This dessert was inspired by the wintry weather and all that lovely dried fruit I bought from Happy Fruit a few weeks ago at the Coburg Farmers’ Market. And then I ordered some freeze-dried fruit from TasteBom and it arrived with a little note saying that I was their 200th customer, and a few extra goodies, including the most luscious, plump-looking vanilla beans I’ve ever seen. A perfect combination.
It’s a bit of a nostalgia dish for me – warm and comforting, and faintly reminiscent of my childhood – I think my mum used to make a more alcoholic version of this for dinner parties back in the 80s.
Best of all, the recipe is very simple, and quite delicious – the dried fruit plumps up and becomes pillowy-soft and infused with flavour from the vanilla and marsala, but mostly it just tastes wonderfully of itself. And, I have to say, it’s pretty exciting to see the dried nectarines swell up until they actually look like nectarine halves. But then, I am perhaps easily amused by such things…
Your Shopping List100 g dried apricots 100 g dried apples 100 g dried pears 100 g dried nectarines or dried peaches 50 g raisins 750 ml water 50 ml sugar 60 ml (1/4 cup) marsala half a vanilla bean
Now what will you do with it?
Put everything except the vanilla bean in a saucepan.
Use a knife to slit the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds – which are sticky, your best bet is to scrape the knife off onto some of the fruit.
Bring to a simmer, and cook, covered and quite gently, for an hour or so, or until you’ve finished watching Bride and Prejudice.
The fruit should be puffed up and pillowy-soft so that you can cut the apples with a spoon, and there should only be a small amount syrup left, as the fruit will have absorbed all the liquid.
Serve with icecream for dessert, or over Emily’s Baked Gingerbread Porridge for breakfast.
You can use just about any kind or combination of dried fruit in this recipe, and any flavouring you like, too – orange juice, port or brandy, spices – the choice is yours. This dessert is, of course, vegan, gluten-free and nut-free, and equally obviously high in fructose. It’s not too bad from a glycemic index standpoint, but it’s still fairly sweet. You’d probably be best off serving it with yoghurt or the aforementioned porridge to counteract that…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Two years ago: Recipe: Baked Cauliflower