this recipe combines them with whatever booze you want to clear out to make way for the next lot. I would recommend giving even the "no-soak" varieties of fruit, which are full of flavour and tend to hold their colour, a bit of a soak. If you want to be adventurous, look out for other varieties of dried fruit such as peaches, pineapple and mango and try any you fancy.

You use all sorts of leftovers for this. Well, not leftovers exactly, but ingredients that might have been lurking around since last Christmas. Dried fruit is the sort of thing that sits around in the cupboard and this recipe combines them with whatever booze you want to clear out to make way for the next lot. I would recommend giving even the "no-soak" varieties of fruit, which are full of flavour and tend to hold their colour, a bit of a soak. If you want to be adventurous, look out for other varieties of dried fruit such as peaches, pineapple and mango and try any you fancy.

8 dried apricots
4 dried figs
8 stoned prunes
About 24 dried black or red cherries
150-200 ml of booze, like sherry, Tia Maria, amaretto, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, brandy, etc, but not the creamy stuff like Baileys
4 cloves
A pinch of mixed spice
100g sugar
2 pears (not too ripe), peeled, cored and cut into 8 chunks

Put all the dried fruits in a bowl and soak in boiling water overnight, ensuring they are well covered by about 5-6cm. Transfer fruit and soaking liquid to a saucepan and add the booze, cloves, mixed spice and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 hour with a lid on, stirring every so often. Remove the lid, add the pears and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the pears are soft and the liquid is just covering the fruit and has thickened. Once cooled the liquid will thicken naturally so don't worry if it seems too runny.

Leave to cool and store in an airtight jar in the fridge if you want to keep it for a few weeks. When you're serving it, take it out of the fridge long enough in advance to take off the chill, and serve at room temperature with thick cream, mascarpone or thick Greek yoghurt.

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